Life transitions

Renee posted a blog entry on Transitions earlier today which was pretty thought-provoking for me. I made a lengthly comment on it and thought I’d massage my thoughts into a full blog entry. The gist of her post was about how many of her friends are encountering frustrating and/or confusing transitions in their lives right now. Take a moment to go read it first (but skip the last paragraph, she starts rambling then ;)

One sentence in her post summed up my own thoughts on the matter, emphasis mine:

Could it be that in the past the rapid occurrence of transition[s] made us feel somewhat in control of them simply because we expected them and expected not to be in control of them?

I suspect part of the confusion with transitions starting when your 30 is that when we’re young we have these expected transitions, or sign posts, to look forward to: each year we’re in a different grade then we’re graduating high school, then we go to college, then we get a job, along the way we hopefully find that special someone, we get married and start a family (be it with children, pets, or just the two of us). I think for a lot of people turning 30 is one of those transitions, based on how many people get wigged out by it. But for those of us who hit 30 after the other “expected” transitions, what’s next? Turning 40? There’s no set plan handed to us past 30 — we’re on our own to make it up as we go.

I predict that Benjamin and I will have one of those big transition moments when he graduates in 8(!) months. While I expect the transition will be fairly easy for B as it’ll be the planned “graduate and start a job” transition, I think it will be a really hard transition for me because that’s the end of the existing plan: I graduated, met/fell in love/married someone, put them through school, turned 30 along the way… what’s next after that? All kinds of stuff I’m sure, I just don’t know what it is!! :)

I joked with my Dad last year before my birthday that I was going to have a third-life crisis when I turned 30. He very seriously told me that 30 and even 40 isn’t a big deal but that 50 was the big one ’cause you realize that the odds are good your life is half over. I’m not sure what to make of that per se, but maybe that’s the reason that turning 30 didn’t seem like a big deal to me. Ask me again how I feel about it when I turn 50!