As a recently divorced single mother, living in COVID-19 reality, I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with this particular season in my life. Ahh, 2020. You are full of surprises!! I never imagined life would be as it is now, this isn’t what I planned for my life. Surely, as a people, we were destined to be dealt a better hand than this? I’m talking to you, Universe!
Pain and hurt feelings are inevitable and will always exist. We all know this. For me, my divorce was a hurt I continually tried to sidestep, to prevent. For years, I avoided the hurt I knew was coming for me. I literally ran away from it and it kept chasing me. Everywhere I went. Unfortunately, the pain didn’t end with deciding to end my marriage. The toughest lessons I had yet to learn; the worst pain I’d experience in life was yet to come.
Eventually, I accepted I had to hug my pain and weather the storm if I wanted a chance at real happiness. It has been a long dark night that, at times, has felt never-ending. Each morning I make a choice, I put on the bravest face I can possibly muster and face the day. And guess what?! Each and every day has been easier than the one before.
I won’t sugar coat it: life’s been really hard in recent years. When I thought the winds of change couldn’t blow any harder, they actually did. There were people in my life I thought would always be there, no matter what. They wouldn’t be because they didn’t want to. Y’ouch. There were new people in my life who I thought cared for me and had my best interests at heart. As fate would have it, they didn’t. Another lesson!
With each new unexpected blow, I wanted to fall apart. I wanted to ugly cry often. The kind of cry when you can’t catch your breath and you’re wiping snot out of your mouth. And guess what, sometimes I let myself do just that. I would lock myself in a closet, pull my knees to my chest, and sob.
Over time, I got stronger. I learned emotional self-defense. I learned, particularly as women we often think of last, how to put myself first. I learned to actively practice self-care. How to think of my own needs before prioritizing anyone else’s needs.
Miraculously, we (my child, my ex-husband, and myself- a modern family we will always be!) have all survived the storm, managing only to throw a few shingles, much to my surprise. In the thick of it, I didn’t spend much time thinking about what would happen once the winds of change died down. I guess I assumed things would naturally calm and everything would be clear and bright. New normal.
Life showed up laughing in my face when 2020 rolled around: COVID-19, Social unrest, collectively challenging deep-seated societal norms, resultant divisive opinions, empathy poverty, deficient leadership, and absent diplomacy.
Now we are all faced with New Normal. What does it mean? Who are we now? What makes us feel safe? What lights our fire? Why do we matter? How do we move forward? How do we protect our kids from an uncertain future?
So many questions we can answer in all areas of life; as individuals, at work, in our communities, as states, as a nation and a greater global society. We are at the precipice of an actual global opportunity, a tipping point with the potential to unify the human race. I hope and pray we embrace our hurts and pains, learning from each other’s experiences, so that we may grow in greatness together, creating a unified future for the next generation.
I don’t have all the answers for anyone else, or even myself, but I am willing to put in the difficult work required to dig deep, uncover the truth, and move forward to create a better life for our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond. What we do now, in this very moment, it matters. Lean into challenging conversations. Question your perspective. Open yourself up to the experiences and perspectives of people who are different from you.
I was, and often still am, so afraid of this new life that we find ourselves in. Ultimately, I want to hug life. The imperfections, pains, challenges, lessons, and failures too. There is power in the challenge, an opportunity to grow, to change, to evolve and emerge on the other side as a happier, more grateful, content, compassionate and emphatic people constructing a future society we can be immensely proud of.
That said, all this change and uncertainty, it’s really hard to live day to day. Here are a few of my personal essential tips and tricks to help you weather the storm and embrace your season, no matter what challenges life is slugging at you!
- Stay positive. This one is so important. Keeping a sunny side up attitude will enable you to weather the harshest blows life has to offer.
- Practice Gratitude. Find something to be grateful for in every moment of every day. Waking up in the morning is a precious gift denied to many.
- Keep laughing and do it loudly.
- Hold your head high. You are made of grit and grace and you should be proud to be you.
- Have Faith. Better days are coming for you.