Life, if nothing else, is changeable. If we are lucky our lives are filled with more joy than sadness, but most of us are touched by big life changes and challenges.
Being a natural optimist, I have managed to find the silver linings in some very grey and looking clouds. Change isn’t always bad, even if it feels like it at the time. Some changes are so brilliant and wonderful that we embrace them fully.
Things that make an indelible mark on our psyche change us – for better or for worse and help to shape the people we become. Here are five events in my life that would forever change me, and my view of the world.
What life events have shaped who you are today?
1. Moving out of home
At the tender age of 18 years, I couldn’t wait to leave home. I built my first home at this age with my childhood sweetheart, the Leo and leaving home became a life changing moment.
Out from under the family umbrella, I thrived on independence and developed my own sense of self. It was one of the first times I can consciously remember feeling proud of myself. I also discovered I loved entertaining.
2. Having children
I was young when I gave birth to my eldest son. 21 years old to be exact and he was created and born out of love. For the first time I wasn’t worried about my weight or myself. I was focused on someone other than me. It was a dramatic labour that ended in an emergency c-section and my heart stopping, but my child survived as did I. I realised I would have laid down my life for him.
Having my three amazing gorgeous ones gave my life a sense of beautiful purpose. It made me a better person. As a parent we make sacrifices willingly, we have sleepless nights and we work hard to provide a decent life. My heart grew bigger for having my kids, and they gave me a sense of family where we created traditions and we are never short on hugs or love.
If there was ever a tornado that threatened to rip me from my foundations, it’s name was Divorce. Nothing could prepare me for the emotional roller coaster that came with the end of my marriage to a man I had shared 17 years with.
Though it threatened to break me, in the end it was a huge life changing experience and I shed my old skin and eventually felt liberated. I found out that I was made of tougher stuff than I realised. I found courage to live my life authentically on my own terms. Inrediscovered things about myself I had forgotten.
Being a single parent isn’t always easy but I found out I’m a pretty good mum with incredible kids who love me, warts and all.
4. Losing financial security
This was a bitch of a life altering time. Finding out all you had worked for was no more is a scary situation. Within a two year span I lost my father, my marriage, my business and my family home.
Shockingly I was fairly clueless about my finances and blindly trusting proved to be my downfall. With no money in the band and a suddenly single chick in her 40’s, I had two choices. Lie down or stand up.
What I discovered was that my gorgeous friends stood by me regardless of my finances (or lack of them), my kids were healthy and loved, and most importantly, I found out I was not the sum total of what I owned but who I am.
Would I like to have the stability of my own home and money in the bank? Absolutely and you can never say never. My optimism continues to burn brightly! But I am rich in so many ways and grateful for finding that out.
5. Falling in love again
For a long time I couldn’t imagine that I could or would ever fall in love again. It seemed inconceivable that my shattered heart would ever mend or entirely heal.
I couldn’t conceive that anyone would want to love me – a divorced single mother with no assets. I felt like a liability. Then I grew a back bone. I had a lot to offer. I was a working woman providing for her family (as I still am). I started to like myself, and learnt to be okay living on my own. I love music and art and foreign films. I’d travelled.
So, I started dating and found out what I didn’t want, which allowed me to figure out what I did want. One day, I met the Producer. Instant chemistry and attraction! Love is powerful. It isn’t always moonlight and roses but falling in love is a beautiful thing. It opens your soul up to possibilities. It allows your heart to beat to a different tune.
These things rocked my world and taught me that through change comes reinvention, courage and discovery. Change is inevitable. It’s how we deal with it that matters.