I learned in William Bridges’ book, Transitions, about the difference between “change” and “transition.” Change is outward. We move to one city from another. We go to a new college. Get married. Open a business. Change is outward. Change is situational. Change is an event. Transition is psychological. Transition is what happens internally from those events. As Bridges writes, “Transition in an inner reorientation and self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life. Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture.”
Retirement is a change. When we retire we need to make sure we have enough money to retire and we need to find an adequate place to live. We may move to another city to be near our friends or kids. But deep down inside a psychological change is happening and it should. There is a three fold process of an ending, neutral zone, and a new beginning. You are transforming inside from one person to another. As Bridges writes, “it is a death-and-rebirth process. It is a process in which we re-create ourself.”
I have gone through my own transitions in which I have re-created myself. I left the pastorate ten years ago and I loved ministering with my husband as a “PW – Pastor’s wife.” We left the church and I had to re-create myself and it took about four years. In that time I needed to work through my “Ending” and then I was stuck in the middle of the road called the “Neurtral Zone”, which is the hardest place to be and then I finally enjoyed a “New Beginning” which is Robin Mounce re-created.
It is a scary time and a time of unknowns to be in the “Neutral Zone.” I could not hurry up the process because emotionally I was too tapped out to try to fix my situation. The “Neutral Zone” is when we make the most dramatic changes. I will talk more about this tomorrow.