Change of life

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that phrase? I’m betting that it will have something to do with a midlife woman navigating the perimenopausal years. It certainly always did for me. Now that I’m in the thick of it, however, I’m realizing that this phrase has multiple layers of meaning and can be applied to people at any phase of life, not just midlife.

  1. Graduating from high school (or trade school or college) will amount to a huge change of life(style). No longer confined by the relentless schedule of classes and homework and studying, I still remember the feeling of enormous relief that I experienced the last day of classes when I left the room after the last final. It was a weightlessness, a “lightness of being”. Freedom!
  2. First car after years of taking public transportation. For me, this also brought with it a feeling of freedom, independence. Conversely, I wonder if going back to public transportation after years of carrying the burden of the inherent (read: crushing) costs of owning a car today would bring the same feeling of relief that finishing school brought.
  3. Having a baby. I used to just shake my head at the people (parents) who told me over and over that I didn’t know what it was like to have a child and wouldn’t until I had one. Now I just shake my head at my own naiveté. They don’t say “A baby changes everything” for nothing. A baby does change everything.
  4. Job change. Really, like the man you marry, the job you choose influences every last corner of your life. Every. Last. Corner. Once you’ve chosen, it’s easy to get stuck. Sometimes you are freed without warning (and without any say, for that matter)…angst-tinged freedom.

Of course, that feeling is quickly followed by the inevitable “Now what?” thought that follows so closely on its heels. Here’s hoping that old saying is true: When one door closes, another door opens.


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