The Art of Midlife: Courage and Creative Living for Women

By Linda N. Edelstein | Go to book overview

PART III
REFOCUS THE FUTURE

In the world to come, they will not ask us, "Why were you not Mother Teresa?" They will ask, "Why were you not Linda ( Susan, Nancy, Carol, Jen . . .)?"


STARTING OUT

Transitions are bridges -- beginning here and ending there. No one lives on a bridge; we cross them, often with a combination of fear and exhilaration.

As teenagers in New Jersey, my friends and I used to picnic on the rocks directly underneath the George Washington Bridge. The bridge stretched over me right into Manhattan. Everything familiar was on my side of the bridge. All my dreams were on the other. This kind of experience marks the beginning of a transition. Change begins with this kind of an encounter with something new -- an idea or dream, a place, or an aspect of ourselves, just revealed.

Transition has become an increasingly popular term and reflects the increased attention being paid to adulthood as a dynamic rather than a static period of life, a period with different phases and tasks. The tasks of a developmental transition are

to terminate a time in one's life: to accept the losses the termination entails; to review and evaluate the past; to decide which aspects of the past to keep and which to reject; and to consider one's wishes and possibilities for the future. One is suspended between past and future and struggling to overcome the gap that separates them. Much from the past is given up -- separated from, cut out of one's life, rejected in anger, renounced in sadness or grief. And there is much that can be used as a basis for the future. Changes must be attempted in both self and world.1

The shared feature of all transitions is this bridgelike quality of being between an old home and a new one, headed toward the new but faced

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