The morning of my wedding I wept like a child. I remember waking up alone in my apartment, walking into my bathroom and staring at my tearful, red eyes in the mirror. It wasn’t the jitters. I knew Rachel was the one. I had no qualms about marriage. What scared me was adulthood.
When I turned 18, I had legal adult rights, but I didn’t feel like an adult. I still had my parents supporting me. I had few responsibilities outside of college classes. I was a kid with a lot more freedom. But the morning of my wedding I realized that by getting married, I was stepping out of childhood and into the harsh world of grown-ups.
There are a lot of occasions that make adults cry. A new baby, a graduation, a wedding, a death. The one thing that all of these moments have in common is that they are transitions.
Transitions are emotional occasions. They’re a form of death a rebirth. Simultaneously we’re stepping away from something familiar and into something strange, new and mysterious. Maybe that’s why death is so scary. Is it really the cessation of life that bothers us, or is it the plunge into the great unknown?
Transition can’t be avoided. The child must go to kindergarten. The kindergartener must go into first grade. The student must become a worker, etc. These occasions are big deals. That’s why we mark them with ceremony. We need to say hello, goodbye and good luck. We need to acknowledge where we’ve come from, and prepare for the journey ahead.
It’s normal to feel anxiety when making a transition. The trick is to expect it and recognize it. Know that that’s how normal people fear before embarking on a new journey. Feel the anxiety, but proceed forward. Like you’ve done throughout all transitions of your past, you will adapt and regain you footing.
Now I’m married. I own a house. I own businesses. I pay taxes. I’m also raising two kids. I’m totally an adult and I really like it. I’ve survived a lot of change throughout my life and thus far I’ve been OK. I’m finding that the more transitions I go through, the more thrilling life becomes.
It may be difficult to make a transition, but it’s a lot better than growing stale by staying put.