2012: A Year of Change

Michelle Sandlin - New Year's Eve 1985

Michelle Sandlin – New Year’s Eve 1985

To say that 2012 was a year of change seems like an understatement, at least to me.  This year has been more punctuated with change than any other year in recent memory.  But alas, change is good…right?  I like to think that it is.

So let me recap it for you.  Don’t worry, I am not going to hit on every single change from this year, but I will talk about the big ones.

The start of the year was punctuated with the wedding of my daughter, which was followed by her moving out of our home and into one of her own.  She was the last of our two children to get married and move out, which left me and my husband with a strange reality.  After 24 years of raising our kids, and living in our house more on their terms than our own, we were finally empty nesters.

Although I felt a little wave of melancholy at first, that was soon replaced by the calm and quiet that bellowed through our house.  “Hmm, this is kind of nice,” I thought to myself. And then it all started to sink in.  We had not just become empty nesters, we had successfully reclaimed our house!

As I looked around the newly vacated rooms, I was struck with the overwhelming sensation that my house no longer had to conform to the family needs, and my mind raced with thoughts about how I would be able to re-purpose some of the rooms.  I started out with the cliche idea of getting a pool table for the game room.

Then the second realization hit me.  These were more than empty rooms; these were opportunities. Now that the kids were grown, I could selfishly and without feeling guilty, shift my focus back to me and my husband and living our lives again as a couple.  My primary duties of raising my children and all of the responsibilities that came with that, were no longer required on a daily basis. Cool!

Michelle Sandlin: Drummer

Michelle Sandlin: Drummer

This was indeed an opportunity.  And to celebrate, I needed to do something different.  I needed to do something for me. I needed to take a chance on something. It was time for me to pick something that I had always wanted to do, and just do it. No excuses! So, I thought about it for all of 5 minutes, and the answer came pounding back at me. I was going to learn how to play the drums.  I had always wanted to, but never pursued it.

So pursue it I did.  The very next day I scheduled my first drum lesson.  Fast forward  one month later, and I bought my drum set.  No, we would not have a pool table in the game room.  Instead we turned the game room into a music room, with my drums on center stage.

Then, what started out as a “let’s see if I can do this” kind of moment, quickly turned into my new passion. (You can read all about my love of drumming as I weave it throughout this website and on my Facebook page). As it turns out, I seem to have a bit of a talent for it, which is even cooler!

OK, so now, finally after all these years, I am following my dream and drumming.  All is good! But wait, there’s more…

About a week later, we were faced with another reality.  The job that my husband had was project based, and that project would soon be completed.  That translated into the abrupt realization that he would have to find a new job, and fast!  No worries! Change is good…right?

Then, a couple of months later, something else very unexpected happened.  While my husband was in the throes of his job search and career changes, I was approached about a new career opportunity.  I wasn’t looking to make a change, but this particular opportunity had my name written all over it. Oddly, just one week after I accepted my new position, my husband was offered a new job as well.  So, there we were, both facing career changes within a week of one another.  It was a little scary financially speaking, but that was another benefit of being empty nesters.  Our expenses had gone down dramatically after my daughter moved out of the house.

Both of our new jobs had one very interesting thing in common. We would both be working from home. OK, time to re-purpose a couple more rooms to accommodate two new office spaces. Fortunately, he works downstairs and I work upstairs, so it all “works.” As for me, I have always wanted to be able to work from home, as I thought that I could be much more productive there, and I was right. But there are some added benefits to this welcome change.  In general, I feel much more relaxed, less stressed, suffer from fewer migraines, and I am way way way more creative than I have been in a long time.  These changes may all be coincidences, but they are nonetheless real.

Although the premise of this blog post is a year of change, in retrospect, 2012 was a year of new beginnings.

Michelle & Kenny

Kenny & Michelle 1986

The photo that appears at the top of this blog post was taken on New Year’s Eve 1985.  The significance is that it was taken on the final day before 1986…another year marked by huge change and new beginnings.  A couple of weeks after that photo was taken, I announced to my family and friends that my boyfriend and I were getting married.  I actually already knew it when the photo was taken (You can see it in my facial expression), but we had decided to keep it our little secret for a few weeks before sharing the news with the rest of the world.

The photo just above of the two of us was taken some months later. I don’t recall if it was before or after we got married, as that whole year seemed to be without stops.

On a completely different note, I need to buy a new toaster.  As an empty nester, I am thinking that I can go with a 2-slice toaster now instead of a 4.  What do you think?

As always, I welcome your comments. Please let me know how 2012 treated you.

5 Comments

  1. Always go with the 4 slice Toaster. The kids might be out of the house, but thats not to say two people will never want toast in your house at the same time again :~). Who really wants to be hassled with toasting more than once.

    2012 was great year for productive positive change, with an even more exciting 2013 around the corner. Think of the things that could surprise you next year, and they probably will… There is a bunch of good stuff to come :~)
    You Rock the Casbah Michelle!

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