Every moment of every day can be a life chapter transition moment if we allow it.
When we look at the timeline of Forrest Gump’s life, it’s easy to see the various life chapters that took place.
And in the movie, he seamlessly moved from one life chapter to the next. Those times were Forrest Gump’s life chapter transition moments.
When Forrest ran down the high school football field escaping the bully boys, Coach Bear Bryant saw him run and his life changed. Instantly.
When he graduated from college and met the recruiter from the Army, his life changed. Instantly.
When he rescued his fellow fallen soldiers from the battlefield in Vietnam, his life changed. Instantly.
When he bought his first shrimp boat, his life changed. Instantly.
When he walked into Jenny’s apartment and met Little Forrest his life changed. Instantly.
We all have moments in our lives when significant change occurs.
Everything that we knew prior to that moment is forever changed after that moment. These are our life chapter transition moments.
When we look at the timeline of Forrest Gump’s life, we’re looking at the past. We’re seeing what has happened. It’s a story of his life journey.
We can do the same thing for our own lives. We can create a timeline and list the many milestones and chapters that we’ve journeyed through. It’s our life story. It’s our past.
But like Forrest did as he told his story from the bench in the present moment, we live our lives in the present moment.
And if we place ourselves on our own life journey timeline, we’re always in the upper right corner. We’re always living our life in the moment. Everything else is history. Everything else is an interpretation of the past.
Knowing that we are always (and only) in a present moment, we have a couple of choices.
We get to write our past and we get to create our own life chapter transition moments.
We get to write our own past. We are the sole interpreter of the chapters that have occurred to us. We are allowed to put our own spin on our lives. Assuming we’re rational and of a sound mind, we can make an honest assessment of our past and spin the story to move us forward. We can either beat ourselves up for our mistakes or we can be kind and loving to ourselves and create an interpretation that builds us up and moves us forward.
We can also create our own life chapter transition moments each and every day. In every action that we take. We get to make any moment – and any action – as big and important as we choose to make it.
I’ve been experiencing my own life chapter transition moment this past week. I’m in the process of changing my email host. I’m moving from Zimbra (zMailCloud) to G-Suite. I was perfectly happy with Zimbra’s email service. But because I now need a more robust calendar system that will integrate with other people’s calendars, the move became necessary. The decision to switch actually became apparent about a month ago. But the actual process of switching started last week. The short version is making the switch has been time-consuming and mildly frustrating. I’ve been required to learn a whole lot about things that I really don’t have a natural aptitude or passionate interest. It’s the classic example of taking two steps back to move forward. I’ve ended up in several rabbit holes that I couldn’t even have ever imagined myself.
The good news is I’ve made a lot of progress. The bad news is I’ve spent hours and hours talking to Google’s tech help learning and trying things over and over again with mixed results. I’m still not out of the woods. Google’s and Zimbra’s help teams have been great. They’ve been patient and kind and helpful.
This is a life chapter transition moment for me. I’m standing on the cusp of the way it used to be but not yet familiar with he way it will be.
So rather than scream and attempt to scurry back to the old way, I’m learning how to embrace this moment of change and recognize that the new chapter is just waiting to be started.
Life chapter transition moments are scary and difficult. That is why we tend to avoid them at all costs. Stay the course. Don’t fix what’s not broken.
Life chapter transition moments are great opportunities to create our future. They can be invigorating and challenging. They require our full attention. They require us to do things we’d rather not do. Coasting is not an option during a life chapter transition moment.
In the movie, Forrest seamlessly moved from one life chapter to the next. The movie producers didn’t dwell on the frustration and hours of hard work required during Forrest’s life chapter transition moments. It wouldn’t have made a great movie if they did.
Our job is to create our own life story.
If we focus on the hard parts when we’re in the moment, we then get to write/speak about the successes while minimizing the messy details. Nobody wants to hear only about the messy details. Everyone want to hear about the happily ever after.