How Did This Happen?

For years, we hosted a weekly Pizza Night. On Monday nights, we ordered pizza, had company over and generally started the week off with a small party. For a few months it was even “Pizza, PBR and a Published Work,” where we traded books, drank beer and ate pizza. It was awesome.


Things changed. People moved away, children grew up and life pretty much went on. These days, Pizza Night is usually my husband eating pizza while I have a salad and our kids are at work. It’s a far quieter and less interesting affair than in the past. Last night, however, some friends who have moved away joined us for Pizza Night as a final “hoorah!” at the end of a week-long visit. LOTS of people came over to bid them farewell and enjoy some pizza.


It’s amazing how things change and how you adjust without even realizing it. Sometimes, thinking about how our weekly pizza extravaganza has become more of a time for quietly watching “Antiques Roadshow” I feel sad. Or maybe old is how I feel. Either way, it’s a nostalgic and wistful and not really happy kind of feeling.


But, during the festivities last night, I found myself missing the silence and ease of our new Monday night ritual. It’s not that I wished everyone would leave, but more that I felt relieved that it was the exception to the rule. It seems I have unwittingly adjusted to a different normal.


It’s amazing how that happens – how you can get used to, and even come to enjoy, things that seemed awful to you at a different stage of life. Or, conversely, how things you once loved can become burdensome.


My career is not at all what I ever dreamed it would be, but that’s okay, because it’s much better than anything I ever hoped for. When you can let go of any sort of preconceived expectations and begin to think about what feels right for YOU, life takes funny turns. You have to be willing to work hard, see things through and be nice to people for those turns to lead you somewhere pleasant, but choosing the proverbial road less traveled is both surprising and fulfilling.


Accepting the fact that life changes is sometimes difficult for me, but I am working hard to learn that there are almost always bright gems of happiness wrapped up those changes. It’s so easy to focus on the things that you must give up rather than recognizing the unexpected positive aspects of a new situation.


With the entire world seeing an enormous shift in where and how people work, many friends and family members are finding themselves without employment. So many people see losing a job as a huge crisis because all they can think of is the loss of a “steady” paycheck. The loss of a job can also be an opportunity to evaluate, and perhaps improve, your professional life. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur, but we could all stand to think hard about how we earn money once in a while.


Change is scary. No matter if it’s a change in income, status, housing, friendship or livelihood, when the unknown is involved, fear probably is too. The surprising, and lovely, thing is: One day you might find yourself blissfully happy and look around and think “How did this happen?”

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