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How leaving a job changed my relationships

Ms. Masson used to work as an IT program manager, and after cost-cutting measures at her company led to an increased workload, she felt burned out. She resigned from her job in March 2021 and made the most of her new free time. Mrs. Masson accompanied her 11-year-old daughter, Sadie, and her niece on a cross-country road trip; she learned Tai Chi and how to play tennis; and she reviewed her French.

In May 2021, after getting vaccinated, she launched into the single life by trying something new: Match.com. Most potential suitors, Masson recalled, sent her messages, saying something like “Hello.” And then there was Eugene Casey, who like her spoke French and was curious about her childhood. About three months into their relationship, Mrs. Masson told Sadie about Mr. Casey. “I don’t want a new dad,” Sadie said.

Mr. Casey, he told Sadie, would just be her friend. A successful ice cream outing changed the tenor of their relationship, and it wasn’t long before Mr. Casey and Sadie found something to bond with.

“They both enjoy making fun of me,” Masson said. “They are very silly together.”

WHAT IS IT WORTH IT? Ms. Masson, who returned to the workforce last December on a 40-hour-per-week work contract, Sadie and Mr. Casey recently traveled to Guadalupe Island, Mexico, and are scheduled to tour Norway in August. Much of Ms. Masson’s energy today is devoted to their relationship, a change that seemed unfathomable a couple of years ago.

“I am happy and excited about what our life together will be like,” said Ms. Masson.

No one could calm Alice Dixon like cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Even in the last months of her life, as dementia tore at her memories, her music brought the mother of three to a happy place.

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