New Chapters

As we prepare to leave town and begin our next chapter in life, we’ve been really fortunate to have opportunities to visit with friends and reminisce about past experiences.  Inevitably, these meetings end with extra-tight hugs, maybe some tears, and wishes for peace and success in the future while suppressing the stubborn thought that this may be the last time we are in the same room together.  It is a gift from the universe to have the opportunity to do this, because sometimes life can deliver a profound blow with lasting changes while preventing an opportunity to prepare.

It goes without saying that our next chapter is a rather monumental event.  We are intentionally going homeless – or at least address-less – for the foreseeable future.  We’ve been preparing for more than a year both physically and emotionally, but it will still be a transition.

But as we spend time with our friends, we realize how important all new chapters are in life, and how we should take special care not to minimize or even ignore them.  What may seem like no big deal to someone may actually be life-changing for someone else.

In our modest circle, we have a friend who has taken the enormous plunge of starting her own business.  That is a huge new chapter in her life, and we could not be more proud of her!  We have another friend who, after loving and performing on her musical instrument for most of her life, has made the difficult decision to set it down for awhile because of health reasons.  As sad as that may be, she is filled with the positive energy that something good can only come of this change.

But what about other new chapters?  A new pet or losing a beloved one, a new car, losing weight, a different hair style, children starting school for the first time in the fall – heck, even the fact that summer vacation is upon us and those hardworking teachers and students will now live unbound by the strict schedules of school, even if temporarily.  These events should not be quickly dismissed or undervalued.

Some chapters can seem temporary (breaking a bone) but may create lasting results (discovering a new hobby).  It’s important to really feel, experience, and value those changes.  Even if the change is because of a negative situation, it is important to believe that something positive can be gained in the future.

I try not to forget that everyone with whom I have had some type of interaction, whether personal or work-related, long-lasting or very brief (e.g. a store clerk) can have an impact on who I am.  That will continue to happen once we head out.  And this is the thing that I consciously work on remembering, because it is not easy:  even if there is someone who, through circumstance, is a source of negativity in my life, it is my choice as to how to use that impact; I can allow it to remain a negative influence on me, which would serve no purpose whatsoever, or I can figure out a way to learn and grow from it, in which case I may have actually used that source of negativity to create something positive – or at least create a positive change in myself.  And I take those changes with me in whatever new chapter I embark on.

New chapters help us appreciate and understand life.  They make us take inventory of the past while we anticipate the future – all the while never forgetting the present, of course.  And whether you experience one that is a major transition or one that makes you see an old situation in a new light, embrace that new chapter and benefit from it.

(This is the first post in this category, Musings.  We are not trying to be overtly profound, pretentious, or preachy.  But sometimes you just have to stop and think; and then sometimes you want to write down those thoughts; and then sometimes you think that maybe someone else may find it interesting to read.  That’s all.)


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4 Responses to New Chapters

  1. Mary says:

    Nicely written. Not pretentious or preachy at all. It is profound, but that’s okay. I like profound.

  2. Gail O says:

    Thanks, Joe, for sharing your musings. Don’t ever apologize for it. I feel honored to receive them. It was great to see you and Erik at The Independent, and wish you both well. My mother has a saying: “Everything works out for the best”, and she’s right. Keep those musings coming!

  3. Alice Williams says:

    I think your musings are important and pertinent to most of us. When I went through some difficult changes my favorite saying became “change is inevitable, growth is optional.” A good friend (who has gone through some horrendous “changes”) told me this week that he thinks the most important quality a person can have for survival is flexibility. So, may you always be flexible, regardless of the situation you encounter.
    Keep writing!

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