I find it so interesting that once you make a significant life change (most recently for me, switching jobs and job industries) other things in your life start to align with that. I guess at times this is just the universe giving you a nod that you’re on the right path or have made the right move, but I love when there is synchronicity in my life – everything just flows that much smoother. When I picked up Digging In from my “books I need to read and review shelf” (yes, I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to this section and though I read a book a week, the stack seems to be constantly growing anyway!) I expected its main theme to be about gardening. As someone who loves cooking, eating healthy and being connected to the Earth, I thought this book would be fitting for me and all of you. After reading it, I still agree with that prediction, but for a whole other variety of reasons.
In Digging In, Loretta Nyhan creates a troubling premise – the main character Paige loses her husband (who she started dating when she was in eighth grade) and for two years deals with the pain of his loss as well as the loss of the identity that she’s built as his life partner. The process she goes through to find herself and her identity again is something that I know we have all gone through. Big life events – whether positive or negative – change you. Whether you go through a divorce, go away to college, get a new job, experience something traumatic, go through a breakup or start a new relationship, who you are as a person changes with your priorities. With each of these life changes you find out who your real friends are – who you can go to when something is wrong or who you want to celebrate with when something is right. Of course, you also have the opportunity to weed out those people who don’t quite meet your expectations of a good friend – those who are selfish and place too much sarcasm and resistance on your life and identity change. As much as anything else, Digging In is a story about love and friendship.
Life stages can be tricky, especially because they are so unique for every single person. In the story, Paige is forced to undergo the stress of these changes while facing trouble at work (she works at a marketing agency #syncronicity!) and dealing with resistance from her teenage son. In addition to the new group of friends she finds and latches onto for support, she takes up a new hobby to help solidify her new independent identity. This is where the book gets fun and interesting – and you’ll get a few great recipes out of it too.
I don’t want to give too much away, but it is important to takeaway that people deal with changes in life differently – especially those that are negative and come as a tremendous shock. In light of this week’s upsetting news about Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, we must remember to check in with those around us, even the so-called strong friends. Because everyone needs support to thrive and be happy in life – even those who seem the least likely to ask for it.
Stay Classy! xx