Living with Uncertainty 

Transitions are a bitch.  And so many in my community are in the midst of one right now.  As I listen to their frustration and confusion, I’m reminded of a cartoon:

A frog is leaping from one lily pad to another with a look of sheer terror as he realizes he’s about to miss his target. The caption read: ‘Just when you think you’ve made ends meet, someone moves an end.

That’s exactly how it feels to be in transition—whether it’s a conscious choice (like taking a sabbatical) or an unwelcomed disruption (like being laid off). You’re poised mid-air between the old and the new, wondering “what do I do now?’

I remember my first big transition, back in the 80’s, when I moved from the Midwest to San Francisco…a dream come true. But as soon as I settled in, I felt untethered, disoriented, anxious. This wasn’t what I expected.

Thankfully, I discovered the book Transitions: Making sense of Life’s Changes by Bill Bridges. It was a godsend!

Bridges points out that primitive societies had rituals to give meaning to life’s transitions. Initiates were taken out of their villages, into the wilderness, where they didn’t know what was going to happen next.

“Every time we make a change,” he explains, “We take a metaphorical journey into the wilderness.” But nowadays, no one is there to guide us.

Bridges became my guide, reassuring me that uncertainty is a vital part of the transition process.

This ‘in-between’ period is not a time for commitment, but contemplation.

It’s a time to feel our feelings, grieve our losses, and, like the primitives, commune with our spirit guides.  We need to unhook from the past before we can create a new future.

To this day, whenever I’m in the midst of change, I hear Bridges reassuring me: the more you can tolerate, even embrace, uncertainty, the quicker you will get through it.

Eventually, at some point, you’ll feel a fresh burst of energy. Opportunities will appear. Loose ends will come together. Out of the chaos of uncertainty, new beginnings will inevitably emerge.

But until that happens, I have to say: Traversing uncertainty is like taking foul tasting medicine. Just because I know it’s good for me, doesn’t mean I have to like it.

When in the midst of a transition, have you ever tried embracing uncertainty? How did it feel? Leave me a comment below.

Comments & Feedback

  • Barbara Alpher

    A transition is happening for me right now and there are so many loose ends at a time when I need focus. Embracing those loose ends which create uncertainty feels good. I’m getting things done and need to acknowledge that.
    Bridges book will be a help right now no doubt. Thanks.

    • barbara huson

      It makes such a difference when you can embrace uncertainty rather than fighting it, Barbara. That book really helped me so much…it still does and I haven’t read it in maybe 30 years. I wish you much success navigating this transition!

  • KS

    I’m in the middle of the biggest transition of my life! Mid-separation, beginning of a new relationship, just lost a job, and am having to move all as a single parent. Yikes! But this newsletter landed in my inbox in the perfect timing—a reminder that life has my back. Embracing the uncertainty—and possibility!—has become the only thing getting me through.

    • barbara huson

      O my, KS, you do have a lot on your plate. But I can sense you’ll move through it with grace and determination. Wishing you lots of success with all the possibilities on their way!!!

  • Lisa

    For myself, I’ve developed the “six month rule”. Transitions for me usually are 6 months of up and downs, then new beginnings begin when I least expected it, so long as I wake up and try to make the most of each day.

    • barbara huson

      I love that, Lisa! It’s a great way to look at those transitions…temporary ups & downs that will inevitably even out when you least expect it. Makes it feel more like an adventure than a scary roller coaster ride!
      Thanks for sharing this with me.

  • Jenifer

    My boyfriend and I are considering a new home. At 61 and 59, we are having to each open up about our feelings, fears, and dreams. I have lived in this home for 21 years and it was my haven, my project, my rock as I had had an unexpected divorce and had to transverse the minefields of single parenthood, etc. I find that I am having to allow myself to truly dream and allow myself to want more in life. I don’t have to just be grateful for what I have now, I can dream bigger. It is ok. I deserve the next exciting chapter and I will be so grateful and happy for the chapter that is ending.

    • barbara huson

      So beautiful. Jennifer! It’s truly time to dream bigger. You deserve it. Excited about you finding a new home. Wishing you lots of luck! You’ve got a great attitude!

  • Brenda

    Hi Barbara, thank you for posting this at a time where I most need it. I was fired from my job on Monday. I left teaching to take this job at a university and turned out to be the most toxic experience of my life. Later this week, the gallery that represented my work let me go. It has been a week of major losses but also know my higher power has pruned dead branches from my life for even greater growth. While I am excited to see what comes next, it is very scary not to see anything at all. I will pick up this book!

    • barbara huson

      OH Brenda, I can understand how scary and unsettling this time is for you. But you’re right. As one of my favorite quotes from Carl Jung says: For better to come, good must stand aside. And your job wasn’t even good, but it was income. However, I can’t wait to hear about all the “better” stuff that will be coming to you very soon. Keep me posted!

  • Susanne

    Thank you Barbara,
    That was a great reminder. I am high in Maverick and Accumulator as my Sacred Money Archetypes (Kendall Summer Hawk). So, if there hasn’t been change for a while my Maverick may burn down the house on purpose to propell me forward and upward and the Accumulator freaks out because it craves security. I am grateful I am learning to balance the two, but I opted to up level again recently. So, thank you for making me laugh and embrace it, again.

    • barbara huson

      I love hearing from you, SUsanne. And congratulations on upleveling!! I’m excited for you. It’s been fun wathcing how much you’ve grown and flourished. keep it up!!!

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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