Sep 19, 2011

The Afters

By Tracy Astle

Some events leave a person going, "Now what?"

With the recent tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I've been remembering how when the dust of the Pentagon and the World Trade Center buildings, those marvels of architecture, settled, holding within them untold tales of  tragedy and heroism, it seemed as if the whole nation asked together, "Now what?" Our collective perception had been suddenly and irrevocably changed.

I'm sure many historic events, not all tragic, have had the same effect: the Civil Rights Movement, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the end of each World War, the Emancipation Proclamation, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, just to name a few. These were all very Big Events which required some time afterward to adjust to a new way of thinking, a new kind of reality. In looking at how people responded after life changed in such dramatic ways, we're reminded of how much of life depends on how we handle transitions.

We all have to deal with what I call The Afters. After the goal is met or the unexpected event happens, then what? Knowing how to transition is vital to our progress.
          We're home from our mission. Now what?
          We've finished college. Now what?
          We've gotten married...
          Had our first child...
          Gotten a new job...
          Finished our first novel...
          Landed an agent...
          Sold out first book...
          Experienced health problems...
          A job is lost...
          A long, lost uncle dies and leaves us a fortune (What? It happened to Jane Eyre.)...
The list is endless.

Good things, bad things, things we can plan for, things we can't. One thing is sure; things will change.

The more skilled we are at transitioning, the more easily we'll keep progressing and the happier we'll be in the long run.

Any tips you can share that help you with transitions?


  1. I concentrate on what is necessary immediately. Over eat.

  2. This is so true! I asked this question this morning after I put my kinder-kid on the bus for all day kindergarten. I did not have much else to do and then the "now what" kicked in.

    I feel that I take a moment to reflect, enjoy the moment and then move to the next stone.

    I do not do well with change, especially in visit teaching route changes. I find if I can try to see it as a learning moment I can at least have peace that this is what I am supposed to be doing.

  3. This is pertinent for me right now. I am 4 months into unemployment and freaking out silently. Overeating for sure. And yet I keep hearing that still small voice counsel patience which is my worst trait. I like things to be done, waiting is a killer for me. So how do I handle transitions, lots of prayer, fasting and concentrating on what I can do. And some days just pull the cover back over my head and drift. It seems to help in the worst moments.


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