Hanging out in Chaosville

Transitions are a part of life. There are always people coming and going. Jobs don’t remain forever. Houses get bought and sold. Children arrive, and then leave again (that one takes a while though, and sometimes they come back!). But even though transitions are constant, it does not always make them easy.

During my time on staff with Cru we learned about this fabulous thing called the Cycle of Transition. The cycle has 5 stages: Settled, Disengaging, Chaos, Re-engaging and Settled. So it makes a circle, if you draw it out. You start off in the Settled stage – life is good, you know your schedule, your friends, what to do, where you are, what to expect and how everything works, for the most part, of course.

Then, when a transition begins you start to disengage from your nice, calm, lovely, settled life. You begin saying goodbye to the people you love, packing up myriads of boxes of belongings, ceasing the activities that used to keep you occupied and entertained, and transitioning out of your job. Life begins to un-settle, and as the one departing or changing, it is not necessarily the most comfortable spot to sit.

After the disengaging is in full swing, you begin to enter into my favorite stage, chaos. “Favorite” is not actually the word I would like to use, but it seems most appropriate at the moment. We’ll come back to the chaos stage in a moment.

Stage 4 is re-engaging, where you begin to settle into a new routine, find new friends & hang-outs, start your new job, learn a new schedule, maybe wake up earlier, shop at a new grocery store, unpack boxes, hang things on the wall, discover restaurants that will become “the usual”, explore a new city, find a new church and small group, locate new doctors, dentists, hairdressers, change all your necessary addresses, and move towards being settled, which is stage 5, or the return to stage 1, however you want to look at it.

I like being settled. I love routine and knowing what is going on.

That is not my life at the moment, nor will it be for the foreseeable future.

At the moment, I live in Chaosville. Now, part of my life will soon be starting up the re-engaging process, albeit with the knowledge that any settling in is temporary. The other part, the hoping-to-be-overseas-by-next-fall part, will remain in Chaosville for a long time. One of my former office-mates reminded me of that about a month ago when I had a momentary emotional crisis over what I am doing at the present (leaving staff, nannying, trying to go somewhere that doesn’t already have an organization sending people to that spot, finding a teammate, etc). She helped bring me back to reality and remember that Chaos and I are going to become good friends over the next few months, and I can either fight it or learn to enjoy it.

If you have tips on how to enjoy living in Chaosville as a type-A, OCD planner/scheduler who loves details and knowing what is going on, please share. I personally find it helpful and freeing to know about this cycle. It makes me realize that I am not going crazy, I am just in the Chaos stage, and that is ok. Chaos can somehow be enjoyed and embraced, and hopefully over the next year I will learn how to enjoy and embrace it fully. In the meantime, I am going to go unpack another box.

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