Hey there. Remember me?
Hi again dear friend –
Sorry to have been MIA for so long. I wish I could tell you that it was because I was doing some sort of exciting, “Eat, Pray, Love” – like travel adventure or, that I’d won the lottery. Sadly, the reality is far less glamorous. You see it’s just that life, some of the harder, suckier parts of life got in my way. In truth, for a time it caused something of a “full stop”. But the good news is, thankfully, things are way better now! I’ve dusted myself off and am upright again, plowing full steam ahead into a new chapter and armed with a whole lot of lessons learned – some of which, if I’m being honest, I wish I never had to learn in the first place. Nevertheless, here we are. So, you might consider this a kind of “postcard from the light at the end of the tunnel” moment – even if it’s well, just a smallish LED light bulb light, hanging from a cord and swaying back and forth with the breeze. But, a happy, hopeful light all the same.
And so, what exactly happened over the past few years you ask? Let’s see, I had a bout with cancer and a divorce after more than twenty-five years of marriage. There has been loss, of special people, pets and personal possessions (in the wake of a hurricane). There’s been a cross-country move and, a crescendo moment when one of my otherwise healthy children flatlined in front of me setting the stage for what became a surreal and devastating health crisis that culminated with a lifesaving organ transplant.
I know. It’s ridiculous. I can hardly believe it myself. And for a long time, I didn’t want to talk about it – at all. Frankly, I found it more than a little embarrassing. I imagined that if people knew all that I’d been through they’d recoil in horror and think there must be some sort of weird, black cloud of doom following me around. With time, I’ve been able to move past that embarrassment but honestly, the thought of sharing something so deeply personal invokes for me the kind of cringyness and fear that I can only compare to being told to strip naked and run down the street in broad daylight, sober, during a quarantine, when everyone’s home and probably also outside. Ugh. The level of vulnerability and exposure required to pull this off is enough to put me over the edge. Of course, (intellectually) I realize that I need to accept that it just is, what it is. Some bad things happened, but these things don’t define me. Hopefully, I’ll pay attention to what it has to teach me and be able to use that knowledge to be a better version of me in the future.
As I think about it, there have been a bajillion life-lessons learned already. Here’s one. I no longer care (most of the time) if people judge me for any of this. It just feels like something I ought to talk about because, like it or not, it’s real life and real life can be unimaginably hard. But as I now know from experience, we can do hard things. Even when those things sneak up on us from behind like an ocean wave that crashes into you with such force that it knocks you off your feet. Then, before you can catch your breath another wave barrels over you. And then another. Causing you to toss and tumble and wonder, which way is up?
I know the exhaustion, overwhelm and panic of those moments. As a result I feel a responsibility to share with you what I’ve learned with the hope that maybe there is a little nugget of info in there that will help you as you make your way toward the light at the end of your own tunnel.
If you’re a long-time follower of my blog you know that my previous posts had been a way for me to share the things I’d come to know about business, marketing and leadership from years of professional experience. My hope and intent at that time had been to help people to be better, more successful versions of their professional selves. And, in the absence of the events of the past few years, I’d probably still be writing and obsessing about those things.
Now however, I find that I see life through a slightly different lens and as a result future posts will likely reflect this new perspective. For instance, I’ve come to know a few things that I didn’t know back then. Like, I now know with certainty that you can do ALL THE RIGHT THINGS (because I did) and still have bad stuff find you. So, if you – like me – have lived your life thinking that while it sounds nice, you don’t have time for these touchy-feely conversations about fear, forgiveness, grief, etc. because your life is busy, your work is very demanding, you’ve got bills to pay, a family that needs you and so on. Oh, and on top of that your focus over the years on your health, fitness, regular doctor visits and good lifestyle choices is protecting you from illness and disease. I get that. I’ve been there. You can see how well that worked out for me.
Here’s the thing, the reality, as I’ve learned the hard way is that no one is immune to moments of intense personal suffering and, despite what we like to believe, we don’t have as much control over potential setbacks as we think.
But, I don’t mean to sound all doom and gloom. On a more hopeful note, I’ve also learned that, – HOW we deal with the inevitable trauma and struggle that comes into our lives is the real key to not just surviving tragedy but actually thriving in the wake of it. The reason, I now realize is that tragedy and suffering often do one of two things to a person. It will either break you or, break you open and reveal to you your true strength. Even better, it will allow you to finally be more of the person you were always meant to be.
It’s my hope that with future posts and the involvement of this community we can start a real conversation around some of these more difficult topics. After all, we learn so much from one another and the collective wisdom of our different experiences and perspective. We need each other. In good times and especially in bad. I promise to show up. Will you?