I recently read this book titled Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook [it was a cute, fun read, the second book I’ve read by her and I’d recommend it], and she says that every seven years you become a new person. To me this means you have a life changing event, or are faced with a decision that may altar your current state and makes you really dig down inside yourself to see who you want to become. It made me think about my long life of 26 years to see if I agreed with her statement. And to some degree I do. I mean it’s only natural, I don’t think it’s very possible to go through life with no changes, either physical, emotional, personal, etc. But every seven years? Why seven? Don’t things happen every day that make you stop and think and sometimes even change you without meaning for it to? So I thought about it some more and thought maybe she’s just referring to events that we mean to happen, or choices we choose to make that transforms us, allows us to shed our skin and grow a new layer. Either way it’s a very interesting concept to think that every seven years you can become a new person. It’s almost like a cat having nine lives, every seven years you get to start over.
That’s when I realized I have experienced multiple changes in my life, but instead of every seven, it occurs every four years. For example:
Birth to Kindergarten: As a youngin’ I guess you could say I was a little problematic. I tended to find myself in time out very often [though I was never deserving of it of course]. I lied about my name and age to any kid I met on the playground [maybe more on that in a different post], I had an opinionated mind of my own, and I was Miss Bossy-Pants. I know this is more like six years, but I figure years one and two don’t matter much. So after four years of that I moved to big kid school…
1st grade – 4th grade: By now I had just turned six, old enough to know about consequences, I just acquired a new baby sister and I was ready to start fresh. I had moved to big kid school where I’d have homework and teachers and switching classes to deal with. Some things didn’t change. I was still bossy, especially when it came to my sister because I thought I was her mom. I had a slight lying issue to my 1st grade teacher, and I still said things that sometimes got me in to trouble. However, I had started to grow up a little. Instead of my teachers telling my mom I was mischievous, she would tell my mom I was kind and caring about the others in my class, and how I would always be the first to raise my hand to help out. After four years it was time to move to middle school…
5th grade – 8th grade: Same school, different building. But to us kids moving from lower school to upper school [as my fancy private school called it], we were scared. We were the little fish in the big pond. Classes were harder, alliances changed, responsibilities became more. At only 10 years old, I could see this happening, and I could see that I was changing right along with my friends. I started to settle down more, I wouldn’t speak out and draw as much attention to myself. This was partly due to me being a competitive gymnast and these were the years that I was most dedicated to my training. I pretty much lived, breathed, slept gymnastics. It gave me a discipline that before I was too young to appreciate. After many tears at graduation, it was time to move on to High School.
High School: Looking back at the beginning of high school I realize that I was only 14 years old. At the time I felt like I was so old, but in reality, 14 is still so young. I enjoyed my high school years very much. I went to a terrific school and met the best of friends, all of whom I’m still friends with to the day. It taught me a lot about myself, as I struggled with some health issues, and about who my true friends were and the pain that comes with figuring that out. I became more involved in my school work and activities, and it is here where I found out what a control freak and perfectionist I am. Gone were my childish ways of lying and even my bossiness took a back seat to my desire to work with others [though my sister might disagree]. I learned that I had it in me to be who I wanted to be, do what I wanted to do. I hardly fought with my parents, was never grounded, and knew they trusted me to make the right decisions. And I know they were very proud of who I became as I walked across the podium at my high school graduation fighting back tears, both scared and excited as to what adventures were ahead of me.
College: After four years of high school I embarked on college [Villanova University] a bright eyed girl ready to take on the world! At first I was skeptical because I already had everything I wanted at home, but it didn’t take me long to adjust to college life and I realized that there was so much more out there. I joined clubs, a sorority, actually paid attention during class, made another bunch of really great friends, met my wonderful [!] boyfriend Kevin, all while growing up and trying to figure things out for myself. No one wants to leave college, but I think by the time I graduated I was ready to start a new chapter in my life. I learned all I could in my many years in the classroom and I was ready to learn out in the real world.
Post College – A month ago: I moved back home after college because 1. I had no job yet and 2. I wanted to start saving my money. I wanted to take the summer off since I figured it would be my last free one to enjoy, and found a very good job at a very good company in the fall. In New York City. My commute was just about two hours each way. And I did that for four years. The one thing I can say about my past four years is that working in the city has really hardened me. I used to be such a sweet, nice girl, only letting my attitude peak out in dire situations, but after just four months that girl was gone. I lose my patience when someone walks too slowly in front of me, I stick out my elbows and push my way through crowds, and the young opinionated mind of my own has returned. Though I’ve come to realize that it is A-OK to be like that, you need to have enough confidence to speak your mind, but unlike my 5-year-old-self, my 26-year-old-self knows when to open my mouth and when to clamp it shut. And I know just how far to take it.
A month ago – Present: So after four years of living at home, me and Kevin have decided to move out together. This embarks the start of my next four year cycle and I expect it to be a pretty interesting ride.
I’ve made six changes in my life, each at the four year mark, I’m not sure that this will continue for the rest of my life, I mean there’s really only so many different things I can do, but I’m excited to see what happens in four more years. Each time I’ve started a new phase in my life, I was able to learn and grow as a person. All of my past experiences have shaped me into the person I am today [whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I’m not sure]. And it’s true, no matter if it’s four years, seven years, two years, ten years, but there will be times in your life where you are faced with an event that changes you somehow. I don’t know think I’d say I’ve transformed into a completely new person, there’s still the same Lauren in there that I was when I was little, but I’ve been faced with new challenges and experiences that have allowed me to decide who I want to be.
How about you readers? Any cycles in your life?