The Cycle of Life

One day you’re talking to your mom on the phone like any other day. How was your weekend? When are you coming to visit? The next day her words are slurred, she makes little sense and she sounds scared. Your mom is having a stroke and you’ll never have another conversation with her like the one you had the night before.

One day, you’re husband is complaining of food poisoning. The next day, he’s diagnosed with small bowel cancer. Your future as you imagined it is immediately shaken.

One day, your child is born, and the next day she moves into her own apartment.

One day your dad is walking you down the aisle, the next day you’re saying your final good-bye.

One day you’re the kid wondering where your next vacation will take you and the next, you’re the parent planning (and paying for) it.

One moment, your nieces are driving down a familiar road and the next moment their car literally flips over.

One day you’re the kid full of hope putting her tooth under a pillow. The next day, you’re the parent who forgot to fill the box with coins.

One day you think you’re witnessing history as you elect the first female President. The next day you wake up to a different tomorrow.

And so it goes.

Life propels us to a different tomorrow whether we will it to or not and we have no choice but to accept it. Like the egg that transforms into a larva, then pupa, then butterfly, in many ways we are the passive recipients of this immutable movement through time. And yet, as humans, we are also gifted with the freedom to shape these stages, to learn from them, and to savor the beautiful–even terrifying–moments for the lessons they teach us. Or, we can allow the path to take shape without our input. Our path is both what we make and what we make of it. We have free will (but we don’t). We don’t have free will (but we do). Look at it from whichever angle you choose, but, as my wise friend often says “Your life can change on a dime.” When it changes–trust me–you’ll be glad you called your mom to chat that evening even if you forget the exact words exchanged. You’ll be glad you voted. And you’ll be happy for the memories you share with your husband, and the time you spent enjoying your children before they were all grown up and your days grew quieter.

Change and the cycle of life are inevitable, but what you do with them is not.

Embrace change; own the good and the bad, but be sure to put your own signature on it all.

Moving day! Our daughter moved into her own apartment, just a few miles away from home.

My mom at her nursing home, post-stroke.


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