We are continually making transitions in our life. Some are minor transitions and others are major transitions. When I got up this morning, I made the transition from resting to wakefulness. A very minor transition. But a transition, nonetheless. Some of us make a transition in our life without a ripple and for others it is very challenging.
Right now, many are thinking of the Christmas/New Year holidays and planning their transition into a more carefree lifestyle – away from work, at least for a few weeks! But then there are just as many continuing to work such as medical people, hospital workers, emergency services workers, and police.
One of the first transitions many children make today is from the care of a parent to day-care (shared care). I went back to work when my son was 12 months old. I recall a photo when he is two years old with his small bag ready for day-care. It causes me to smile when I remember that little chubby face smiling at the camera. He had made the transition and he was okay. The next transition for most of us is going to school. We leave behind the security of parental love and belonging to find our place in a world where others are competing for attention and love. I went to school when I was four years old (one month off turning five). As my parents first child I was well prepared for the transition. I had new uniform, hat, shoes, school port (I have a photo)! But I was too young, and the school would not accept me! I cried. However, by “little lunch” I was sitting in a classroom at another school. My transition to school was complete.
As we get older, we transition to middle school then high school, then work, college or university. The transitions continue as we age. We transition from learning to earning. Do you remember your first job, the first people you met in the workplace and what this major transition was like? Then there is the transition to our first adult relationship; the transition about who we choose to spend our time with and sometimes our life with.
Many people in the 21st Century are transitioning from one career choice to another, from one country to another. The world is not the same as when my O&O (one & only) transitioned from learning to earning and stayed with the same company for 38 years! Although he did make a transition between Australian states.
Our life is a continual transition from one situation to another. As we grow older, we transition from work to retirement. Yet, the government is encouraging older Australians to work longer and delay the transition into retirement, to contribute to the economy.
One of the major transitions in life is moving from an independent life to a life of dependency, or semi-dependency. My mother Valma transitioned from her house in Sydney; to a two-bedroom/two-bathroom retirement village unit on the Gold Coast; then to a one room, one-bathroom suite in an aged care home. I like to call her new place a “suite” as it is more than just a room, it is her new home. It is a bed sitter – a bedroom and lounge all in one. Valma also has comfortable places to sit and relax, inside and outside. To help my mother with the transition she took her recliner armchair with her to her new home. Other familiar items also helped with the transition.
My mother did not make the transition all on her own. My siblings and I have all helped with our mother’s latest transition. My sister Debbie arranged for familiar items for the walls and other mementos that smoothed out the transition. In such a major transition, support for older people is essential. They cannot make a successful transition without support.
With support it was not long before Valma had a two-door mini fridge-freezer. All the photos and paraphernalia that was on her fridge in her unit is now on her new mini fridge. There is comfort in familiarity. Not only has my mother a bed-sitter but almost a kitchenette! It is amazing how life is lived and enjoyed in a small space. Everything is at Valma’s finger-tips including nursing care (if and when needed). No longer does she need to think about when to take her medication, this is done for her. The bells chime when meals are ready. No food preparation, no cooking, no cleaning up, no cleaning at all! The good life!
Then comes the final transition, death. Two weeks ago, my mother phoned me and told me she was having trouble breathing. This took my breath away! My advice to her was to “press the button” for the nurse. She has a heart condition and early in 2019 she will have a procedure that will give her a better quality of life. When our loved ones get older death is expected. However, I did not expect my reaction when confronted with the possibility my mother could be close to death. It was confronting and upsetting. When there is death of a friend, a loved one, there is loss and grief for those of us who are left behind. We all have to face death, those we love and eventually our own. It is the final transition we must all prepare for – if we choose to think about it. Yes, even at Christmas time!
P.S. Apology for the photo quality – very old photos!