They say you should never marry someone unless you’ve lived a year with them. You need to experience every season, every month and every day with them to see how they handle life.
When I began this blog, it was the tail end of Spring and I was in such a different place. I was gainfully employed, my children were thriving (one in Kindergarten, one in Day Care) and I had a European Disney Cruise booked to celebrate my upcoming 40th. Life was good.
Before the end of summer though, things changed. Without warning I’ve heard the words that so many in this economy fear…”your position has been eliminated.” With that, the world as I knew it changed. Admittedly, there was some fun in the beginning. After all, four days later we were on our way to Disney World for a previously planned vacation, but limiting the amount of activities we did was a constant reminder that reality waited for me at home. Life was not so good.
Fall, or as I like to call it “frustrating fall,” was tough. My son couldn’t comprehend why he wasn’t with his friends 50 hours a week anymore. His behavior changed. He started acting out. I started yelling more and even worse…spanking more. He would wait all day for his sister (now in first grade) to get out of school to play with him. She wanted no part of it. Her 6th birthday party was lame at best. I said, “no” to so many things I wasn’t accustomed to saying “no” to. Meanwhile, I spent countless hours on applications that led to nothing but clogging up cyber space while my son begged me to let him play on the computer. I had to cook more. I hate cooking. Life was really not good.
Winter. Oh God winter…the worst winter possible for a five-year old stuck at home with his mom who started rigorous online courses. Sure, we went outside some, but it was way too cold and I am not a snowman builder. We might have made a snow mountain but honestly, all that snow is something I blocked out. Christmas was tough…one of the hardest so far. I couldn’t splurge on people like once before, but it was okay. The season is not about gifts. It’s about the people around you who love you through thick and thin. Toward the end of winter, something great was happening…my son and I started understanding each other and the fighting died down. Life was sometimes good.
Well, I’m back to Spring and on top of my Master’s Degree I now have two Advanced Certificates and I’m folding children’s menus in a restaurant. Let me repeat that…my job involves folding children’s menus…in a restaurant. They value me though and that’s what keeps me going. The managers are grateful that I’m part of the team. I’m respected and my ideas are appreciated. They’ve added marketing to my responsibilities and it’s going well. My son still gets antsy and cranky but I know what his triggers are so it’s easier to control. My daughter is excited for school to end and has promised she is going to help me clean.
Yes, I’ve come full circle and I’ve had a tremendous amount of ups and downs. I’ve learned many things in this past year that I’d like to share with you:
- 40 is coming. It’s not just 40, it’s any birthday you may be dreading. But thousands of people walking in the “Relay for Life” would give anything for the one they love to have one more birthday. It’s coming…appreciate it.
- I had friends who read my blog in the beginning who stopped along the way but every week, I had new friends, strangers I’ve never met, follow it. If someone doesn’t want to be in your life…let them go. There’s always someone willing to step up and fill the void.
- I never thought I’d be folding children’s menus at 40. All the degrees I have, all the experience I built up didn’t matter. You have to play the game to succeed. No matter how much you hate to play the political game of life, it’s happening…now more than ever… just play the game.
- It doesn’t matter how bad it gets, if you took a vow to love someone through thick and thin remember it before you throw in the towel because when the storm passes (and it will), you’ll want to share the sunlight with them.
- No matter how hard you try or how positive you are, there are people in this world who still suck. Plain and simple. Don’t engage them, don’t hang out with them and most importantly, don’t let them change who you are. Your inner core is worth so much more. Don’t let them bring you down.
- Just because someone tells you to write a book, doesn’t mean they’ll read it. Consider the source. Do they make good on promises…are they sincere in their words and actions? Listen to the ones you respect. Graciously thank all the others for their suggestion.
- Those you think will read your blog don’t and those who you least expect will. I promise you, there are times in your life you are going to want to give up on something. Don’t. On at least three occasions, I was about to stop writing when someone so removed from me commented that they liked a particular post. Keep writing (or whatever it is you’re doing), you really never know who’s paying attention.
- Praying works and God is good. If others don’t choose to believe this, that’s their loss. Keep praying and God will prove his power.
- Put the Doritos down. Trust me…it’s much easier to drop the chip than pick up a dumbbell.
- Wear sunscreen. In the end, choosing life over vanity isn’t really a choice.
- Good things do happen to good people. It may not happen right away, but patience pays off.
Friends…40 is here and even though I’m scared, I’m ready. I’ve prepared myself to know that life isn’t going to be perfect, but on the whole, LIFE IS GOOD!
Thank you for sharing this journey with me!