Monday, April 28, 2014

7-Year Life Cycles

This is a deeply personal post... about transitions, acceptance, and finding happiness.

I recently read an article about how we humans go through 7 year cycles in our lives. I became completely fascinated by this concept, and I've been reading more about it.

I find such comfort in Cycles... the seasons, the tides, the phases of the moon, etc. It calms me to think that everything has a natural rhythm. This "Life Cycle" concept speaks to me. Know how sometimes you read something and you just think to yourself, "Oh, YES! that's IT!!!" Well that's what happened. I realized that my life really did fall into pretty distinct 7-year cycles. They have built upon each other, one cycle sort of "preparing" me for the next. The last 7 year cycle, in particular, was SUCH a crazy ride and such a transformative time for me. I ended that cycle in a completely different place than I began. I feel now that it was a time of enormous growth and lessons to be learned, which prepared me to begin my current 7-year cycle.

When I turned 35, in 2006, I was married, with three beautiful children, ages 6, 4 and 18 months. I was a full-time, stay-at-home Mom, and I was loving every minute of it. Also, I was an artist, selling my work on Etsy and at Art and Craft shows. I did some theater... mostly children's theater, so I could have my kids with me. For the most part, I loved my life. The only downside was that my marriage wasn't going so well. My husband and I were pretty much living completely separate lives... I had my life with my kids and my art, and he had his life with his work and his theater stuff, and there was very little crossing of the two. It just wasn't at all how I imagined married life to be. We tried, and there were brief periods where we really made an effort, but it just came down to the fact that we were very different people, with VERY different life goals.

Thus began my last 7-year cycle.

By 2007, when I was 36, my marriage was really crumbling, and we moved to a new house, in an effort to "fix things." By 2008, my marriage was beyond repair, and we began a long and painful separation process. By the time 2009 rolled around, the financial toll of both the move and the separation left me in massive debt. I was struggling to find my way in the world as a single mom. I was working hard, trying to support myself and my children and continue to pay for the house that I really couldn't afford to maintain, while still trying to homeschool the kids. It was really, really hard. Although I knew that ending the marriage was the right decision, I still mourned the loss of the parts of my life that I had really loved.

There was one positive thing to come out of 2009, which is that I met The Man, and we started a beautiful relationship that is still going strong five years later. Still, I was pretty much in survival mode at that time. I focused my attentions on trying to just provide for my family while developing this new relationship. I felt like I was juggling so many things and not doing any of them particularly well. Over time, The Man and I have worked together to find a better balance. We're still working on it, but we've come a long way.

This cycle began to draw to a close in 2013, when my kids' dad, my former husband, lost his battle with cancer. That traumatic event made me take a good hard look at my life. It changed me in profound ways.

So now, at age 42, I am at the start of a new cycle. I'm continuing to nurture the parts of my life that bring me joy. I'm consciously working on changing the things that don't. The last cycle has paved the way for this one, and this cycle will pave the way for the next. I've learned from my mistakes, and I know that I will continue to learn from them. I have perspective. I have Peace.

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