I lost my first husband because we got into financial difficulties and tried to fight our way out of it–mostly with each other. Five years later, I married a workaholic –whom I admired–and took on his 60-hour work week as my own. He was abusive, controlling and difficult. And, I let him into my life.

1990 was the year I was reborn. With the help of Brain Tracy, Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson, I was able to listen my way to a happier, more positive life. I left my husband, changed careers, moved to a nice apartment. I walked away from a bad situation that was financially sound, to a new situation that was full of uncertainty.

I might say that it all turned out well. Of course, it didn’t. There were failed romances, car accidents, a whiplash injury, a flood, deaths in the family, and what not. That’s life.

Finding myself in 1990 and taking a chance on me–that has been the great challenge and triumph of this life.

This week, I’m back in Iowa, visiting the ex-in-laws, the ex-coworkers, my precious niece, and a friend who has been in my life for more than 50 years. In the past, it’s always been with a bit of melancholy for what was lost. Now I see how that life–my old life–gave me who I am today.

When we experience loss–whether it’s an injury, a death, a divorce, a job loss–it’s natural to connect the dots to all the other losses and say, “It sucks to be me. I’m the victim here.”

The way out is action. Here are some ideas:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal. Write down what you are grateful for. It can be as simple as that Starbucks coupon you got in the mail today, or the beautiful sunrise. Be grateful for those who love you and enrich your life. Be grateful for the crazy, rich, interesting life you’ve had.
  2. Feed your mind. Instead of watching junk on TV, go for a walk and listen to something inspiring. You could start with another three of my favorites–Mike Dooley, Sonia Choquette and Abraham-Hicks. You are what you think about. Choose better thoughts, and soon the habit of thinking positively will grow.
  3. See your career as a challenge–and a work in progress. You might be on a slight detour right now, but nothing is lost. You have every experience–intact–in your brain. You have learned so much–and you have so much to give.
  4. Meet new people. Go to a job club and learn new ways to seek work. I recommend Launchpad Job Club and Hill Country Job Seekers. Invite a new contact to coffee. Go to a church and see how it feels to be in community. Join a Meet-Up and explore a new body of knowledge. New people bring you new ideas, new hope, new knowledge–and love.

You’re a survivor. You’ve made a habit of living well. Carry on.

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