Transitions come in all shapes and sizes—some sudden, like the immediate awareness of driving off the pavement and onto a gravel road. For me, that usually means I'm heading for a better place. Or maybe it's the rough transition between your pre-dinner cocktail and the wine served with the meal—nothing more than a first-world problem and possibly a sign of a well-lived life. But other transitions in life are more meaningful and more profound.
Leaving home for college, entering the workforce, getting married, having kids, exiting the workforce, or losing a loved one are life-changing events and require us to adapt. The list is endless. How we handle these transitions can determine the trajectory of our lives and influence our happiness. Somewhere between the trivial and life-changing are thousands of other transitions we experience daily, and we are often unaware they influence our behavior, causing us stress or discomfort.
Maybe I'm reaching here, searching for personal validation for my recent behavior. But a day or so after a personal event, which I will share with you shortly, I began to wonder if others have experienced the same sort of thing. With further reflection, I concluded that I can't be alone, and others must undoubtedly share this sort of "transitional stress." Please don't interpret the following as me complaining. It's nothing more than a personal observation of my less-than-optimal behavior, feelings of agitation, and wondering if I'm alone. The specifics aren't necessary because I've realized that this sort of "transitional stress" had struck me many times before, and the surrounding circumstances were quite different. I share because, this time, it involved a hunting trip.
It was a Friday evening, and I was heading to a social event at a private club. Two days prior, I stepped off a plane after nearly 19 hours in the air. When I got on the first plane heading home, I was halfway around the world, in a different time zone, and it was a different day of the week. I was experiencing jet lag for the first time in my life. The trip allowed me to spend many consecutive days afield pursuing game. Sometimes, hunting brings a range of emotional highs and lows, and on big trips, there tends to be a level of stress. Almost everyone I engaged with lived the lifestyle outside of my time in airports. They loved to hunt and loved to talk about all things hunting. Then I came home.
Now it was time to transition back to the United States and find my seat at the event. There were about 100 to 120 people in the room. In hindsight, I would probably bet that I was the only person in the room that was a hunter. It wasn't that I felt out of place. However, I was nearly overwhelmed by boring, mind-numbing topics of conversation. After spending two weeks on an adventure that no one in the room could relate to, my tolerance for conversations about who's running for office or next week's fundraiser was at zero.
The event was for a good cause, and that's the only reason I was there. But then it happened. Thinking that a drink, or two, would help, I went to the bar to grab something to wash down the overcooked food that I knew was coming. The MC was on the microphone, and most people had taken their seats. I hand signaled the barmaid for round two as my agitation was about to start building. In his oversized, cheap sports coat, the guy next to me instructed the young lady behind the bar to put his drinks on his account. He then told me more information than I needed to know about her, her sister, and his membership status. All while using an outside voice and still wearing his sunglasses. You know this guy. We've all met at least one. He's the person that is entirely unaware that everyone in the room finds him annoying as hell.
I couldn't help myself. My mind went to sixth-grade recess when you could publicly fix ignorance without the risk of legal action—time to take my seat. As I walked away, thinking I had freed myself from this loud mouth, my new friend sat behind me as the first speaker approached the mic. There were 120 seats in the place, and he chose to park himself behind me. He kept going as I was being "encouraged" to stay calm! Eventually, another guest from the table leaned over and diplomatically delivered the much-needed message to "shut up."
This situation could easily and rightfully annoy anyone. But it was how I felt that struck me. As annoyed as I was, I couldn't get over the feeling of wanting to leave this country and "go back." Lose the suit, pursue wild things and places, and leave this manufactured life without "pecking order."
Mother Nature has a way of sorting things out and ensuring all the participants know where they belong in the natural order. There is no space for politics and no time for diplomacy or sloppy behavior. She offers what, at times, can be viewed as a harsh existence, but all the participants know the rules, and she doesn't play favorites and has no time for your membership status.
She has also gifted her participant's acute awareness—something my friend clearly misses. Maybe the whole thing was just a reminder that Earth now has two worlds, and I firmly planted a foot in both. One is governed by the "natural way of things," and the other is controlled or at least heavily influenced by poor behavior.
My new newsletter shares more of my insights into the Natural Way of Things. If you have a passion for hunting, fishing, and the outdoors, email me at email@example.com, and I’ll be sure to send you our next edition.