Walking and exploring the callejónes (alleyways) and streets of Guanajuato, Mexico, you begin to notice these antique stone water fountains. They were originally installed as communal water feed outlets for the local residents who would fetch and carry water back to their homes. Today the residents install rooftop cisterns that gravity feed water into their homes. No more fetching and carrying to obtain your daily water supply.
When the switch from communal water to rooftop cisterns took place, what did people give up in the process? Certainly they reduced the time needed to go and fetch water, physical back pain, and increased their supply of water in the home. Yet what was lost to the community? Just like the proverbial water coolers in office situations, the people had less time to connect with their neighbor, see who needed help or assistance, discover the latest and juiciest gossip, and share and get advice on the best resources in town.What do you need to do make the transition even more successful and maybe, less painful? #ClearPathForward #Women #midlife #transition Click To Tweet
So what did people do about this? While I definitely don’t know the whole answer, what I’ve observed is that the people in town spend time in the plazas, sitting and talking on outdoor benches, listening to roving mariachi bands, and connecting with their friends and neighbors. Now part of this is the inherent in the culture of Mexico; outdoor festivals and communal gathering in the central and neighborhood plazas have been going on for years. But I see people, young and old, taking the time to meet in small groups in the neighborhood plazas, not for just local festivals and activities, but to ensure they still connect and share life with their neighbors.
As you make life transitions, large or small, before you embark on those adventures, do you take time to reflect, examine and take steps to prepare your community support? What may you need to inject into your life based on the transition occurring? What do you need to do make the transition even more successful and maybe, less painful? A few examples to consider:
- You leave a nine to five job and start working from your home. Have you thought about where you are going to tap into community stimulus and support while you now work solo at home? What about all the services and support you used to have (the company IT guru!) internally? Who will now provide those services for you?
- You get divorced, separated, or just break-up with a significant partner. What support systems do you need to set up before you ever take the plunge? How can you and your soon-to-be former partner prepare mutual friends and family? Where might you seek out support that you might not have in the past?
- You decide to relocate to a different area, city, state, country. How do you prepare those people and support you’ve built in your soon-to-be former home base? What connections do you want to maintain and what ones are ready to be discontinued? What kind of outreach can you make, even before the move, to establish connections in your new location? What might you do to feel more settled even before you actually move?
Yes, I can hear some of you saying, “Doesn’t this woman understand that I have a very active social media outlet?” And yes, those electronic relationships will continue wherever you are. Just don’t take for granted the social support system you have in your current “life” situation that may go away when a major life transition occurs. You can certainly always build it back up. But by then the damage has been done, and relationships may be lost, fractured, or irretrievably broken. Not to mention that emotional trauma and change you’re dealing with is potentially affecting you adversely on other, less immediately visible levels.
ACTION: As you contemplate your next transition, what community support do you want to invest in, build up or search out?
Kathy Hart’s driving passion is human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women in midlife (ages 40 – 65) with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org. The choice is yours!
Services that Kathy offers:
- 1:1 coaching to support the next journey into your midlife transition
- Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
- Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
- Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance