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Jun. 2 2010 - 1:51 pm | 95 views | 0 recommendations | 4 comments

The Three-Year Itch

Ever feel like your life works in three year cycles?

At three, you are talking and walking, much different than a baby.

3-year-old by Philcampbell

A six-year-old has progressed into school and is learning math, proper grammar and etiquette (or so we hope.)

6 year-old birthday party by El Caganer

6-year-old birthday party by El Caganer

A nine-year-old is opinionated and coming into their own.

9 year old boy by juliejordanscott

9 year old boy by juliejordanscott

At 12, you are nearly a teenager. It is the last days of innocence.

12-year-old girl

12-year-old girl via Flickr by oxefx

By 15, you are close to driving. Most have had first loves, first kisses and think the world revolves around them.

15-year-old at her quincetta

15-year-old at her quinceañera.

At 18, legally, you are an adult. College, work, the military and other life changing decisions are in motion. You finally have a chance to vote.

18-year-old by rileyroxx

18-year-old by rileyroxx

By 21, you have experienced so much.  Legally, you can drink. Many are thinking about life after college.

21-year-old by Mickipedia

21-year-old by Mickipedia

At 24 you’re usually out of college. Some are married. Some aren’t. You’ve entered the workforce and may be on your second job.

24-year-old by Natalia Balcerska Photography's photostream

24-year-old by Natalia Balcerska Photography's photostream

When you hit 27, you usually know what you want and what you don’t. Statistically those who marry in their late 20’s are less likely to get divorced. Why? Because you have finally come into your own.

27-year-old by lassmatazz's photostream

27-year-old by lassmatazz's photostream

By age 30,  statistically speaking, three-quarters of women in the U.S. have been married and about half have cohabited outside of marriage, according to the CDC. Depending on your life path, many are in the midst of babies, marriages and careers.

30-year-old by benjamin barnett's photostream

30-year-old by benjamin barnett's photostream

It just reminds me how life evolves.

Three is a powerful number.

Sphinx and pyramid via Flickr by Butch Osborne

Sphinx and pyramid via Flickr by Butch Osborne

Everyone talks about seven or even eight, but through out history the number three has symbolized so many important things. Think of the trinity: God the father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.  Or the phrase, “body, mind and soul.” Three means equality, being balance and grounded. Many call it the divinity number. It symbolizes perfection and being complete. (See this wonderful discussion about the “Number 3″ on www.greatdreams.com.)  Think of the shape of the great Egyptian pyramids. The triangle is the strongest shape to build a structure.The Bible discusses how Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day.  There are “three jewels” in Buddhism, “three purities” in Taoism.

Photo by Hale Popoki.

Photo by Hale Popoki.

Everyone from Plato to Aristotle have referenced the number 3. Freud talked about the id, ego and super-ego while American psychologist Robert Sternberg has taught the three components of love revolve around the trio: passion, intimacy and commitment. Plus there’s everything else in our culture:  the Three Musketeers, Three Stooges, the phrases A,B,C and 1, 2, 3, past, present and future and three primary colors (red, blue and yellow). Even in a photography or art class they teach the rule of thirds to make a picture or painting more appealing to the eye. In the “Harness the Psychological Power of “3″ to Improve Communication” post on Psychotactics.com, they discuss  how the eye sees things in graphics, color and fonts and it’s importance for businesses when they are planning their logos and promotional information. It’s also important in life.

Sometimes we have no idea where things are going but it feels like life is moving so rapidly that everything slows down in Matrix like fashion so you can see more clearly.

Right now I’m going through that. Life is in transition.

For the past decade, I’ve made big moves every three years: college to Dallas, Texas to Florida, Florida to Chicago. I’m now at the three-year mark in this great city, but I can’t help but wonder what is next?

Sometimes you can just feel change swirling around you. Even if no one else realizes you are going through it, every part of your body tells you so. Everything in my life is point in that direction, in a matter of a few crazy weeks. My uncle asked me for part of my liver. A man I care very deeply about just walked out of my life (and cut off contact with a few other people we both know.)  I’m also getting ready to move and I’m not really sure where I’m going to go.  (And no, the latter two aren’t related.) Last week, a family member died. A series of other unusual events have also recently happened.

In a few weeks, I’m going to hit my 33rd birthday, so in an odd way, it makes sense. I’ve got the three-year itch.  It’s nerve-wracking. But change can be good, even when it is forced change.

I only wish I knew what was coming next. I’ve got some big decisions to make.

Photo by Sillydog via Flickr.
Photo by Sillydog via Flickr.


4 Total Comments
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  1. collapse expand

    I like this post, Dawn. It’s really great. I wish I had something more exciting to say, but I just have that. Also, I wish you much energy and joy in this time of transition. I know whatever is coming for you is more wonderful than ever!

  2. collapse expand

    Sorry about all these losses. I wonder how much power numbers have — my birthday is this week, 6/6…not necessarily a great combo.

    Change is scary because it leads us into the unknown, but some of my most terrifying leaps have resulted in the best experiences of my life, like moving to France when I was 25. I crossed the border to move to the U.S. when I was 30 and was very scared indeed because I was leaving a lot behind. It’s turned out OK.

    I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what I might have done differently if I knew in advance what the outcome was going to be. Not a great idea, I think.

    You’re a smart woman. Learning as we go gives us confidence, no?

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    I'm a Chicago-based journalist. I'm known for my quirky, off-beat features, but I've covered everything from the NFL to eating crickets in Cambodia to Chicago's best websites to celebrity profiles of the likes of Maya Angelou and Magic Johnson. My work has appeared in 25+outlets including: Travel + Leisure, Chicago Tribune, Chicago magazine, American Way magazine, CNN.com, MSN.com, Restaurants & Institutions and Boys' Life. I'm the immediate past president of the Chicago Headline Club, the largest Society of Professional Journalists chapter in the country and a former St. Petersburg Times and Dallas Morning News staff writer. My co-authored book, Armchair Reader: Chicago, about quirky, off-beat things in the Windy City, was just released this month. Twitter @dawnreiss Email me dreiss100 AT gmail DOT com (In case you were wondering, my name is pronounced R-I-C-E (Think Weiss with an R, not Reese.))

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