I would told you this change would happen
On several occasions, I have heard my significant other tell a story about a turning point in his life. The concept of his story is one I had not thought of until I heard him tell it for the first time. The story is about a time when he was about age thirty. He was felling significant change in his view on his life. Not a change such as the city he lived in or a career change, but more of a mindset change and how certain possessions that use to be a must, weren’t as important. It was an event in which he began seeing the reflections of his own life begin to change.
Bob was sitting on his boat at the dock late one evening after a long day of boating. He and his buddy were discussing life. Bob was explaining how the “keeping up with the Jones'” attitude just was not as important anymore. Priorities were changing within him, realizing if he rearranged priorities and refocus, life might become less stressful.
The two friends sat and chatted over a beer. Bob said to his friend, “Why didn’t anyone tell me this change was going to happen?” Right at the time he said that, an elderly man, in his late seventies or early eighties came walking past. The man stopped, turned to look at the guys and simply said, “I would have told you it was going to happen, but you would not have believed me. Just like I’m going to tell you it will happen again.” With that, the man turned and walked away. Bob never saw that man again. It was such a brief encounter with a simple statement, but made a big impact for the rest of Bob’s life.
Passing along the knowledge.
My boyfriend says the passing man and his words left him speechless for a bit. He doesn’t get stumped or is at a loss for words very often. Bob and his friend continued talking that evening. They contemplated the old man’s words. Eventually, Bob embraced the advice he was given, then re-evaluated priorities.
Bob shared this story with me shortly after we met. I thought about the concept for some time. I too realize a change happened at some point in my life. It may not have been exactly at age thirty, but somewhere in the vicinity. I had my first child at twenty four and priorities had to change. Therefore, it could have been a year or two earlier. I know that around that age an elevated level of maturity happens and we see the world around us in a differently.
Sailing through the changing ocean’s tide.
Since that day on the dock, Bob has been sharing his encounter with people we meet. It is interesting to watch others reactions when we strike up this conversation with those thirty and above. The look on their face confirms, they absolutely understand. The same goes when sharing this message to someone in their twenties, their face tells all. A look comes most of their faces that clearly says, not only do they not get it, but they aren’t buying it either. At this point, Bob simply smiles and tells them to remember this conversation. Because one day when this change happens, they might look back on it just as he does the old man on the dock that night.
One night, I picked Bob up at the airport and we decided to stop for a drink on the way home. There was a group of friends who looked to be in their mid-twenties sitting at the bar. We sat down next to them and after a few minutes, Bob to the opportunity to tell his story. When that window opens, he will always take it. Like text book, they all just looked at us. They were trying very hard to appear as if they understood, let alone interested. One of the boys did debate back and forth, saying he had already experienced this change. After a few minutes, it was obvious he had not. The friends got up and left as we were both wondering if they really would look back on today and remember.
When we reach the age of changing, the mirror shows you a different story.
As we were finishing up and ready to leave, a couple who had been sitting on the other side of us spoke up and said, “Excuse us, we weren’t trying to listen in, but we heard what you said and we get it completely.” They told us they were in their mid-thirties and they absolutely can remember when the way they viewed life changed. We sat and talked and the difference in this conversation with the couple and the group was on two different levels of understanding.
Quite often Bob and I will find ourselves sitting and having very deep discussions about the way things work in the world. We will find ourselves talking for hours about why certain events happen when they do. What drives different emotions, how we think karma does exist and we are both firm believers that God has a plan for everyone. We all cross paths with certain individuals or someone might say a small statement with perfect timing, this doesn’t happen by accident.
I think I will always try to figure out the meaning of life.
I heard Stevie Nicks wrote a song, “Landslide” a few weeks ago while watching the America’s Got Talent finale. She was a guest performer and when she started singing, it grabbed my attention immediately. The words can have different meanings to each of us, but at that moment I thought about the old man on the dock and changes life has already presented. The lyrics below reminded me of the journey young people go through leading up the that thirty something change.
“Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life”
-Landslide, Stevie Nicks
We have discussed why those under the age of thirty don’t really grasp the meaning of his story. Today, this age group is called the “millennials”. We need this age group to have the drive to go out and conquer the world, to strive to achieve the goals they have set. Those men and women who fight for our country need to possess that special kind of bravery. They need to “live on the edge” a bit, take chances and possibly fail. They should go out and try to become who they want to be and have the confidence that they can. This generation must experience all the different stages of life, enjoy the success and learn from mistakes of the past. It all keeps our world thriving with energy.
The old guy on the dock did say, “And I’m going to tell you, It will happen again.”
The last words this old man uttered, before he turned and left the men, got me wondering from the first time I heard the story. I have thought about it often. Still trying to figure exactly what he meant and when was it going to happen? Over the last few years, Bob and I have revisited the man’s words. We agree we have started to feel this old man might be right. Personally, I haven’t been able to put my finger on the specifics.
We have gone through childhood and teen years. During adolescents, we are building courage with every step and learning the smaller lessons in life. The years being in our twenties are when we start thinking about our goals in life. We gain trust and are given more freedom to stretch our wings and move into adulthood. More responsibilities are put upon us and is when we have motivation and the spirit to reach for the stars.
When it’s time to change…
I too, have lived through it all. I became a mom, involved in the PTSA and every aspect of my sons’ schools. Having days I kept so busy, I was about to drop. the days of running boys to music lessons, ball fields and gymnasiums. We had a nice sized home on the hill in a great community. We were involved with the rec club activities as well. I loved those days and wouldn’t change a thing. However, some of those “must do’s” left my life as the boys have grown and are off on their own. Then others are not so important to me anymore.
The idea of simplifying life moved to the top of my list. Another passage Stevie Nick’s song touches me when try to see what life is bringing to me next. My sons are grown, embarking on a new journey of their own. While am still figuring out how to let that happen, yet making sure they know I am still here when they need me and think of them every single day. I am well aware it is a learning experience, you see, that’s what is so exciting about life. One day I will look back and know how this stage is done.
“Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
And I’m getting older too”
I’m embracing the next chapter.
That other change to life has been slowly approaching, especially over the last six to eight months. After becoming unemployed in January of this year, I have done a lot of soul searching if I want to continue the same path. Now the path I am taking leads to embarking on a new career. Just three months ago, I discovered the passion for writing and excited to see where this little adventure will take me as well. I have always lived in the suburbs no matter where I was at the time. However, that road too looks as though it will now turn in a different direction. Everything is pointing to a journey to set up home in the city. I view this possible adventure as exciting, an opportunity, new adventure and intimidating all at the same time.
The changes life presents, comes an unknown, which can be a little scary. The image we see of our life when we look in mirror after a change will be different. Personally, I have learned to view the past as stepping stones to learning and to see the future as a new chapter of my being. Let’s see what the next chapter holds.