As I am turning 40 I am reflecting on all of the things that brought me to this point in my life. I know it took all of the good  and bad experiences to make me who I am today. Learning to be grateful for them all is difficult but necessary.

In the past 40 years I have survived and overcome so many obstacles. I have lost many people that were near and dear to me, including my father. I have been abused (physically, emotionally, financially). I found out my son would be born with multiple (some life-threatening) diagnoses. Shortly after my daughter was born, I found out my husband was having an affair and my marriage was over. I survived a two year long divorce. And I have essentially had to start my life over.

How could I possibly be grateful for some of these experiences? The guilt and anger I carry daily from some of these is asphyxiating. It is an added layer of stress and anxiety on my already difficult life. If I want to be happy I have no choice but to come to terms with, accept and ideally be grateful for ALL of them.

As you can see, I know what I NEED to do. But how? How could I ever be grateful for knowing what it feels like to scream for help and be ignored. How could I not be angry about this? How could I not feel guilty and weak for allowing this to happen to myself? I feel these feelings coming up right now as I type this.

Honestly this feels like a monumental task. Thinking about taking this on scares me a little. In order to process these I’m going to have to experience feelings I have had under lock and key for quite some time. I’m also scared of failure. I know I need this. But what if I can’t? Will I EVER be happy?

One way I am learning to be grateful for trying times like those is by listing what lessons I learned from each. Looking at it from that perspective helps me a little.

Some items on my list:

  • I’m a strong person
  • I can come back from anything
  • That I don’t need “stuff” to be happy
  • Being in debt has taught me how to live simply and maintain a tight budget. Haha!

I’m getting there one day at a time. I’m trying to be patient with myself while continuing to push forward. Allowing myself to feel sad or mad but making an agreement with myself to then let that resentement, guilt and/or anger go.

I will keep everyone posted on my progress. Feel free to share any suggestions or tips.