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  • Anne Walker

Big Life Changes: Here's to sucking the juice out of life!

It's almost the last day of school for me---the LAST day of school! I'm retiring from teaching high school at the end of the day tomorrow, and I am feeling pretty ready, I have to admit. I wondered for years about how it would feel to leave what has been a defining career. Would I suffer from an identity crisis? Would I feel guilty about leaving others behind, in the trenches? Would I miss the sense of purpose that I have had every day for the past 3 decades and fall into some deep well of listlessness?


I can't speak for the coming days, but right now I feel great. Really great. And the reason for that is not even the perks of retirement awaiting me, but just the change itself. Which brings me to my topic today.


Change. It's scary. It has no true guarantees of greater happiness, better financial security, etc etc. Every time we make a life change, we are taking risks, and people who crave the warm blanket of the familiar and the safe find the concept of big change especially stressful.


I think that there really are only 2 things to remember, as you negotiate with yourself about whether or not to make a big change in your own life:


1. Remember that the life you currently perceive as safe, predictable, and comfortable is subject to the same whims of the Universe as any other life path. Sorry to be brutal, but--- Tomorrow you could lose your job, be diagnosed with cancer, suffer a terrible car accident, or discover that your partner wants to divorce... You get the idea. We always imagine ourselves to be on a safer path than we really are, so why not get on a path that appeals to you, since there are going to be risks, either way?


2. Change is a revitalizing force! It inspires hope, it spurs creativity, it enlarges our lives, it arouses instincts and strengths that we may well have forgotten we have. When you are looking at life's balance sheet, trying to calculate how much struggle a big change may cause you, take a moment to consider how much you could gain from this change.


I really understand the sometimes irrational fear of not having enough income for your needs. When you have people who depend on you, or when you don't have anyone who can bail you you in desperate times, the desire for a regular, predictable, healthy paycheque is especially powerful. But if you take a step back and really examine how much of what you make is spent on what you want, rather than what you need, might there be some wriggle room? We have become such a society of acquirers. The concept of a true quality of life is muddied for a lot of us. Perhaps your life will be more satisfying with a smaller home, fewer luxuries, home-cooked meals, and a career that you look forward to immersing yourself in every day?


I am in a beautiful moment in my life, looking forward to teaching voice to people who already love to sing, and to creating music on my own terms. I am feeling excited to try something new and to have a chance to define myself differently than I have all these years. No doubt there will be bumps in the road ahead, but I feel blessed to be able to take this road. My wish is that we all find a way to suck the juice out of our lives!


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