Last week, we began talking about transition. Specifically for those of you who will be leaving a place you have started to call “home” and moving on to another. One common process to prepare for a transition like this is to “build a RAFT”. If you missed last week’s post be sure to check it out HERE first. Today we will look at the final two steps for building your RAFT.
This step in the process is rather straightforward: say goodbye.
Yes, goodbyes are hard. In fact, goodbyes stink. You may be thinking, “Wouldn’t it be easier to skip this part?” Yeah, it would.
But, when you look back at this season of your life, you will be glad you took the time to engage in goodbyes. The affirmation step was about thanking and encouraging the people who mean a lot to you. But the farewell step is your final time to see your friends, hug them, cry or laugh with them. Or, if you’re not very emotional, give him or her that final high-five or handshake.
Even if you expect to keep in touch with your friends through Facebook or WhatsApp, gather them together for one final meal together. Or, make a point to meet with those people who have been an important part of your life. You could even allow one or two friends to accompany you to the airport to send you off.
Farewells don’t have to be limited to people. You can also include farewells to places or experiences you will miss. You may want to visit your favorite restaurant one last time or ride your bike to a frequented scenic spot. No matter what it looks like, saying goodbye to people you love and to experiences you enjoy will help you leave in a healthy way.
Think about where you’re going next. It’s important to mentally prepare yourself for your destination. If you’re going to a new place, it will be helpful to learn what you can about it.
Take some time to think through these questions before you arrive. What are your expectations for when you get there? What will be the challenges? Who might you see there? What do you need once you get there?
Do a bit of research online. Ask around; try to find someone who has lived in the place you’re going and can give you helpful insider tips.
If you’re going back to your home country. You may assume that you know exactly what it will be like and that everything will be the same as always. But you have now experienced living in a new culture, among different people. Places that used to feel familiar will feel foreign. You may feel confused or misunderstood.
Many people experience strong culture shock when they return to their home country. This is called reverse culture shock and it might surprise you. It will take time to readjust and to acclimate to your environment, even if you spent most of your life there.
Regardless of what your experience has been like or the challenges you have faced, you’re not the same as you were when you left. We rarely return home unchanged by the journey.
How have you changed? What might be challenging about returning? Think through these questions before you go.
We hope these steps can help you prepare for your upcoming transition. Transition can be hard, but know that you’re not alone!