Living Happily Ever After


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After “The End”: The Inevitability of a Sequel

“I suppose sequels are inevitable for a writer of a certain age.” (John Updike)

I guess I should have known better than to write “The End” (and not just because I’m of a “certain age”–I turned 50 this year!) But because it’s never “the end.” Life never stops changing. We can never stop pressing forward, rising above our challenges, striving for happiness and creating a happily ever after; and we certainly never reach “the end” of learning and growing. There are ALWAYS new things to learn. So I’ve come to realize I may always have things to write about.

So let me be the first to welcome you to the sequel of my unexpected life.

THE Unexpected Life.

I’m back!



Don’t Block Your Dream

“You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.” (Mary Manin Morrissey)

I’ve been living my unexpected life for 2 1/2 years now. It has caused some serious reflection on occasion. Looking back, I can’t believe all that was thrust upon me in one single, incomprehensible, dark moment. I’m astounded at all that I lost, not to mention the fact that I emotionally survived the terrible shock all of that loss and devastation. What stunning, terrible, dark days those were. I wouldn’t wish them on anyone.

But somehow, I kept going. And now that I’m through it, I think I dare ask myself again: “HOW did I do it? How did I keep going? How did I survive it all?”

My answer? Faith. And dreams.

Somehow I had the faith to dream and to believe that if I did my part, if I did all I could to work hard and to make those dreams come true, they would. Somehow I had the faith to cling to the dream of a happily ever after and to trust God—to never doubt that He knows me and has a plan for me (I just wasn’t always sure what His plan was!)—and to know that with Him, my children and I could be healed of our losses and devastation, we could dream new dreams and  look forward with faith, and endure, until the time that our dreams came to fruition. Until we got our happily ever after.

I think Fox Mulder said it best: “Dreams are answers to questions we haven’t yet figured out how to ask.” (The X Files)

My unexpected life provided me with the opportunity to dream new dreams I didn’t know I’d ever have; to ask questions I never thought I’d ask or have to ask; and there was a LOT to figure out! But it also provided an incredible opportunity for learning and personal growth. (That continues, by the way, as I stumble and bumble my way through my new adventures!)

But I’m so glad that I’ve learned them. I’m glad I didn’t quit (even though a few times I wanted to!) And all I can say is, to everyone and anyone in the midst of their unexpected life and its attendant trauma: don’t quit. Don’t give up. Keep the faith. And keep working toward that happily ever after you’ve always dreamed of and know is out there somewhere, some place…because it is.

I know it. And I have proof of it; I AM proof of it.

I lost my old life at 41 years old. In fact, I lost pretty much everything. I divorced, I returned to the workforce, I moved to Utah, and began again—entirely from scratch and in an entirely different way and life—yet here I sit. In my cute, comfortable little house in Utah. Happy and fulfilled in ways I didn’t even know were possible; my husband outside hanging Christmas lights with my boys; and I’m spending time with my wonderful new mother-in-law and anticipating the arrival of new, extended family to share Thanksgiving with, yes, I’m proof.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” (C.S. Lewis)

And make sure you do just that. Because it leads to some indescribable joys, moments of blissful happiness, and some other new but very unexpected adventures. I’ve had a few more. And as usual, I can’t believe some of them myself!

New Shoes

“I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty.” (Imelda Marcos)

It has been an unexpected epiphany for me to realize that although I was happily married (the first time) for 20 years and was quite confident in my abilities as a wife and mother, and despite the fact I thought I “knew” what marriage was and how to have a good one, I’m still learning new things!

New things about myself. My new husband. Marriage. Love. And life.

I honestly didn’t anticipate that, I don’t know why. Maybe I thought of marriage as a pair of comfortable shoes that I loved and enjoyed wearing—and I expected to slip back in to the same comfortable shoes? I guess I forgot I gave up that previous pair of shoes when I divorced. I’ve experienced for myself that remarriage is an ENTIRELY different, and surprisingly NEW, pair of shoes!

Despite the fact that between us we have nearly 40 years of marriage experience, #5 and I have stepped into a pair of shoes we’ve never worn before. They’re amazingly comfortable. In some ways, we marvel at how comfortable they feel after just three months of (mostly) wedded bliss. Yet there are moments that remind me I’m in a NEW pair of shoes.

Like every time I learn something new. (Which occurs pretty frequently as said “learning opportunities” seem to take place at least weekly!) Things I’ve learned right out of the (shoe)box include learning to live with someone new (aka. put the toothpaste tube cap on tight, please!); what it’s like to be married to someone tidy, who helps with the cooking, dinner dishes, household chores, laundry and making the bed; all about the reality of “blending” families (LOTS more on that coming soon!); and how to be married to someone “new.” Honestly, I’ve been shocked at all I’ve learned. And occasionally I wonder about the fairness of it all–having to start over and relearn everything I thought I already knew (I just knew it in relation to someone else) when I’m this old!

I believe old dogs can learn new tricks, #5 and I prove that almost every day; it’s not always easy. But it’s worth it. Not just because we’re in love and committed to our marriage, but because, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” (Attributed to Harry S. Truman)

And I like to think it all helps keep me young. “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” (Henry Ford)

I never knew my unexpected life would include a fountain of youth: Remarriage.