Big Transitions, Lifelong Learning

Big Transitions, Lifelong Learning 2
Nadia Colburn // May 23, 2024 // 8 Comments

This was a big week in our family: Gabriel, my son, graduated from college on Monday. It felt like an even bigger transition than I expected.

I was mentally preparing for a long time for my kids to graduate from high school (this was our first year of empty nesting–Simone had a good first year of college and is now mostly home for the summer, which is great). 

But this graduation surprised me. It doesn't seem like that long ago that I graduated from college!

I felt myself feeling nervous; this is a whole new chapter, and big change is always (for me, at least) somewhat destabilizing.

But then I meditated and wrote on it, and this helped me come back into balance.

And as I thought about the role of education, I reflected on how education continues wherever–and whenever–we are living our lives. 

Like my kids, I was extremely fortunate and went to great schools (for a long time—my formal education lasted until I was almost 30, when I got my PhD!)

But I found that my biggest education was outside of school: in experiencing love and illness, in having and raising children, in following my own passions, reading books and traveling, and learning from different people–often my students.

Similarly, when I think about Gabriel's past years, his biggest education has also come outside of the classroom.

His education has been in his friends, in interacting with his classmates and community members–often his students that he tutors weekly–and in his long recovery from his accident, with its lingering concussion symptoms. (Some of you may remember he had an accident while rock climbing in Croatia a year and a half ago.)

Gabriel's journey of illness and healing, of navigating the unexpected, of working at limited capacity, of searching for help and getting it, and of learning to give up "knowing" and instead trust in the potential for change, has been a true education in life and resilience. 

Sometimes in school, there is an implicit model of a straight line. But life, of course, doesn’t work that way. And sometimes when it seems like we’re getting off the path, we are actually discovering who we really are and what life is really all about.

Gabriel’s formal education might be ending (at least for now–who knows, he might go back to grad school), but, like all of us, he will always be learning.

I feel so lucky that you and I and this community are all life-long learners 🙂 and that we are all part of this journey of learning and growing together, with writing as our guide and witness.

In honor of this week's events, I've put together two writing prompts about life's transitions (see below) that I hope you enjoy. 🙂 

I’m also delighted to share with you three podcast interviews that I’ve given recently (see below); I loved being in these conversations with podcast hosts I listen to and respect. I hope you’ll take some time and enjoy them, too 🙂


My Recent Podcast Interviews 


Writing Prompts on Life's Transitions

  • Writing Prompt #1: Think of a time of a formal transition in your life: how did you feel? What were you leaving behind, and what was opening up ahead of you? 
  • Writing Prompt #2: Think of a time when it seemed like you were getting off your “path.” What new opportunities or learnings opened for you as a result? 


Please leave me a comment below! Let me know how the writing prompts go for you, share your thoughts on the podcast conversations, or ask a question! I love to hear from you.


with smiles,

Nadia


  • Happiest congratulations to your son on his graduation from college, and to your daughter for completing a successful first year!

    Warmest regards to the whole brilliant family 💖

    Lisa Zimmerman

  • “Sometimes in school, there is an implicit model of a straight line. But life, of course, doesn’t work that way. And sometimes when it seems like we’re getting off the path, we’re actually discovering who we really are and what life is really all about.”

    Congratulations to your Soon. I am praying for continued healing, blessings, and learning for him. Thank you for the affirmation– @55 I am resigning from the only work I’ve known for over 20 years– educating young people and supporting teachers. That path that you speak of– the unevenness of the unknown– I pray will lead me to who I really am. I am in search of the truest parts of myself.

    • Bonita, thank you for your beautiful comment and for all you do! Honored to be on this journey with you 🙂

  • You are quite transparent with your life. Thank you for that! Blessings to your whole family! Mary l

  • I enjoyed listening to all 3 of your podcast interviews but was most strongly affected by the one on the climate crisis. I enjoyed listening to you read your poems and talk about the importance of doing what we can to preserve our natural world such as planting trees. I liked how you expressed value in the contributions of our collective writing community sharing as opposed to looking up to and idolizing one famous poet laureate for writing inspiration. Thanks for sharing these!
    Gratefully, Peggy

    • Thank you so very much Peggy! I really do believe in the power of community–and am so glad to be in community with you!

  • Nadia, congratulations on your son’s graduation. Thank you for sharing. Family achievements are part of the fun and the joy of life.

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