Ten Years

my family June 1986

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Since I’m a big fan of romantic comedies, whether novels or movies, it was no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed reading What Alice Forgot.

It hooked me in very quickly (the quote I used in my last post came from page 6) and held my interest not just because of the story and characters, but because of the concept of someone “losing” the last 10 years of her life. There are some interesting discussion questions at the back of the book, but the one that kept popping into my mind while I was reading wasn’t there. I often found myself wondering:

At what point in your life would misplacing the last ten years have come as the biggest shock?

Of course, I’d have gone through the most physical changes during the years between early childhood and adolescence, but other than “Hey, what happened to me?” I don’t think it would be as big a shock as the one Alice experienced. Although she went through physical changes, they were much less of a surprise than the changes to her family situation. (If you haven’t read the book, at the time Alice bumped her head, she was mother to two girls and about to be divorced. The last she remembered, she was crazy in love with her husband, and they were expecting their first child, which they imagined to be a boy.)

I had a similar shift in my own life. The above photo was taken on my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary, June 8, 1986.

Fast forward ten years:

I was no longer living in Caledon East and married to the guy in the red tie; I was living in Hamilton with my fiancé and planning our wedding for that summer. My brother had shaved off his beard and parted ways with his first wife, behind me in this photo, but was seeing the woman he’s married to now. And my mother, who was reasonably healthy in this picture (aside from some health issues she’d had for many years) had emphysema and was living full-time in a health care facility. That is a LOT of changes!

Other ten-year periods have also brought about major transitions – by 2006 I was working for myself full-time, something I never even aspired to – but none can really compare to that one. Fortunately, unlike Alice, other than my mother’s health situation, I’d have been happy with where I ended up, not trying to find a way to turn back time.

How about you? At what point in your life would misplacing the last ten years have come as the biggest shock?


Casual Photo of Janet Barclay

Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Judi on January 25, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Very Interesting comparing to your own life. I’ve read the book What Alice Forgot too and enjoyed it but should write down what has happened in my own life too. Enjoyed your thoughts.

  2. Kathy Stinson on January 26, 2015 at 1:18 am

    1974 to 1984
    During those years I’d become a mom of 2, ended my marriage, owned my own townhouse, and had just started seeing the man I’d spend the next 30 years with (and counting). I’d also left teaching and become the author of 3 successful kids’ books. And if people I’d been close to during those 10 years were to tell me in 1984 just how involved we’d been, I’d have found that pretty surprising too.
    Thanks for the thought-provoking question, Janet. I enjoyed What Alice Forgot too, but that question somehow hadn’t occurred to me.

    • Janet Barclay (@JanetBarclay) on January 26, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      I must think differently than other people. I was really surprised this wasn’t one of the discussion questions in the back of the book. There were some that I want to go back and think about, so I may not be done with Alice yet!

  3. Andrea Sharb on January 27, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Janet, my book club read that book a year or so go. It was an interesting book and I appreciated the main character’s struggle as she tried to piece together the past 10 years. I think for me the biggest shock would’ve come if I missed the 10 year period from 1987 to 1997. During that time I transitioned from college life to married life to life as a mother of twins, while making four job changes and living in five, no make that six different homes in two different states. It was a wild and crazy period in my life and I can’t imagine missing any of it.

    • Janet Barclay (@JanetBarclay) on January 28, 2015 at 7:11 am

      Great story, Andrea – thanks for sharing! My post was a fairly condensed version… I also lived a couple of places between Caledon East and Orangeville, and changed jobs more times than I can count (I did a lot of temp work back then). Now that I think of it, by 1996 I’d also lost touch with everyone I was friends with in 1986 – a situation which has since been rectified, thanks to Facebook.

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