Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What's The Hardest Thing You Have Ever Done?

What is the hardest thing you have ever done?  If you can't narrow it down, think of your top 5.  Now, up to this point, here is what my list would look like:

1. Left home at age 14 for boarding school;
2. Gave up my beloved sport to focus on academics in college;
3. Married someone at 25 that my mom did not approve of;
4. Divorced that someone knowing I would have to hear "I told you so";
5. Left my firm job to create my own flexible schedule;
6. Raised a son for 10 years as a single parent;
7. Canceled a wedding;
8. Had to do a short-sale on my condo during the Great Recession; and
9. Searched for and connected with my dad after 38 years.

How do our lists compare?  You know what- it actually doesn't matter because this is not a contest.  The point I really want to emphasize is this-- there is not a single thing on that list that I regret doing. All were worthwhile learning experiences that made me who I am today, and if you look at your list ask yourself, isn't that true for you too?

Just as they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I firmly believe that we alone get to frame our reality.  You can see something as nerve-racking or exciting.  You can see it as difficult, or simply challenging.  Do you see the glass as half full or half empty?  It is your attitude that makes all the difference in the world.  You alone can choose to rise to the occasion or sit back wallowing in self pity.  Thankfully, very few of the people I work with opt for the latter approach, and as a result I am inspired on a daily basis by my divorce clients as they face some of the most trying times they have ever encountered.

So now the time has come for me to face my next biggest challenge in life: blending families.  From what many wise people have told me it is the hardest thing they ever had to tackle, and I can see why.  There are so many different moving pieces and different personalities with different perspectives.  We all have a distinct history, our own set of norms and deeply held core beliefs.  It is far from easy to have all these lives intertwine under one roof, and it is particularly tough when not everyone is sharing in the bride and groom's joy as the big changes continue to unfold.  But I think the key is to keep the lines of communication open and ensure that the two driving forces remain on the same page.

In the end, just know that challenges will continue to come up in life, and the one key thing that got me through all of mine is that I did not have to face any of them alone.  The other saving grace for me is faith.  If you don't have faith in a higher power, then at least have faith in the overall goodness of humanity.  You cannot lose hope when faced with a major obstacle-- instead you need to find an ally, preferably one with some dynamite (not literally, but rather figuratively) to help you blast through what may seem, but probably really isn't, a brick wall.  Later, you will save some of those remnants as a badge on honor, of that I have no doubt.      

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