Coming of Age Challenge #6 Change and Transition

As William Bridges describes in his various books on Transition. Change is what happens to things and Transitions are what people go through. The three phases start with 

  • Ending the Old
  • Neutral Zone
  • New Beginnings

This month our entire family has gone through a major change by selling our home of 15 years. The home Zoe-Pascale was born and raised in (except when we were in France) and the home that gave us great joy. Our decision, like all changes, was mixed, but overall felt like it was the right thing to do so that we could make some shifts in our life we were looking to do. To help Zoe (and all of us) go through this transition we are moving through the process. A process that you don't have a choice to do or not, but how you do it, is the key. 

Ending the Old

For months we did talk about selling the home and involved her in the decision and our plans both temporarily and for the future. The adventuress she is allowed her to see the possibilities and process what it meant to let go of her small bedroom, gorgeous view (the major loss) and feeling of comfort. Last weekend we went back to the empty home and each talked about what we loved, thanked the house for all that it had given us and did a little dance. A few tears were shed but the ritual of letting go as Bill Bridges speaks about is critical. For anyone to truly move on we celebrate these transitions through rituals and celebrations (i.e. marriage ceremonies, bat mitvahs, retirement dinners, graduation ceremonies). 

Neutral Zone

The neutral zone is interesting as it is a time of creativity, chaos (my kitchen) and possibly depression if you are not watchful. To help us all and especially Zoe move through this period we ended up renting a townhouse for the year that gave her some of things she desired as a growing teen. Her own bathroom, walk in closet and large room with bookshelves lining the walls for all her books. Her desire was to decorate it like Royalty. 

The night we moved in we surprised her with the beginning look of a Royal bedroom -- gold bedspread with Euro pillows and royal green, purple/pink, and gold pillows. Soon there will be a sheer canopy and more royal type accoutrements. 

Organizing the house quickly, her study area and taking time to enjoy the pool and jacuzzi has been key. 

The research says that to get through this phase quickly, put temporary systems in place until it settles in. For us, a dip in the jacuzzi and a walk with the dog through the gorgeous Eucalyptus trees is moving us forward. Organizing ourselves the night before (so we can find everything in the morning) and making the extra bathroom a place to store my files for now reduces someone yelling "Where is my stuff?"

Our goal is to keep the creativity high as she moves through this phase which she is doing miraculously. All she really wants to know is where is she going on vacation!

New Beginnings

She is seeing the possibilities of having friends come to swim and walk to Starbucks in near by Mill Valley. 

Our commute to her bus is now 3 minutes vs. 15 minutes and her room is expansive, fit for a queen.

We have a beautiful (albiet not as grand) view towards Tam Valley, the Richardson Bay inlet, and through the Eucalyptus Trees and the townhouse is shaping up. We've grown from small closets and bathrooms to walkins and double sinks and an attached two car garage. We've cleaned out, simplified, donated, sold, and continue to get rid of clutter.

A sense of new opportunities and choices are in the future.


This story of Transitions is the most critical learning I have ever had both in my professional work with organizations in transition and with my family. It is a simple model but one that does work and a challenge for everyone!

Suzanne Saxe-Roux