seasons aren’t the only things that change…

Change is a constant. It’s the one thing that we can count on.

In junior high, I remember some of us whining to our PE teacher, Mrs. Bruce about having to run around the track asking her “Do we haaaavvvve to…?”. I’ll never forget her response, “The only things you have to do in life are pay your taxes and die.” I think she followed up with something about the effect on our grades should we choose not to run the lap. So we ran.

Weird the things that we remember. Well, Mrs. Bruce, those were impactful words at the time, but now, 50 years later, I know that you forgot something. You forgot something important. Change. Throughout our lives, we have to change. Some changes we can foresee, others we cannot. Some changes happen to us, other changes we create. Some we welcome, others we avoid. Change is a constant in life.

I remember a conversation that Glen and I had before Niels was born. We were “yuppies” at the time; living life large. We owned a house, we traveled, we ate out, we exercised (Glen ran half marathons!), we had “disposable income”, we were busy. So as we made our plans to welcome our first baby, we vowed that this addition to our life would in no way cause us to change our life. We were going to continue to live our life the way that we had built it…We were going to continue to live the good, yuppie life. No baby was going to cause us to change. (You can stop laughing now.)

The years passed and we encountered and responded to the many changes that came as our children grew, as our jobs morphed, and as other circumstances changed. We had some intense changes, such as the ones that resulted from Glen’s (near death) experience with his cancer treatment.

We weathered the change caused by our “children” moving out and going to college. We had a VERY brief empty nest period and at that time, we paused to look back on our years when we had raised our kids. We fondly looked back on all those changes that we had gone through, remembering that at the time, we thought we’d never make it “to the other side”. There was definitely some sadness as those busy years had flown by all too quickly. So much had changed over the years. We had changed over the years.

My retirement caused a major change…one that I wholeheartedly embraced. COVID’s entry into our lives quickly changed the trajectory of my transition to a life of leisure. In a nano-second, our life changed as one afternoon, three family members came into the kitchen lugging their laptops, monitors, and other equipment behind them. They “tagged” their “office” space around the house and all of a sudden, I wasn’t living the life of leisure in an empty house, I was happily back to my “mom” role planning meals and keeping the house running so that they could do their jobs. I learned to navigate through all the changes that came as a result of living in an era of COVID.

I watched my dad go through the changes caused by Alzheimer’s. What a horrible disease. I can’t even bring myself to describe the my dad’s slow and brutal transformation caused by that horror.

I’ve watched my mom weather the transition from taking care of my dad in their home to moving into a retirement community alone. When she first moved in, I teased her that she was finally experiencing the “dorm” life. There were happy hours in the hallways, dates to go to art class, lunch in the café. She was living the high life in her 90s. As the years have gone by, I’ve watched the changes that have come as Mom’s health has waned. She’s less engaged with her “dorm” friends as she can’t remember their names. She does frequently attend the nightly happy hour and she clearly enjoys herself, but it’s all exhausting.

She loves it when family visits even if she can’t quite place them or connect them to a memory of where they belong in the family tree. In June when I was there, Blair came with me. When we walked in the door, Mom exclaimed, “Joyce!” as soon as she saw me. I immediately pointed to Blair and said, “Look, Mom! I brought my daughter, Blair with me!” Mom looked at her and said, “Well, it’s always nice to meet new family!” Gulp. (We now kid Blair – telling her that she’s the “new girl” in the family.)

And today it happened. Change.

Just three months after my last visit, I walked in my mom’s door and there was no “Joyce!” She was happy to see me, happy I was there. She knew she knew me. But as our conversation continued, she clearly connected me to someone from her past…as in 70-80 years ago. A contemporary. Not her daughter.

After a few minutes she asked me where I had come from and I said, “Walnut Creek”. She thought for a moment and then said, “I know someone who lives in Walnut Creek. I just can’t think of who it is”. I said, “I think it’s Joyce.” Mom said, “Hmmmm…..That rings a bell…”.


To me, after death, change is the only other thing that’s guaranteed in life. Thanks, Mrs. Bruce for warning me so many years ago. Even if you did forget the “big” must do in life…change.

Published by gat2jdt2

60 something retirees (or semi-retirees) learning to live differently

3 thoughts on “seasons aren’t the only things that change…

  1. Oh Joyce, this is such a powerful post. As I’m reading it, tears are filling my eyes. So many moments of change that are a blessing and others that are gut wrenching. We will always have those. Love, peace and my broad shoulders will always be here for you whenever you need them.

    Liked by 1 person

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