Each and every year in Expatland, there’s spike in transitions right around June. When summer rolls around (at least in the northern hemisphere) it’s time for good-byes. Graduations, vacations, visits to passport countries, and permanent moves all add up to major changes. Whether you’re the one staying or the one leaving, you are in the thick of transition.

And, sadly for all of us facing big changes, there’s no way around it. You’ve just got to go through the transition.

It reminds me of the children’s chant called “Going on a Bear Hunt.”

If you’re not familiar with it, it begins with “We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re not scared!” as the hunters set off on their journey. But then they face some kind of obstacle, like a swamp. They manage to get through it, only to meet up with the next problem: a mountain, a tunnel, a snowstorm. When facing each hiccup in their plans, the hunters chant,

Can’t go over it!

Can’t go around it!

Oh no, we’ve got to go THROUGH it!

Feels the same for transition, doesn’t it?

Best friend leaving? Kids going to college? Government regulations changing and resulting in major upheaval for your company? Moving to a new apartment, city, country, school, or job?

Can’t go over it!

Can’t go around it!

Oh no, you’ve got to go THROUGH it!

Ugh.

There aren’t ways—at least not healthy ones—to get around the transition. You can’t navigate a route that avoids the upheaval, skips the goodbyes, or evades the change. You’ve got to go through it. It’s hard, it’s chaos, it’s yuck, but in the end, it’s better to go through it than to try to avoid it.

So, if you find yourself facing transition this summer, don’t try to go around it. Give yourself (and your loved ones) extra grace and enough time to slog through the swamps and mire.

And be encouraged! For one thing, transition is not forever. It’s just that: a transition from one thing to the next. You won’t always be in the snowstorm or tunnel. You’ll get through it eventually and finally be on the other side.

For another thing, you are not alone. Pretty much every expat is in the middle of some kind of transition, right? So, let’s chant along together:

We’re going through transition, we’re not scared!

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