On Making a Good Life: Tales from the Front

Waking up to these guys is such a gift.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about life, about choices, about how we end up with the life that we live. Of course there is no single or easy answer; life is a continuously changing chess game of action, reaction, or in some cases, inaction. We all face the full spectrum of good and not-so-good in life, and we each have the power to choose what we take from those experiences. Do we become bitter and angry? Or, do we look for the lessons and grow through it all? Our life is the sum of all those countless choices that we make on a daily basis. We become what we choose to focus on each day, what we devote our thoughts and actions to.

Top deck dawgs…

I’ve made many poor choices in my life, choices that propelled me into periods of sadness or regret. I’ve also made wonderful choices that helped to steer me in positive directions. Sometimes you know when you’re making the choice that it’s not going to turn out well, and sometimes you stumble blindly into a hornet’s nest or into an angel’s den. Life is funny like that…or maybe each of those experiences is placed before us to help us grow to another level, or at least give us the opportunity to grow. Sometimes we are ready for that growth, and sometimes we have to go through the darkness until we’re ready to finally learn the lesson and move forward. Yoga dawgs…

I am at a place now where I feel I’m on the precipice of opportunity to change. I have stumbled so many times; maybe this time I will finally learn what I’m supposed to learn from my mistakes and move forward. I remember when I first moved to Birmingham seventeen years ago (how can it be that long!); I had just left a job that I loved in my favorite part of the country to come to UAB, moving to a city where I knew no one as a long marriage ended. It felt like my world had collapsed. My cell phone had an option to post a scrolling message…the one I chose was, Move Forward! It was my mantra. There really was no other way for me at that time.

And I did. It was hard, so very hard, but piece by piece I made a new life out of what felt like the end of my world. I embraced my new life and home, made good friends, and eventually found my Dan and our home and the life we made together. I would go through all of the pain and heartache again in an instant to be at this place now.

However, it’s time to grow again. I feel it in my bones, feel it in the anxiety that grips me in the dark of night. I am working hard to change my lifestyle, getting back to healthy eating and exercise- it feels so good, even with the little setbacks along the way. To move to whatever the next ‘level’ is, I have to learn to manage stress more effectively, learn to let go of the things that no longer serve me and only add to my anxiety. It’s freeing, really, to think of it, to think of leaving behind old hurts and fears of failure…and fears of success.

I don’t want to apologize for choosing to live a happy life- even through great loss, sadness, and despair. For me it isn’t about pretending that those things aren’t a part of a happy life; it’s about acknowledging them, feeling them, learning from them, and choosing to find the good in it all. I also don’t want to apologize for a happy marriage or professional successes anymore; I’ve worked hard for all of them- and will continue to work hard to keep them. It’s time to just be grateful for it all- even the tough path it took to get here. Truly, what we think, we become. I am trying with all my might to break through the cycle of worry and fear that has gripped me for so long. It won’t be easy- old habits die hard…oh, but the rewards…

Maybe now is my time to finally move forward.


4 thoughts on “On Making a Good Life: Tales from the Front

  1. Bravo, Denise!! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’œ A beautiful, thoughtful, and insightful, post.
    I am exactly where you are, only I am 66 years old. I often think about this wisdom I have now, and how I wish I had learned it earlier in my journey……but so very thankful I have stumbled on it now. ” Never too late”, as they say. ๐Ÿ˜€
    I suppose all of the experiences, good and bad, will lead us to this place, you write about, if we are open to it.
    Cheering you on, Denise.๐Ÿ’• Thank you for sharing.๐Ÿ’š

    1. Thank you, Catherine. I am always going to hold onto that โ€œnot too lateโ€ promise. I really believe that. Sometime it just takes us longer to get there. I am cheering you on, too. Weโ€™ve got this. โค๏ธ

  2. I admire your resolve! It isn’t often that we can so clearly see the path we need to take nor hear the inner voice directing us in the way to go. Happy trails as you continue your journey!!

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