Whether we like it or not, change is part of life. Even as small children we have to accept changes that take place around us. Maybe a sibling arrives and the rhythm and hierarchy of the family changes as everyone adjusts to the new baby. Maybe the family moves house in order to have more space for the new arrival. Or perhaps things don’t go so well and the family splits up. Whatever happens, things rarely remain the same for long.
In Britain, at the age of 5, children enter the formal education system. They start school. This can be a big change in a child’s life and may even be traumatic. Others take to it like a duck to water. Either way, their lives will never be the same again. Instead of staying at home in a familiar environment with people they know, they will be thrust into the meléé of lessons and lunches taken with large groups of other children. They will face the responsibility of concentrating, studying, and organising their thoughts in order to learn successfully.
Leaving school might seem fun after all that, and indeed it can be. Nevertheless, the change from full-time education to the adult world of work is a big one. Suddenly it becomes necessary to find a job, earn a salary and adopt the trappings of adulthood.
The next big change in the average person’s life is often marriage. Learning to live with another person can be a real challenge, though often very rewarding. However, seeing as nothing stays the same for very long it is inevitable that some marriages crumble with accusations such as ‘You’ve changed’ being hurled about. But how reasonable is it to expect someone not to change over the years?
Starting a family is usually an enormous change in people’s lives. Some say that is why nature gives us nine months to get used to the idea! Becoming a parent often gives people a whole new perspective on life. It can provide much insight into the behaviour and priorities of one’s own parents as well as changing a spouse’s behaviour towards his or her own partner.
Other important changes in life are frequently listed as ‘empty nest syndrome’ (a feeling of sadness resulting from the fact that one’s children have grown up and left home), ‘becoming a grandparent’ and ‘retirement’. Whether or not it becomes easier to change as we get older is debatable. However, we cannot deny that changes will continue to happen to us as we go through life so perhaps it is a good idea not to get too set in our ways and to stay as flexible as possible when circumstances change. ‘It’s not what happens to you in life that makes the difference, it’s how you react to it that matters’.
Quick Quiz: Read the clues below and write the solutions on a piece of paper. Then take the first letter of each answer and rearrange them to find the hidden word connected with this Talking Point.
1. Even as small children we have to __________ changes that take place around us.
2. Whatever happens, things __________ remain the same for long.
3. Starting school can be a big change in a child’s life and may even be __________.
4. __________ to live with another person can be a real challenge, though often very rewarding.
5. Another important change in life is "__________ nest syndrome".
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