What's Next?: Navigating Transitions to Make the Rest of Your Life Count
H. Norman Wright --- a certified trauma specialist, and a licensed marriage, family and child therapist --- offers a comprehensive resource on making transitions through life with the best possible attitude and embracing positive action steps. Wright, a prolific evangelical author who has written more than 80 books, uses this topic to empower readers to view life’s many and ongoing transitory seasons as a potent growth tool. Since life is always changing (and the people in our lives are as well), it behooves us to start accepting life transitions with good grace.
"Licensed marriage, family and child therapist and certified trauma specialist H. Norman Wright offers a comprehensive resource on making transitions through life with the best possible attitude and embracing positive action steps."
Wright introduces his topic with a story in which he sat with another couple and three older adults. He posed the question to them, “What would you say are your dreams and plans for the next 20 years?” Silence. He shares that the group looked at him and then at one another with a puzzled expression on their faces. Finally, one woman spoke up and said, “We don’t think in those terms, we’re looking month to month.” As a 70-year-old female, we can understand her reply; like her, many individuals simply live day by day without any plan for tomorrow, next week, or the upcoming years. But Wright suggests a completely different scenario. He recommends embracing (and planning for) a future filled with overcoming obstacles, making dynamic plans for achieving in both professional and personal endeavors, and expecting God to do great things in each person’s life no matter how young or old they are.
Instead of dreading transitions --- or, as many people falsely believe, getting to a point where transitions no longer exist --- Wright offers a lovely blueprint for viewing transitions as possibilities for bettering ourselves and our lives. He tells readers, “From birth until death, life contains (some would say is) a series of transitions. A transition, as defined here, is a bridge between two different stages of life --- a period of movement between states of relative certainty. It’s a season of uncertainty, change, as one stage winds down and a new one emerges.” He commiserates with everyone who detests changes, whether they are large or small, by acknowledging that all change carries elements of risk, insecurity and vulnerability.
Some events are expected, others are not, but all usher in a mixed bad of feelings and responses. Even the most positive change comes hand in hand with some measure of emotional tension. Wright specifically tackles major life transitions that include midlife matters, the second half of marriage, widowhood, divorce, empty nest, the boomerang generation, remarriage, parenting adult children, retirement, realigning your purpose in life, and the legacy every person leaves behind. He does an excellent job defining each life transition and its accompanying problems, followed by inspirational and practical suggestions for jumpstarting passivity and reinventing fresh approaches to life.
Readers undoubtedly will find themselves somewhere within the pages of this book, and they’ll be grateful for Wright’s RX recommendations on how to proceed to the next stage of life with care.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on April 22, 2012