January 3, 2012


A new year, a new job, a new season....some changes happen naturally and some we set into motion ourselves, always with good intentions. But I'm not good with change. I order the same breakfast at our local diner, I buy the same style clothes year after year; I even recreate traditions down to the smallest detail. Sameness suits me. I find comfort in the expected. And yet I long for a little shake up. A baby shake.

Is this a middle age thing? Am I bracing myself for what's around the corner? When the kids are gone, when it's just the two of us, when I can enjoy the fruits of my labor, travel the world, and rekindle a little romance with my husband? Even if I'm secretly looking forward to some of them? Change is hard and I'm holding on so tightly to my past that any change, even the smallest of changes, sends me reeling. Yet some of the most important decisions I have ever made, and some of the most rewarding aspects of my life, were the results of some very big changes. Maybe this is why I like same. All that upheaval early on in my life has made me happy with old and familiar.

I've made some pretty big changes in the way I do business in the last 2 years and I feel more are on the way. These changes have been mostly good, although I have yet to cut the cord completely and really reach out to grab another brass ring, but I've made a good start. I just wish I had made it earlier in my life.

And then, sometimes change is taken completely out of your hands.

I was in the bookstore a couple of month ago, browsing through the stacks, when I came upon a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves. I had owned a copy of this book about 25 years ago, before I became a mother and before I started to think about anything beyond what a normal 20-something woman would think about. I was more curious than anything else.

As I thumbed through the pages, I skipped chapters and chapters of information about bearing children, sexualityall of the things I've either already experience or (I think) I have a pretty good handle on. Three quarters of the way into the book I discovered that I have moved into new territory, I have a new identity, a new box: 45-65. What happens to my body now is written about in chapters outlining menopause, osteoarthritis, and "our later years". Oh boy. I had to re-read a few sentences before I was even comfortable enough to get use to my new role as "older woman". It's kind of like watching those commercials for seniors age 50+: term life insurance, retirement communities. and realizing, I'm almost there.

And if seeing it in print isn't proof enough, every hair that falls out of my head is greythick, rough, make-no-mistake-about-it-it's-grey, grey. It's as if I have crossed over into some unknown territorymiddle-age landwhere adults come to take a good look at their past and a sober look into their future. Talk of grandkids, 401ks, all mixed in with college tuition have now become part of the 5-year plan.

Change is supposed to equal growth, opportunity. All positive, all good. Yet sometimes so hard to accept.

We may not be able to do anything about the changes to our bodies but we can do something about changes of heart. We can choose to play up the positive and let go of the negative. We can choose to look beyond what's right in front of us and believe we've been given a great opportunity when change comes our way. An opportunity to shake things up. To be brave enough to make a change, no matter how small. No matter what.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you. And thank you for writing this.


Kimberly Merritt said...

Thanks, Jem. We've had a few more people agree over on Facebook.

Thanks for posting!


Anonymous said...

Change is a good thing, not easy sometimes, but good. I hope all changes your way are good this year. Love the blog.