Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Every Seven Years

A while back, an acquaintance informed me that every cell in the human body is replaced over a seven year period - meaning, in essence, that we become a new person every seven years. It turns out this is NOT the case; according to this article, different tissues in the body replace cells at different rates, and some tissues never replace cells. But according to this article, our personalities change approximately every seven years. What do you believe?

From the vantage point of the ripe old age of 51, I can look back over the years and see that my life underwent radical transformation at nearly perfect seven-year intervals. Let's travel back through time...

I was eight or nine years old when this picture was taken. I was at my grandmother's house, wearing one of my favorite outfits - a dress made by my other grandmother and a pair of knee socks - and proudly holding up one of my prized possessions, a black and white box camera. I was just starting to show signs of a weight problem that has plagued me throughout my life.

Here I am at age 14, dressed up and ready to go to my church and play organ for a friend's wedding. I distinctly remember the dress I was wearing; I felt like a princess every time I put it on. By this time I was sure that music would be the center of my life.

Now I am almost 21. I have left home, gone away to college - majoring in music - and am getting ready to move into my first apartment.

In this picture I am 22, at the dress rehearsal for my graduate piano recital. What pressure that was for a young woman who hated being in the spotlight.

Now I am 28 - married, teaching piano lessons in my home studio, and very pregnant with my first child. Since the moment he was born, my identity has been centered around my role as a parent.

Here I am 35. My two surviving children are as different as night and day, and I have just lost my third - my daughter, Mackenzie. Life began to develop a sense of urgency. I stopped teaching piano. I focused on my kids. I got pregnant again.

By the time I hit 42 I was divorced; my third son and I are hamming it up for the camera here at a cub scout event. Being single hasn't always been easy, but it is worth it. As Nietzsche said, "No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

And here I am, at age 49, after finally getting engaged and having it all fall apart, starting over once again.

Today? I am still single, still teaching piano, but now I am also working on a novel - with the crazy dream of being a published author - and trying to make a success of an online jewelry shop.

What I know for sure is that, despite what the experts say, I have reinvented myself every seven years.

The changes have been necessary to my personal growth. And I'm not finished yet.

And know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that the best is yet to be.

What are the stages of your life? Comment for another chance to win a Writers Li.P.P. t-shirt in our drawing at midnight on Sunday. Follow this blog too and you will be entered twice. Thank you for your support!

Author: Pam Asberry


Christine Ashworth said...

Oh, Pam. I am so there. We are of an age, and while my life has differed from yours in many respects, I too have undergone major changes every seven years or so.

Wow. Thank you so much for this!

AllMyPosts said...

You really look like a princess in the picture of age 14!!

yeah!! Life changes always and the personality also changes!!

with warm regards
Another Author

Julee J. Adams said...

You know, I'm going to have to go looking through my pictures too! Really, thanks. Remember at Hadley's when we joked about the Chinese blessing/curse "May you lead an interesting life"? Who would've thunk?

KendallGrey said...

I loved these pictures! I gotta say, you actually look younger now than you do in some of these old photos. Awesome!

Life is all about living, and I believe we're always evolving as human beings. I think each stage is better than the last. While there have been ups and downs, for the most part, I can't complain. Like my mother used to say, "I love my life!" Words to live by.

Megan said...

Fabulous post, Pam, and thank you for sharing so much of your life. I think the most telling statementin the post is this: "I reinvented myself." It wasn't nature or fate or an undeniable, unknowable force. YOU have been the major force in your own life, and for that (among other things), I admire you immensely.

Pam Asberry said...

It's interesting, Christine. I don't think I would have ever put it together if my friend hadn't mentioned it to me, but there really does seem to be something to this. Thank YOU for stopping by! :-)

Pam Asberry said...

Thank you, Abhishek! :-)

Pam Asberry said...

There are a lot more pictures where these came from, Julee! I am going to start putting them up on Facebook. I honestly don't remember discussing the Chinese blessing/curse, but we sure have had interesting lives, haven't we? ;-)

Pam Asberry said...

Thank you for your comment about my, ahem, aging process, Kendall. I think I looked pretty bad at both 28 and 35, and I blame childbearing for it, lol! My experience has certainly been that each stage is better than the last, which is the big reason I'm not dreading old age. And I'm trying to take steps now to insure that I will be healthy and vibrant when I get there. "I love my life!" - what a great motto!

Pam Asberry said...

It's true, Megan. Sometimes I find myself caught up in a "victim mentality," but as soon as I realize it, I take action. And now, more than ever, I'm being proactive as opposed to reactive. Thank you for your kind words.

Tami Brothers said...

Awesome idea Pam! Never thought of this and to be honest, I like the idea of reinventing one's self every seven years. I am ready for a good reinvention...grin...

Seriously, I like this idea. Like Julee, I'm going to have to go back through and look at some old pictures.

Thanks for a very thought provoking post.


Pam Asberry said...

You are most welcome, Tami! I'll be interested to find out what you come up with!