Living Happily Ever After


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The Speech Concluded: ‘R’ is for Resilience

The original definition of resilience had to do with a material’s ability to resume its shape or position AFTER being bent, stretched and compressed: the ability to “bounce back.”

To help you bounce back, I recommend the following:

1. Reflect. Think about other challenges you’ve faced and how you successfully overcame them. Do those things.

2. Write about your feelings. Writing processes thoughts and feelings differently in the brain by putting words to them. Writing about something can change the way you view it. Interestingly, I heard about a 1994 study on job loss that found that participants who wrote about their loss 30 minutes each day for five consecutive days found work significantly faster than those who didn’t.

3. Find the lessons in your loss. Writing can help you do that, too. No matter how bad the circumstances ask, “What can I learn from this?” These lessons can help you avoid giving up despite setbacks, too.

4. Reinvent yourself. Sometimes, you have no other choice–you lose your entire life (like I did) and you’re forced to create a new one. If you aren’t forced to completely reinvent every aspect of a new life, learn a new skill, take up a new hobby, join a new group or meet some new people.

5. Move forward! The shortest way to the other side is through your challenge. Don’t be a pickle sucker. Get through your challenge and move on. And “suddenly” (no guarantee on how long it takes!) you’ll realize your smile is real–not something you’re faking for your children or the world. You’ll realize, with shock, you feel like your “old” self again. You’ll realize your new life is good, although not exactly the same, as the one you lost. And you’ll realize that you’re happy.

So…believe in wearing lipstick. Believe in pink.

Laugh, it’s the best calorie burner.

Be strong when everything seems to be going wrong.

Remember that happy girls are the prettiest ones.

Believe that tomorrow is another day. Believe in miracles.

And you’ll find yourself living your own personal one. Your “happily ever after.”

Letting Go

“Time heals what reason cannot.” (Seneca)

Tonight I had the opportunity to chat with a Colorado friend on the phone. We’ve emailed occasionally, back and forth, since I moved to Utah but I can’t remember the last time we talked. She told me I sounded like my old self and asked, “Tell me, are you really as good as you sound?”

I assured her I was.

She then said, “O.k., then tell me how you’ve done it.”

I’m not sure I had an answer for that.  How do you heal from the wounds and trauma of a very unexpected life?

In the beginning, I was overwhelmed with trying to make sense of anything and to reason through it all. Everything was of such a magnitude, and so shocking, reason alone didn’t heal me. There’s no way it could. So I have to credit my healing to time–it has been 23 months since I was thrust into a life I didn’t plan for or expect, but I’ve seen for myself that there really is something to the old adage that “time heals all wounds.”

I’ve done it through reason, time…and due to a great big miracle. It’s a miracle to me that I have healed. I remember wondering if it was possible to recover from losses like mine. I remember doubting I’d ever heal or feel whole again in my life, but I honestly do.

I think the key to recovery is this:  what reason doesn’t take care of, what time cannot heal, and if there’s anything not covered by your miracle…the rest you simply have to let go.

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” (Author Unknown)

I recommend this course of action to everyone. Moving forward is a whole new adventure in itself. At least, it was for me. It even led to falling in love, getting engaged…

O.k., so that is really all it has led to because I haven’t moved forward beyond being engaged–yet. The love update, for anyone who has been with me for awhile and to any newcomer, is that I’ve been engaged for over 9 months now! I NEVER expected that. But just in case that should change any time in the near future, I think it’s time to share some highlights of the past 9 months.

“I recorded my hair this morning, tonight I’m watching the highlights.” (Jay London)

Here we go…

The Key To Everything

“The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” (Arnold H. Glasow)

When I was 3-4 years old I learned an additional lesson for the unexpected life. It came from another feathered friend, a duck.

At the time, my family lived in Arizona on a golf course. One of my favorite activities was to visit the ponds on the golf course and feed bread to the ducks. I loved the ducks! In fact, I loved them so much I wanted one of my own. Every time we fed the ducks, I wanted to take an egg home with me.

My mom always kept me carefully away from the nests, but one day our cousins from Utah were in town visiting, and my cousin Athena and I decided that together, we were going to get a duck! We rode my bike to the pond, stealthily crept to a nest when the mother duck was swimming, grabbed an egg and pedaled home as fast as my little legs could pump! The whole way home I felt like we’d robbed a bank.

And then there was the threat of dogs. We were sure if a dog caught a whiff of the egg in our possession, the dog would be after us too! Home we raced, hearts pounding, legs pumping, dodging dogs and other dangers in the quest for a duckling. Finally, we arrived back home and I snuck a table knife from the kitchen to help us crack the egg open.

Imagine our disappointment when we cracked the egg and out came…absolutely nothing.

I was stunned! I remember wondering how an egg that was supposed to contain a baby duck actually contained nothing different than the eggs my mom scrambled for breakfast.

It was one of my earliest lessons in life. And patience. It showed me, for the first time, that as much as you’d like to, you can’t rush life or its challenges OR its blessings. How many times I have impatiently wished I could fast forward through the hard stuff I never expected to face or planned on being a part of my life, unexpected or otherwise.

Then I remember my first failed effort to attempt to do that and realize, again, that  in life you can’t always go over or under or around it. You can only go through it. And you can’t get birds by smashing eggs. You have to be patient. You have to wait for things to hatch. And you have to have faith.

“Faith is putting all your eggs in God’s basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch.” (Ramona C. Carroll)