This past few years have seen me passing some big personal milestones. I’ve conquered some big challenges in terms of my health, finances, and personal growth. Looking back it doesn’t seem to have taken very long at all. That is a view in stark contrast to how I felt just three years ago. The mountain before me appeared insurmountable and on several occasions I thought my pursuit of that goal futile. Yet here I am only a few short years later reflecting upon the challenges of yesterday.
A title arrived in the mail today. DMV process many thousands of these titles each year. It’s just an ordinary piece of paper indicating ownership of a vehicle, neither interesting nor unique from their perspective. From my view it represents the conclusion of the final item in my divorce settlement from my first marriage. With the final payment on her car I am now free of the bonds of that first relationship. This is the final tie and with the mailing of a single piece of paper it is cut.
Looking back over the last few years I’ve met almost all of the goals that I laid out in the summer of 2008. At the time I was suffering from chronic depression and anxiety. I felt crushed by the weight of debt left over from my first marriage and my professional career was suffering from a lack of direction.
Since that time, and with the support of my loving wife Meaghan, I have managed to not only turn that situation around but also make great strides towards personal growth I never imagined possible. We are debt free, my career is back on track, and I’m happier and healthier than I can remember. Of all the changes we’ve made and efforts we have put forth, it has been some of the smallest changes that have yielded the largest benefits.
First and foremost amongst all has been patience. The patience to continue renting, a conservative fiscal policy, and a commitment to continually challenging ourselves to grow has allowed us to make progress even during a financial recession. Throughout this time I have used introspection, meditation, and self-awareness to learn more about how personal happiness is wired and affected by our own attitude towards life. Two changes allowed for a pivotal turn-around and marked significant progress:
1) The forgiveness of all who have wronged us at any time in our lives, with a depth and completeness that knows no exclusion. Truly forgiving all of those in our past, present, and future, is a scary and utterly rewarding experience.
2) A daily commitment to continual personal introspection and growth. We all talk about bad situations that made our lives less pleasant. The ability to analyze those situations to learn from them, specifically to learn how we may avoid being upset, hurt, or angered by them, without assigning blame to any party, is truly a gift. I use it daily.
I struggle with patience, happiness, forgiveness, motivation, and a host of other challenges we all face as part of our lives. What I have learned from the past few years is to take my own perspectives of the situations I encounter and look at them from many different angles. I seek new ways in which I might interpret, process, or express my own experience of the situation in the hopes that I may learn how to take more from those experiences and give away less of myself in the process.