As days pass & months turn into years, the forward movement of time seems to catch us all by surprise. Our once high energy toddlers are graduating high school, then college while weddings, babies & new homes are the norm. This new norm however, isn’t for us, but it is for the ‘younger’ generation that was just us. Children get jobs, marriages end, spouses pass while others move away. How do we navigate these changing circumstances? Our parents prepare us for life enrolling us in school & activities & orchestrating the constant string of commitments. As parents ourselves we want our children engaged & involved & go to great lengths to make sure they ‘experience’ all that life has to offer. Unfortunately for many, our own plans fall short upon their maturity.

Did you ever imagine yourself with grown children, as a grandparent, divorced or widowed? Did you believe that starting over in middle age was in your future? While many embrace the new found freedom of their evolving life, there are many others who are paralyzed by it. Not knowing what to do or where to turn, feeling isolated, thrusting oneself into a daily routine in order to face their reality or to avoid making tough decisions is only a disservice to yourself.

Life changes whether you want it to or not. People grow up, grow apart & sometimes leave. We shouldn’t define ourselves by what we once wanted, rather celebrate who we now are by doing what makes us happy. The problem many people face is they ‘forgot’ to tend to themselves while taking care of everyone else. This leads to the stress of not knowing what happiness & a self fulfilling life is. I have always believed that another person is not the key to happiness. A supportive partner can enrich our lives & bring us incredible joy, but without our own interests, passions & plans another person offers us nothing. I have asked many what ‘makes them happy’ & it cannot be another person. It needs to be interests & things that they enjoy doing on their own. Unfortunately, too many aren’t able to answer this fairly basic question. We have an entire generation facing life with fear & uncertainty rather than the joy & happiness it should be.

Do these circumstances sound familiar to either you or someone you know? I am sure you do & I believe we all have an obligation to embrace & support each other. When my first husband filed for divorce many years ago, a large part of what I believed were my friends just disappeared. People who were a constant in our lives were suddenly too uncomfortable with a newly single me & chose to distant themselves from me & my children. There were those few however, who not only embraced us but made us a large part of their lives. I learned so much from my friends & years later try to follow their lead. It takes a village to raise a child & it takes the same village to ensure that all of us are leading productive happy lives. Age is only a number & the joy we could have is a choice. Facing some adversity? Think of a diamond that started out as a lump of coal. It took a ton of pressure to turn it into a shiny, glittery stone & all that stress in your own life can do the same for you too!

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