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How Quitting a Job Changed My Relationships

Ms. Masson worked as an IT program manager and, after cost-cutting measures at her company brought on an increased workload, found herself feeling burned out. She quit her job in March 2021 and made the most of her newfound free time. Ms. Masson chaperoned her 11-year-old daughter, Sadie, and her niece on a cross-country road trip; learned Tai-chi and how to play tennis; and brushed up on her French.

In May 2021, after getting vaccinated, she threw herself into the single life by trying something new: Match.com. Most potential suitors, Ms. Masson recalled, messaged her, saying something to the effect of “Hey there.” And then there was Eugene Casey, who like her spoke French and was curious about her childhood. About three months into their relationship, Ms. Masson told Sadie about Mr. Casey. “I don’t want a new daddy,” Sadie said.

Mr. Casey, she told Sadie, would just be her friend. A successful ice cream outing changed the tenor of the relationship, and it was not long before Mr. Casey and Sadie found something to bond over.

“They both enjoy mocking me,” Ms. Masson said. “They’re very goofy together.”

WAS IT WORTH IT? Ms. Masson, who returned to the work force last December with a 40-hour-per-week contract job, Sadie and Mr. Casey recently took a trip to Guadeloupe, the Caribbean archipelago, and are set to tour Norway in August. Much of Ms. Masson’s energy today is dedicated to her relationship, a shift that seemed unfathomable a couple of years ago.

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

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

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

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