In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. ~ Albert Camus

Happy New Year!

As another new year begins, I have spent hours pondering what I want my first message to be, as it sets the tone for the year ahead. As I reflected on 2019, and all the wonderful things that have happened to me, I realized that the message is simple: Even in the darkest moments of your life, there is strength within you (that you don’t even know exists) and, if you don’t give up and succumb to the negative feelings, you will realize that there is hope and that better times lie ahead.

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For someone who is going through an extremely traumatic period in life, you may not believe what I am preaching because you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or because you believe that your life is over.

While the life that you knew may be over, or to be more correct, altered, there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me … I know.

Up until a few years ago, I lived a pretty charmed life. I had wonderful parents and a loving family. I got married immediately after graduating from college. We bought a home, had two kids and great friends; I was living the dream. Then, within a few months, my life crumbled. My 23-year marriage ended, my mother and sister (my last remaining original family members) died, and my oldest child left for college.

In that brief period, I lost: my identity – I was no longer a wife, daughter, sister or mother (as I had known it); my security – I was a single woman responsible for supporting myself and kids while maintaining a home; and the future I had planned – there would be no happily ever after.

I felt alone, vulnerable, and scared. I was knocked down, exhausted, and didn’t see any place to turn. I questioned whether I wanted to keep going.

But, it was in that darkness that I chose to not only survive, but to thrive.

That was the hardest decision of my life. I didn’t know where to turn or what my first steps would be. All I knew was that I didn’t want to feel that way any longer!

If I was going to make any progress, I recognized that I had to change my thinking and beliefs, mostly about myself. Little by little, with each baby step, I moved forward. I spent much time thinking, writing, reflecting, and getting in touch with myself. Being an active participant in the process of healing saved my life.

I learned the importance of a positive attitude and CHOSE to see the gifts and lessons being offered to me. I have found my inner strength, and I am learning how to count on ME and love ME!

Now, when I look back over the past few years of my life, while there may be a twinge of sadness, the pain does not engulf me, and I am able to say that many wonderful things have happened to me and for me. I am a person I never would have become without those experiences.

So, as the new year begins, no matter what you are going through, always remember that change, resulting in pain and sadness, is inevitable. It’s not a matter of “if” something will happen, but “when” it will occur.

But, if you embrace it, learn from it, and grow with it, you will realize that you are strong and that there will always be an invincible summer within. Sometimes it’s just a bit more challenging to find … but it’s always there.