My Life Metaphor is an onion. Life and its lessons are learned as each layer of the onion is being peeled off, getting closer and closer to the center of who I really am, basically coming home.
My transition story is my move from White River, Mpumalanga to Cape Town, Western Cape. Grace and I, then dating, were growing in our affections for one another and taking the beginning steps to marriage. We had also decided that our new life together would be in the backdrop of Cape Town, thus the move.
I moved to South Africa in 2007, from New York to “the bush”, literally where two local hippos lived in the area. From living in the city that never sleeps to going bed at 9pm was quite an adjustment.
So moving to Cape Town meant changing jobs, moving to a new place and getting married, all in one transition. Now, three years later, so much has happened, but looking back, wow. This was a major transitioning point in life. And for the most part it was done so well. Remembering all that went into this, I can truly say our Father had masterminded it, that I go through a good transition. Let me explain.
First, by good transition, I mean that the mistakes were minimized and learning was maximized. Among our many phone conversations, Grace and I felt that I needed a mid-wife, a ‘helper’ to guide me through this transition.
After some processing, the thought of a life coach entered my mind. “Why not get a life coach to help me through this season?” Now, up until this point, I’ve had mentors and spiritual fathers and mothers that have helped guide me through changes in life, but in this case a life coach would be needed.
A life coach is someone that helps you map out the steps for transition, all the possible details involved, all the action-steps needed and then keeps you accountable, basically being a coach. What I loved about this process was that in no way did my coach say what I needed to do. She just asked great questions that got me to think of the best plan possible. This plan was something I totally owned and believed in. My task was to leave my current job well, to move to Cape Town, be ready for a new job and start the prep work for marriage.
We would start with 3 months where we would connect every 2 weeks to discuss updates on my action steps and possible edits to action steps that may need to change for whatever reason.
In devising a plan, my coach helped me realize that a visit to the U.S. was good so to personally connect with family, friends and supporters in my new move. We devised an exit strategy in leaving my then current job in White River. I’m not a very detailed person by nature, but this plan was above and beyond anything I had experienced. Even to getting new tires and a driving mate, for the road trip down to Cape Town was in the plan.
When the time came to leave, with a heavy but excited heart, we left White River and two days later, after driving through the night and dinner and a movie in Bloemfontein, we made it Cape Town. Three weeks later, Grace and I were engaged. Five months after that, we were married and now, fast forward to 2013, we are approaching our 3rd anniversary.
When I read Grace’s first draft of “Crossing Intersections” reading her acronym STOP (Step back, Think, Observe and Proceed) found in Chapter 4 (Approaching Life Intersections), it occurred to me that this was the strategy that I acted upon.
In closing, whatever transition you are facing right now, my encouragement for you is to take time and map out your strategy, and where necessary, get help. It is so much easier with a “mid-wife”.