Think of transition as a process of leaving the status quo, living for a while in a fertile “time-out,” and then coming back with an answer. The British historian Arnold Toynbee pointed out that societies gain access to new energies and new directions only after a “time of troubles” initiates a process of disintegration wherein the old order comes apart. He showed how often the new orientation was made clear only after what he called a “withdrawal and return” on the part of individuals or creative minorities within the society. The needed transformation, it seems, takes place in an in-between state or outside the margin of ordinary life. That is so with individual lives as well: Things end, then you spend a time (or time-out) in the neutral zone, and then things begin anew. That is how life has always been and always will be. So make your time of transition a time of renewal and transformation. Come out of it stronger and better adapted to your world than you were when you went in.

– Transitions: Making Sense Of Life’s Changes by William Bridges


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