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The Butterfly Five

3 min

From fashion cycles to moon cycles, from the cosmos to biology, cycles are always in play.  One cycle we're all familiar with is our birthday, our annual trip around the sun.

After 35 trips of my own, I realized that every five years, I go through major changes and growth.  It starts with a big shift and is defined by decisions made.  Let's go back a bit for context...

When I was 35, I closed my retail business of five years to pursue new opportunities in work and family life.  It was 2020, and a transformation was inevitable (for all of us).

When I was 30, my life changed when we welcomed our first daughter, and I opened my dream retail store.  I put my head down and went to work in both of my new worlds.  It was 2015.

When I was 25, I said yes to leaving Los Angeles (where I grew up, went to college, and began my professional life) to be with my then-boyfriend, now husband, in London and beyond.  It was 2010.

When I was 20, I spent one semester in the National Student Exchange at the University of Rhode Island.  It was meant to be a whole year, but working in fashion, marketing, and PR called me back to LA.  It was 2005.

See the pattern?

Just before seeing the pattern myself, I had read a folktale about a caterpillar girl that transforms into a butterfly woman.  The tale embraces the butterfly’s discomforts, fears, and uncertainties by celebrating her journey and newfound self.  The story was part of a book for young girls about menstrual cycles, with the butterfly symbolizing the monthly period of time when we women cocoon and then emerge to share our beauty.

The story of the butterfly’s transformation took me back to Spring 2019 (age 34).  Butterflies were a guiding symbol for me while pregnant with our second daughter.  I saw them often, and they’d follow me as if I was walking through a Disney movie.  I'm not exaggerating; it felt like heaven on earth.  There was a sense that they, and my second daughter, were ushering me into a transformative time.

Butterflies…cycles…transformation…five years…I wondered if there were dots to connect.

After a quick google for “5-year cycle,” I found myself reading this piece with a knowing feeling in my heart and a big smile on my face.  My hunch led me to numerology and learning that the number 5 represents freedom, change, adventure, new experiences, and learning from mistakes.  All spot on for how I was experiencing my personal 5 year*, 2020, despite the challenges and madness going on in the world.  I connected my dots and called this new personal cycle my Butterfly Five.

Numerology works with numbers 1-9, and each of us cycles through personal years 1-9, over and over and over again in our lifetime.  Regardless of your beliefs in things like numerology or astrology, we’ve all experienced years that pose significant challenges while others flow effortlessly. Some years make us while others break us to then later make us.

The Butterfly Five is a mid-point to learning and growing, doing and being, seeing and knowing.  We will undoubtedly trip and stumble along the way, but the beauty is in knowing that we will always get back up to keep going.  It’s part of the cycle.  Our job in it is to cycle forward, not back, in business and in life. Embrace the process.  

Now 36 years old and building off 35’s energies and lessons learned, there's no telling what changes and growth will meet me on my 40th trip around the sun. But I'll be ready. Until then, I'm keeping the butterfly close because butterflies don’t stay caterpillars; they embrace the process, spread their new wings, and fucking flyyyyy.

Let’s fly, friends.  Let's fly.

*Everyone experiences their own personal year five at different times based on your birthdate. Learn more about it here and here.


Burn baby, burn

Burn baby, burn

Ana Maria Muñoz, Author of OPEN: Big Lessons in Small Retail and Living the Shopkeeper Dream

A birthday homecoming

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