This year, fall is feeling like more of a beginning to me than an end . . . . and it’s all because of what I’m observing around me these days.
More and more people writing New Chapters. There is no end to the beginnings taking place in people’s lives. And I find it all very interesting…
- Two of our friends have new puppies.
- My girlfriend is experiencing her first September out of the classroom after teaching for almost 20 years.
- Another is facing the beginning of decline for her aging parents.
- One couple purchased a microbus and is planning a vagabond trip to wherever they fancy, getting there when they get there.
- Parents of a college bound student realize the ground under their feet is experiencing a seismic shift. They never anticipated this day coming quite so soon.
And then a line I’d written down in my little red journal popped out at me: A transition is an invitation to live a bigger life.
It’s at the heart of the latest change in my life these days. We are spending less time in Florida this season, opting for another winter in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
The Invitation Awaits
It gets seriously cold in the Tetons. And the snow? Well . . . it’s why skiers head to the mountains.
And you can’t ski in Florida.
We continue to enjoy our time and especially our friends in Naples. We have no intention of cutting ties there. But what we’ve come to realize is that we miss being around our kids who are spread all over the country. We can’t complain; they’re in good jobs, pursuing their careers, busy with their own lives.
So we created an opportunity to shrink the distance between all of us…and the answer has a lot to do with the mountains.
Our kids grew up skiing together. It’s how we spent family vacations and spring break. When Dave and I were married, our honeymoon was spent in Colorado. Skiing. With four kids. We figured we all got married so we all got to go on the honeymoon too.
If our kids had played golf or tennis the way they ski, there’s no doubt they’d have been thrilled to visit us in Naples. And they did. Occasionally.
But given the choice to lay on the beach or strap on the boards, nine times out of ten they’d opt for the latter.
A New Chapter Emerges
So it’s another new Chapter for us too. A transition from flip flops to ugs. Cashmere instead of cotton. Ski poles instead of golf clubs.
But it’s not just those things. It’s an invitation to a new experience.
And then I read and re-read that line: Transition is an invitation to live a bigger life. It’s not about the cold or the boots or skiing.
Change is inevitable. Sometimes it’s unpleasant, like when we see age-related illness or the challenges our parents face. It’s the road map of lines on faces that used to be smooth. The twinge of arthritis in fingers and backs. It’s hair loss and bifocals.
Those are the physical signs of aging and change.
But there are also people barely in their third decade who are already “old”. Not physically . . . but mentally. They are close-minded and stuck in a routine, afraid to break the mold.
Most days I look back on myself and think, “I’m younger now than I was 40 years ago. ”
Welcoming in the Unknown
I like to think of change as refreshing. Another start. A way to keep ourselves from falling into the same routine day after day. An unwritten Chapter. An invitation to a bigger life.
Do I want a puppy? Not today. But I see how thrilled my friends are with their new four legged bundle of fur. Who doesn’t remember the absolute feeling of joy experienced with a puppy?
Is it scary sending a kid off to college for the first time? Absolutely. And sometimes you’re not as scared for your kid as you are scared to realize a major part of your job as a parent is finished. And suddenly you’re faced with filling that space with something else. But what?
Ending a successful career and not writing lesson plans or waking to an alarm clock is something my friend is loving these days. But she also misses her teaching friends and the students whose lives she influenced every single day. There are trade-offs. And also opportunities. To travel. To grandparent. To pursue those hobbies she was always going to get to some day. And her some day has arrived.
A few years ago another friend of mine threw herself a wonderful going away party, packed up and moved far, far away. Before she left, we had dinner together and she said, “I’m ready for a change. I’m anxious to meet more people. See where life takes me in another part of the world.”
I’m not sure I understood what she was telling me at the time, but I do now.
Change is what keeps us on our toes. Makes life interesting. Keeps us open-minded and ready for the next awe-inspiring moment.
So wherever life wants to take you, just start down that path. And embrace the great moments that are to come.
What changes are you facing in your life right now?