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Pain & Reward in Life Transitions: An interview with Celestina Caitas

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

Life transitions, we all experience them, whether it’s a change in the environment where we are physically moving from one location to another or a rite of passage, where we grow from being a child to a young adult, or when we add responsibility to our lives by becoming a parent. Perhaps it is the change in the way we do things or see life, such as changing life habits or switching careers. Change can happen by choice, or it can be forced. Change can be painful and challenging but it can also be rewarding and something that we look forward to. We've all experienced change to a degree, some more than others. My friend, Celestina is one of those! She has experienced more change in just a few years than most experience in a lifetime. She's joining us to tell us about her experiences with life transitions and to give us encouragement as we face ours.

Celestina is someone I know through my work as a Senior Learning Consultant. We actually have never met in person, but I felt an instant connection via email, as strange as that may sound. I know she is someone who has wisdom, joy, and depth; who has the knowledge to share with the rest of us. Wherever she is, she shows up as someone who wants to serve others. Please welcome her.

Anne van Gessel: Tell us a little about yourself!

Celestina: Hey! I'm Celestina, an eternal child, curious to discover as much as possible about this rollercoaster we call life. I have a 5-year-old son who managed to enhance even more of my inner child and has helped me discover myself in ways that heal my overthinking doubts and fears. I'm also a working mom. I'm always eager to learn new things and uncover new people. I love getting to know what amazing personalities this planet holds.

Anne van Gessel: Tell us what you'd classify as a 'life transition'? Celestina:

For me, life transitions are major events that change one's inertia, both as a life path and a mental one. From relocating to a new city to pursuing academic studies when I was 19, to working at a career and then becoming a mom and then again following a career path; these are all major transitions that have transformed my life. And I tend to ponder sometimes about the plans that didn't go through; about expectations, I had prior to a change; and all that mental stuff that sometimes creeps into my mind late at night. But I realize I wouldn't want my life to have turned out any other way! Anne van Gessel: How do they affect us? Celestina: In terms of these transitions' impact on us, I tend to divide them into two major factions: stressful factors and exciting factors. From sleepless nights filled with overthinking to amazing nights filled with excitement; I think all these transitions are lessons preparing us for the experiences to come once the transition begins to enter a steady state. I love considering the steady state of the transition. For me, it's the peace and quiet, where I start to shed the stress and fears and begin to build my own signature to perfect the transition. Anne van Gessel: What suggestions do you have around ways to cope with life transitions? Celestina: Think of life transitions in terms of marathons, not sprints! And remember, your feelings are correct, no matter how others felt or say they felt in similar situations! A vital lesson I learned late in my life when I was mentally preparing (and overthinking) becoming a mother, was that major life transitions are marathons. We need to have patience with ourselves. I was amazing, I mean really. I considered myself born to undergo sprints, pulling up all-nighters to design and write my bachelor's and master's theses, studying for exams, delivering tight deadlines, etc. However, with motherhood, I set out to build a sustainable (not that I had any other choice ) transition and that meant understanding that nothing happens overnight. Additionally, as I explained to my husband, we need to organically understand this marathon; follow our instincts, and realize we don't need to be the same as other parents and will not feel the same as any other new parents. Everyone has their path, intensity, emotions, and their mindset. And the sooner I applied these thoughts to my baby blues noob mom brain, the sooner I had a very smooth and amazing connection with my son.

Everyone has their path, intensity,emotions, and their mindset.

Anne van Gessel: Do you have any special pieces of advice for the readers on this topic?

Celestina: I can think of three major aspects that I feel apply to all types of good transitions: 1. Follow your instincts! Intuition is a major key to successful decisions, if it has a lot of training data to help, it naturally infers expectations and success of a transition. The more experiences one has in life, the easier it is to apply past patterns and decide how to tackle a major change. 2. Follow your principles, unravel your non-negotiables, and stick to your integrity to have an organic and thorough transition. 3. Talk to people. Find out how others managed the entire transition process, and just blow off steam, share and have fun. Try to learn as much as possible from all the facets of the respective change and carpe diem. Some moments never come back! Anne van Gessel: Is there anything else you'd like us to know about life transitions?

Celestina: Maktub

After years of transitions from relocating to another city by myself when I was 19; changing careers and jobs, becoming a wife and a mom; to becoming more and more myself, I started praying that what's the best for me and my family happens in major changes. I discovered along the way that I might be wrong in desiring some specific outcomes from a transition and having to wait or make a 180° change was even better than I could have dreamt of. This is in close connection to the Arabic MAKTUB (fate is determined) principle that I like to translate as, "if it's supposed to happen, it will." I discovered this saying while reading about other civilizations and it's something that has stuck with me. I bring it to light each time I am in doubt.

All transitions have benefits, even if they are hidden at first glance. I used to be afraid of change, but for ten years now I understood transitions keep us growing and thriving toward the ultimate goal of getting more in touch with our true selves. And that's a scary and amazing journey that I love uncovering each day.

How to contact Celestina:


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