We all experience challenges in life. Moments, days, and weeks that are less than ideal. But that is part of life. Yes, part of life. It is it easy or fun? No, of course not. Until you realize that this is happening for a reason. Reasons that will stay with you forever and teach you so much about yourself and others.
Last year was a tough year for us. My husband lost his corporate job with little severance and remained unemployed for 14 months. Fourteen long months. I was still working, but not making enough to pay our bills or support our lifestyle. We had to adopt a new way of living.
We never saw it coming. Shocked was the only way to describe it. I was dropping the kids off at school and got the text – “I lost my job”. What? I tried calling my husband. No response. I waited for my husband to call me. Was this really happening? How could we have no clue? Clueless?
But wait, that is not 100% true. We were not clueless. My husband had been unhappy at his workplace. He had thought about change for quite awhile. Well, now change was happening.
We had to make some radical changes as the unemployment dragged on. The money was no longer there. We worried about the impact on our kids. We worried about paying the very basic bills. Would we survive and for how long?
Sleepless nights occurred. Stress happened. Fear lingered.
BUT, it did not take over.
We were not going to let the situation destroy us as individuals or a family. Instead, we were going to do everything in our power to take it day by day and use all the strength we had to move forward.. To create change.
And so we did. We still had moments of slipping back into fear, panic, anxiety, stress, worry, and the list goes on. There were many wild goose chases where we thought a new job was going to be offered. Waiting and receiving news for jobs was like a roller coaster ride. Yes…this is the one. It is going to happen. And no. This is not the one. Maybe this is the one. Yes. Trips to interview. And no. 14 months. A very long ride.
Yet, we persevered. Sometimes I wonder how the heck we did it. I really do. But we did. And I learned a lot. I learned:
– You have to persevere. No matter how bad and hopeless it may seem. Never, ever give up. That’s right. Never, ever give up. Shall I say it again?
– It’s okay to be upset. I would go for runs and cry the whole time. I would wonder – Why is this happening? Why us? And I did not care if I was crying. It felt great to let it out. Therapeutic. I am human and not going to be happy 24/7. So good to let out all the frustration and fear.
– Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. I have always been a giver and helper. Brings me joy. But I was never that great at asking or receiving. Now I had to ask. There was no choice. And it was so hard at first. Asking seemed like a weakness to me. Yet the relief I felt when someone helped us was amazing. Made me realize how good it feels to be on the receiving end when in need. And we all have times of need. Which is why I continued to help others. Because it made me feel good knowing how they probably felt.
– Getting creative is essential. I can show you 25 ways to use pasta, beans, or peanut butter now. I can feed a family for half of what we were spending before the job loss. Eating a picnic dinner at the park or in the living room is a lot less money than eating out. Kids love to go for walks, play at parks, rent free movies at Red Box, etc.. I was (and am) the discount Queen. I found deals and created activities like you wouldn’t believe. We were still going to live and have fun.
– Take risks. I starting ramping up my life coaching business, realizing that I could use my discoveries and experiences to help others. My husband finished his MFA and started getting his screenwriting out to agents. Even though we both had always had corporate type jobs, we realized it was okay to start expanding out. To try new things and see. See what happened.
– Sometimes life is a test. And the test can be hard. Especially if you don’t study. That was the key point for me. I needed to spend time studying the situation and me. Figuring out ways to keep going. Creating what we needed short term as a family, a team. And it took a team to make it happen. We had to stick together to avoid falling apart. At times it was rough and tough. True colors came out. We were honest and open with one another. Ups and downs. But we held our unit together.
And we made it! Learned so much! Still learning!
My life coaching business is thriving, and I am finally finishing my book. My husband got a new and even better job, finished his MFA, and has his writing out there. All is good.
So when the going gets rough, know that you are not alone. You have the resources, creativity, and ability to change your life. To persevere. And live.
Have a great day!