Aretha Franklin has made her transition – so we were told during her funeral, which was an amazing accolade and an evangelical extravaganza. I only saw part of it, but what stuck me was that phrase, “She has transitioned.”
When I retired seven years ago I tested my ability to write by attempting to complete 50,000 words in a month. Nanowrimo is the National Novel Writing Month, which usually takes place in November. It’s a way of encouraging would-be novelists to get going. I wrote about my ‘transition’ from paid employment into retirement, including moving house and changing my lifestyle. It was a fictionalised account of my experience as told in correspondence with a good friend. I did it!
Seven years later, and here I am again, feeling that another transition is about to happen. It is the beginning of another academic year; Schools are back; autumn is on its way; it will soon be harvest time and I am preparing for multiple changes in roles. I have to re-register as a student, and begin to think about my next module which is about research methodology, and then about my dissertation.
As part of this change process I am investing in a new computer. The technology will, no doubt, be challenging, but it is the thought of having to sort out all the accumulated ‘stuff’ both physical and digital that is daunting!
Leaving behind what is no longer needed and gathering together what is necessary for the next stage is what transition seems to be about. Aretha Franklin had already done all of this work, we were told. She had built her home in heaven while still here on earth. For me it is a matter of gathering in the harvest from the allotment and preparing for the autumn. It is having one last holiday break before getting down to serious study again. It is storing the memories of time with grandchildren and the summer birthday and anniversary celebrations, and the photographs that captured those events. It is also shredding the papers from the redundant files and making room for the new files and the books for the next phase of the course.
The thought of this next transition makes me both excited and nervous. It feels like an adventure. Who knows what will happen?