Transitions. These are the little places in between where life really happens. For example...what you do while waiting for a pot of water to boil; those quick moments of hurried conversation when you meet a friend on the street; brushing your teeth; walking to the coffee shop...the moments that set up the next event.
My transition Thursday (which happened to be yesterday from where I am writing this post) happened at a Baked Cafe on Church Street in TriBeCa. I had just come from a yoga class and needed a place to take a conference call, so I ducked into Baked and bought a juice. I had ten minutes before my call and immediately I wished I had brought my food (drawing) journal. But I sat at the bar table and drew on the notebook that I had, a lined composition variety.
It's often in these in-between moments that I recharge. These transitions really matter. They're not about filling time. They're an action area in which you prepare yourself for the next stage in life and take the steps necessary to set that up. How you use this time is hugely important.
This, of course, reminds of triathlon, which has two transition times — one after the swim that sets up the bike, and one after the bike to set up the run.
This year I've made a conscious decision to dial down the triathlon training and racing. But I've learned so much from it, that I feel like the analogy is relevant, at least in my life. When I was training, I never practiced transitions. I thought this was throw-away time and not significant enough to waste my energy on when I needed to run, bike and swim swim swim!!
But now, I find myself in a very transitional place (in life) and I realize that there is no throw away time, and these transitions are exactly where I should be putting my energy. If only, in life, like in triathlon, we had actual designated areas and moments to step into "transition" and have that be ok, part of the game. But in life, we just have to do it while we go about the rest of the race, seamlessly trying to integrate it into our daily routine, rush to work, push to the next adventure.
So I'm trying to enjoy my transition time. As in triathlon racing, I often find this time frustrating. I've just done something HUGE - I swam a mile! - and now I have to rip off this stupid wetsuit that feels like it's painted on, fumble with my helmet, and somehow get my feet in my bike shoes? Can't it all just HAPPEN for me? Where are my minions? Oh yeah....I don't have any. I would rush. Drop things. Once I think I lost 30 seconds (lots of time in tri speak) trying to buckle my helmet because my fingers weren't cooperating.
And this is how it is in life, too. You just did something big! Did you get a promotion? Perhaps a divorce? Or perhaps you've realized that your life calling is to drive a mobile pizza kitchen cross country teaching people about healthy, seasonal pizza cookery, throwing art and storytelling in there?
Whoa. We just went over the edge a bit. Sorry. More on that later.
But whatever it is. It's different than what came before. And then time you spend in between the two matters, so make it count. How have I been spending my transition time? Journaling. My "food journal" is a way for me to combine my love of art, cooking and writing. And it helps me see my thoughts, too.
Lately, I've felt like it's really going somewhere, creatively speaking. Where it's going, I do not know. But I've made a commitment to take the process slowly (or try to) and not get too caught up in the end game. It's about where I am at this moment (in my apartment at 6am); what I'm eating or drinking right now (really dark coffee with some coconut oil in it); what's happening around me (the radiator is hissing); and even how I'm translating that visually.
And slow can be ok. Even in racing. In my last race, when I fell spectacularly off my bike, I didn't know if I was going to run and finish the race. When I got to transition, I did everything so much more slowly. I put each shoe on one at a time, thoughtfully. I took a long drink of water and a deep breath. And then walked out of transition. When I got my times at the end of the race, I realized my transition wasn't any slower than they had been when I was steam-rolling through.