Seven Year Cycle

Life transitions often come every seven years of our lives. 

Did you know that every seven years, every cell in your body regenerates? Essentially, you become a totally new person over the course of every seven years.

We’re in a constant state of death and new life. When I think back on my life seven years ago, very little looks the same. The same is probably true for you.

When I was on the precipice of a big change just a little more than seven years ago, a mentor of mine called it a “paradigm shift;” others call it the “seven year cycle.” She said that every seven years or so, we’d experience such a shift. We’d leave behind old routines and rhythms and begin to adopt new ones. Our identity would mature, our circles would refine.

That’s been true for me, looking backward, and I anticipate it’ll likely be the case going forward too.

If you look back on your own life and think about the ages that are multiples of sevens (7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, etc.) it can be easy to see transition points in your own life. When you’re on the front end of such a shift, there can certainly be some anticipation as well as fear. It can be hard to envision our lives without “that person” or “this job” or not living in “this town.” We can’t imagine the version of ourselves that’s to come, so we cling for dear life to the comfort of what’s known.

This can be true in marriage too. Who we married will continue to evolve and grow, just as we will. I’ve found myself surprised more than a few times in my own marriage by this, and I know my husband has as well. Just because he once believed this, doesn’t mean he still does. Just because I used to feel strongly about this idea, doesn’t mean I still do. 

When we’re living through a transition, it can be disorienting. Some transitions come gradually, and others abruptly. But these changes invite us to begin to set aside old mentalities, things and people who are no longer serving us and begin to adopt a fresh mindset.

In my own life, I’m finding myself at a point of reconciling some old wounds, things that hurt me half a lifetime ago that shaped beliefs I’ve carried along with me.

It’s heavy, hard emotional work, but it’s been remarkably healing. I’m able to do that because this version of myself is equipped to revisit those things in a way that younger versions of myself weren’t ready for. 

I’ve lived in Ashland longer now than any other place I’ve lived, nearly nine years. We’re growing deep roots here in this small town, and I’m learning for the first time that there are some friendships that naturally grow apart, that aren’t forced apart by changes in proximity and stage of life.

Through the lens of recognizing that we are changing creatures over the course of life, that helps to bring context to the changing dynamics of some relationships I’m experiencing. We are not the same people we were at the start or even in the middle.

My husband and I were discussing this very thing this week and he said, “Boy, would it be easier if your partner stayed the same person you married.” I responded, “Sure, but boy would it be boring. We wouldn’t get the opportunity to keep getting to know each other. What would we even talk about?” 


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Colleen Cook works full-time as the Director of Operations at Vinyl Marketing in Ashland, where she resides with her husband Mike and three young daughters. She's an insatiable extrovert who enjoys finding reasons to gather people.