I realized the other day that not only we were into a new year, but also a new decade. I have lived seven decades and one year. This past decade has been one of great changes for me. I went to my computer to look at photos since my Mac can allow me to look at each year of photos. This quick review has gone on for three days, and I’m not done yet. There are a lot of photos taken and scanned over the last 10 years. I think of myself as a newlywed until I realize that the most of this decade I have been with Dennis. How time flies. Not just getting married (something I never expected), but the travels. I have seen much of the United States this past decade, and even a few countries in Europe and the Caribbean. There are a ton of photos of time with my grandkids—swimming, overnight parties, and trips. There are photos of family and friends at our home. Also during this decade I lost a dad, a sister, and one of my very best friends. Reviewing these photos brought all kinds of feelings. One of the things that really stuck out to me is the word change. I remember years ago a work colleague made a comment to me that I always seemed to reinvent myself. Reviewing these photos reminded me that not only did I change, but my surroundings changed also.
I thought it might be fun that instead of talking about change, that I would show you change in my life and surroundings by showing photos. I would call it before and after photos, but some are probably before, later, and after still to come. So her goes:
This is me before and after. Not much change except a bit of aging. I suppose that is a process that cannot be stopped. These are both unretouched photos. Ugh!They were young children, and are now young adults. I love that I can relate to them as young adults, but I miss these cute and funny little kids.
My home in the St. Louis area changed. It is amazing how changing a floor, countertop, and stairway spindles can give a different look to a home. I had that home built in 1999, and moved out when I married Dennis in 2013.Here is how the outside looked, and then the transformation to what it looks like today. Dennis allowed me to put my touch on it. We repainted the interior together. It was frightening to see Dennis on a tall ladder to cut in at the ceiling at 20’ above the ground. Once again, only the floors and countertops were the big change. When I was a kid I was messy. I must have been really messy, because as a teenager my dad told me I could never get married unless I cleaned my room. When I got engaged and called my best friend to tell her, she asked me if I cleaned my room! I recall telling her that my dad was probably glad to get me and my messy room out of the house. The funny thing about that is that as I have matured, and clutter really bothers me. It almost makes me feel claustrophobic. I need clean lines and a reduction of “stuff” to not feel overwhelmed. I have learned over the years that less is more—at least for me.
In the last ten years I have changed, not only in appearance, but also on the inside. I have more confidence than I ever had. Maybe I no longer feel I have to prove myself to someone, to be loved, to be valued in the work I do, to love and value my family and friends. I have grown in my faith, and can see how the challenges I had in the past have made me a more loving compassionate person, and also ever more grateful for God’s loving grace of holding my hand and bringing me through some very tough circumstances. I have moved from having a career in human resources to being retired, occasionally dipping my toe back into the field, but doing so less and less these days.
As for all of us, it has been a decade of ups and downs. It flew by faster than I could ever imagine. By the time we end this decade, which will probably move at warp speed, I will be 81, God willing. I look forward for this decade to be one that I can remain relatively healthy. I say that because I have learned that once one turns 70, the wheels start falling off. I will do what I can to keep the wheels in place and the engine running! I will see grandchildren find their careers and their life partners. I hopefully, sometime later in this decade, get to meet some great grandchildren, and watch my sons become grandparents themselves. I know that this decade I will lose some more family and friends. That is always difficult. This decade I want to lean into my faith in Christ even more. After all, being in his presence gets closer every day. I want to be prepared!
I wish for you a decade of love, joy, peace, and contentment. I wish for you to let go of what is not important in the scheme of things, and embrace your future, whatever it be, full steam. May you look to the future with optimism no matter the circumstances. Happy New Year in 2020 and beyond.