I recently learned that your body regenerates all its cells in 7 year cycles, meaning your body has shed and grown all new cells making you physiologically a brand new person from who you were 7 years ago. I had that thought stuck in my head when I was backpacking around Santa Cruz Island last weekend for a Kelseycation [if you haven't been to any of the Channel Islands yet, go! They're about an hour boat ride off the coast of Santa Barbara and it's like another world since the plant and animal life evolved in isolation].
I started counting back to what I was doing in life 7 years ago, in 2010. I was 24, living in Phoenix, Arizona, coming out of a 4-year relationship, and working as a realtor right after the real estate crash in 2008. I was totally unsettled but also in that space where the possibilities are endless and I was beginning to plan where I would move and what I would do when my real estate license was up for renewal the following March. One Friday afternoon while I was at work, my brother called to say that my dad was in the hospital.
It was the start of the most confusing, chaotic, and intense weekend of my life as we went from learning that my dad had overdosed on prescription medication at his desk at work to learning that he was brain-dead and on life support to learning that it had been intentional and he'd left a note and finally to listening to the doctor explain that we as a family had to make the difficult decision to take him off life support. It froze me, totally taken off guard and unprepared for that amount of pain, and I mostly felt numb in the 6 months following until I moved back to Oregon to be close to my family.
That weekend changed my whole life, almost like a shock to the system that takes you completely off the course you were on. A lot of good things came from being derailed, like deciding to move back home when I swore I never would, finding strength that I never knew was there to do things I never thought I could do, and gaining a clearer perspective on life, now better able to understand that nothing is ever final or permanent except death and we'll all face it eventually.
While I was hiking through the canyons last weekend, I was thinking about how the past 7 years have been full of changes, moments with beginnings and ends, start lines and finish lines, growth and death, just like the cells that make up the body I'm living in. Every small change drives you forward until 7 years go by and suddenly you realize that you've become a different person from before. If cellularly you're a brand new person, then there's nothing really keeping you besides thought patterns and habits. If that's the case, I'm back to where I was 7 years ago - Physiologically, a new person with endless possibilities ahead.