Do you ever wonder why when the August air changes on us, we begin to feel a sense of longing? We begin to mourn the newness and potential that the start of summer presented us. Now it’s coming to an end, and we begin to reflect on our time spent, perhaps wishing it could be longer or wishing for it to end sooner - because the transitory period, the in-between, weighs on us.
We are never really good about transitions in life, are we? It’s the w
eird time between who we were and who we could be and there is something discomforting about that to us isn’t there?
In many ways, Summer is a time to celebrate all of our movement during the bustling year. It is a time to slow down and appreciate all that is around us. The sun shines down on us, and we feel light and calm… but we’d be lying to ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge that there is also a sadness and nostalgia that seeps in, because we know at some point, we will have to say good-bye.
The thing about transitory periods and why we feel unsettled by them, perhaps is the growth that lies ahead of us. There is something so sweet about the familiar and holding on to it for as long as possible because moving forward feels so uncertain and unknown. As human beings, like all other living organisms, we are motivated by our inherent desire to continually enhance ourselves, to move toward more complexity, and to realize our potentials.
An uncomfortable thing growth is, and yet we must fare forward, for we have many lives and deaths in our time in this world. The parts of ourselves that no longer serve us are shed and disposed, making room for what will take its place to move us forward. Polish psychologist Kazimierz Darbowski (1972) theorized emotional turmoil to be a sign of growth. In his concept of “positive disintegration," distress stems from an urge to grow – we break ourselves down to reorganize ourselves into more emotionally developed beings.
Saying good-bye to our old selves is hard though, despite what potential lies ahead – which is ok. The contrast we experience – what no longer serves us, what we no longer like about ourselves – allows us to see ourselves more clearly, to find what we do want moving forward.
So, growth and transition, despite how discomforting and sad they may make us feel, the unease of it all helps us move forward with intention... if we let it in.
-Klaudia Tryskuc, M.A.