And. As we begin the transition out of summer, it is the perfect time to talk about how we can be in two states simultaneously: sadness over an ending, and excitement for the next chapter. Whether it is camp or vacation, the end of summer is always such a mix of emotions: leaving a happy place that you had planned and anticipated with such excitement AND returning to sleep in your own bed and have the comforts of home.
AND is powerful – it provides options and anticipation, sway, rather than forcing a single choice. AND allows the richness of transformation: an acknowledgment of where you have been (maybe with grief and a tinge of regret) and where you are going (the unknown and growth). In order to undergo a transition, there should be acknowledgment of what you are leaving, while also processing all that comes with your ‘next’.
Grief AND Growth. Regardless of the circumstances of a job change, there is always the mixed emotion of sadness for what was and excitement for what will be. If the choice to make a change was yours, there may be mixed emotions about leaving your co-workers or a project unfinished, while also holding excitement for a new challenge, advancement, and all the promise of a new opportunity.
Pride AND Angst. You are dropping your child off at college and are so proud of their accomplishments, while also holding concern for their ability to succeed, be independent … make good choices. Even parents of the most mature and accomplished students hold some level of angst at their leaving the nest, while also holding anticipation for all they will experience in their next chapter.
Extrovert AND Alone. No matter how fueled you are by people and being ‘on’, you can also value your downtime to recharge; create healthy distance from others. Glennon Doyle likened it to having a favorite meal and still not wanting to eat it every single day. You can love being with others and still yearn for solitude.
Invigorated AND Exhausted. “Sounded good at the time, not so much now.” This mantra is a standing joke with one of my best friends. He and I can be completely enthusiastic about an idea, until the moment we actually have to show up. Excited AND filled with dread. That is probably why you have not heard from me in a couple of months. Lots of ideas and enthusiasm for writing, AND exhaustion from daily routine and life. I have very much been living in a state of AND.
So rather than choosing, forced to pick either/or, an acknowledgment of AND may be the best way to validate seemingly contradictory emotions – those that propel you forward, while also hitting the force that can hold you back.
As you wind up the summer, how can you intentionally choose the AND? Validate where you have been, where you are, AND where you are going.