The following is a guest post by Joan Steffend with an introduction written by our founder, Barb Greenberg.
Are there days you feel you don’t quite fit into your life, that you have lost your way or lost your footing? Are there times you feel you are trying so hard and nothing seems to work out? Do you sometimes doubt your value?
Please know you are not alone. Someone recently told me to consider these feelings as “growing pains.” They remind you to pause and to reevaluate. In doing so, you will “grow” into a new understanding and relationship with your life. Please be patient and remember you have more value, more relevance, than words can express. May these words from Joan Steffend comfort you:
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word relevant. Was I? Am I? Could I be? Is it important?
What does it mean? That there’s a place for you.
What does that mean? That you fit in this world, perfectly, just as you are.
What does that mean? That you can let go of the struggle.
What does that mean? That life rises up to support you.
What does that mean? That you can relax.
You are relevant, even if others don’t see it or know it.
That is enough.
You are enough.
Written by Cassie Breeggmann, www.contagiousconnections.com
“It isn’t too late. Time is not running out. Your life is here and now. And the moment has arrived at which you’re finally ready to change.”- Cheryl Strayed
Change is hard but necessary if you really want to transform yourself and your life. I learned a powerful lesson about change as I was preparing for my wedding.
One night I had come home from work, to find my fiancé passed out on the couch. He had drunk two bottles of wine. I was baffled. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. I sought the guidance of my family and decided I wanted to work on our relationship. After all, I loved this man. He reassured me he could change, and we began the counseling process. Over the course of the next three months there were still instances of his serious drinking problem. Each time my patience and trust were impacted a bit more as it became clear my fiancé wasn’t ready to admit he had a problem. Though I was constantly hearing words of reassurance that he would change, and I just needed to trust him, his actions weren’t reflective of his words.
I wanted SO BADLY to believe him, and I wanted to have my dream wedding in Grand Cayman. The fear of losing this dream impacted me so much that it seemed as though I wasn’t capable of change. The timing wasn’t right, but then again it never is when a difficult decision is involved. There I was standing in the Cayman Islands, outside the gorgeous villa we rented. I felt the warm gentle breeze, and looked out at the infinity pool, the teal blue ocean water, and white powder sand. The scene was so picturesque. I stared into that pool. Infinity. Forever. Infinity. Forever. Was I really capable of this lifestyle for the rest of my life? Infinity. Forever.
A few days later, a welcome dinner was planned for our arriving guests. Instead of having a partner to share the responsibilities of the preparations, my fiancé started drinking that morning, by mid-afternoon he was stumbling around and slurring his words, and by the time our guests had arrived he was spilling his cocktails and blasting obnoxious music. I was completely embarrassed by his actions, and I realized for the first time that his words meant nothing. All of the trust and respect I had once had for him completely washed away.
A change needed to be made. Since my fiancé obviously wasn’t making any, it was up to me. I canceled the wedding. I was done.
It was a life changing moment.
Since that day I have begun to reflect on what I want in life and what changes I need to make in myself to ensure I end up where I want to be. I am transforming myself and I learning to trust the process.
Change is hard, but it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Remember you have the CAPACITY to change and that CHANGE can happen at any age, at any time. There may never be a RIGHT time to do a difficult thing, but FEAR shouldn’t be the thing stopping you from change. Now go make the change you have been afraid to do. It will better your life. It did for mine.
Written by Barb Greenberg
“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” Lily Tomlin
Divorce gives you a chance to be “specific.” Your life has changed forever, and you can create a blessing from this chaos… when you are ready! We are always creating and recreating ourselves. When I was still married my husband and I went on a road trip. Little did I know that the women I met would remain examples for me of the unlimited possibilities life offers. One of our stops was Sun Valley, Idaho. Exploring the area, we walked into a lovely art gallery filled with beautiful paintings priced way beyond our budget. The gallery manager explained that twenty years earlier, a young woman, also on a road trip, had stopped in Sun Valley, fell in love with the beauty of the place, and wanted to stay, but she had no way to support herself. So she bought herself an art book, taught herself to paint, and started this gallery. A few hundred miles later we were at a ranch in Montana, getting ready to go for a horseback ride in the mountains. One of the ranch hands shared that she had worked in high-powered corporate job and developed serious health issues she was certain were due to stress. She had visited the ranch on previous vacations, loved it, and decided to quit her job and work full-time with the horses. She was feeling better than she had in years! Then we attended a conference where two women stood out. One was the first person in her family to graduate high school. She went on to college, then law school, and became a district court judge.The second woman, also a judge, had been a single mother on welfare. Whenever I doubt my dreams, whenever I doubt myself, these women beckon to me, smiling, and nodding, and I keep on.
Written by Nadia Giordana, author of: Reinventing New Chapters in Your Life at Any Age, www.nadiagiordana.com
My confession: I’ve been divorced twice. Geeze, how did that happen? Oddly, the first time I got divorced, I was so naïve I didn’t feel fear. (There is something to be said for ignorance.) So I went about reshaping my life thinking I was doing okay and maybe I was. I was dating. That’s what you do when you are in your twenties, isn’t it?
I dated my 2nd husband for 5 years before marrying him so it was a big disappointment when our world came apart 10 years later, due in large part to outside stresses. I view him as a casualty of that breakup just as much as I was. After the divorce, we set off in our respective opposite directions attempting to rebuild and reinvent our lives. Eventually we got it done each in our own way.
During this rebuilding time period, it was important for me to focus on how I would take care of the day to day business of life before considering marriage again. This time I was scared.
Years passed and the stresses of life, work, and forging a new relationship (still afraid to marry), took their toll and I began to gain weight, a lot of weight. In time I got over my fear (it took seven years) and I married that man; we will soon celebrate out 20th wedding anniversary. It’s working out, yaay!
Eventually, I was faced with reinventing my life all over again in a different way. Remember that weight gain I mentioned a moment ago? I woke up one day with the realization I had been carrying that extra weight for a good 15 years or more. I took a hard look at myself, focused on my health and made it a priority. It took a while but I lost the 80+ pounds and in the process, adopted long-lasting lifestyle changes. My world was back in balance. That was seven years ago.
Looking back on it, the lesson that stands out the most is that no matter who we are or where we are on life’s timeline, it’s never too late to begin again as long as we are willing to face our fears and make change a priority. We are worth it!