I’m excited to introduce myself and my column to you. I’m what I would call a personal growth fanatic. I have always been fascinated with finding inner peace and accessing what it takes to fulfill dreams. I’m guessing you, my reader, seek peace and have dreams you hope to fulfill, too.

I’ve lived in Mercer County for 34 years, was an East Windsor Elementary School teacher for 38 years, and am in my sixth year of retirement as an educator of young children. I have been a late bloomer with most things in life. I married at 37, had my only son at 39, dreamed of writing a personal growth book, and finally did it at 67. I discovered that whenever I accomplished my dreams it was actually perfect timing.

Writing my book, The Affirming Way of Life: See the Good, Speak the Good, Spread the Good, was life-changing. I dreamt of writing it for at least 20 years before I actually began. I just had no idea how to do it, didn’t have time to explore it, and my frustration loomed.  It was the prodding of my then 24-year-old son to seek coaching from an author he knew, that supported me in unleashing my positive possibilities.

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I discovered it’s in the process, not merely the final goal accomplishment that the most meaningful part of dream fulfillment happens. Aside from all the writing skills I developed, I learned that I was a focused, determined, disciplined person, qualities I hadn’t recognized in myself before.

Here’s the cool thing. Working on my writing dream led me to take action on other dreams. I was a side-line athlete. I was never on a team, didn’t exercise regularly, but was always in awe of people who pushed their physical limits.

When I heard that my writing coach, who was older than me, ran a half-marathon, that dream clutched my heart. I didn’t walk regularly, let alone run, but I enticed some teacher friends to enter a 5K with me. I learned I also needed a training schedule and training buddies. After four or five 5K’s my co-teacher and I began training for the NJ half marathon. We trained on our own, then every Sunday we ran a three-mile loop together. Three miles became six, six became nine, nine became twelve. I was absolutely awestruck! Me? Crossing the finish line in the half-marathon was a high beyond highs.

The whole experience of training unleashed my positive possibilities more than I could have imagined.

Spurred on, my training buddy and I went on to more challenges. We ran every boardwalk in NJ (the shortest is Allenhurst 1000ft, and the longest is Atlantic City 5.5 miles). We walked the entire Raritan-Delaware Canal from New Brunswick to Frenchtown, 66 miles over ten weeks, and then we walked the entire island of LBI from Holgate to Barnegat Light, 18 miles, in 7 hours. Not bad for two 66-year-olds! I’m looking for a new challenge if you have any suggestions!

People are everything to me. My family and friends are my heart and my joy. My love of supporting others in finding peace and fulfilling dreams crystallized in the writing of my book. As a teacher, my greatest focus was on seeing the talents and uniqueness of each student and helping them to see it, too. I did the same with all the people in my life helping me to create especially, warm, close relationships. And that’s the subject of my book.

Now my mission is to inspire a much larger audience of people to express their hearts and affirm their loved ones, to spread the good much needed in our world. The benefits are amazing!

Affirming my husband for all the little things I appreciate in him reignited our relationship after we drifted apart. Consistently affirming the beautiful strengths our son possessed helped him turn the challenges of living with ADHD into a highly, successful, happy life. Affirming my sister during our daily talks bonds us deeply.

So, that’s a little about me. In this column I’ll share positive ways of living that work for me and I hope will add to your life, too. We all need some support in finding peace and fulfillment, now during this pandemic—more than ever.

My personal storytelling will be backed by exciting research from the field of positive psychology. I’d love your input on concerns and topics you’re interested in. This column will appear on the first Monday of each month and will remain available till the next. I look forward to helping you unleash your positive possibilities!

Editor's Note: Gail Siggelakis, a Robbinsville resident, is a new columnist for TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville and TAPinto Bordentown. Her column "Unleash Your Positive Possibilities" will be appearing on the first Monday every month to give readers some positive thoughts and concepts to consider in their own life.  Gail is the award-winning author of The Affirming Way of Life: See the Good, Speak the Good, Spread the Good. She is a speaker, blogger, and professional coach. You can reach her at gail@theaffirmingway.com. Check out her website theaffirmingway.com