What took me four decades to learn


Yesterday, we closed on our old house and our new one.  We’ve been living in the new pad for 2 1/2 months, but it finally felt like home once those papers were signed.  Sometimes a contract does make things feel more real.

Not long after, I was asked what I learned from this whole ordeal.  Yesterday, all I wanted to do was be happy and enjoy the feeling of relief that it was all behind us.  Today, I’ll consider what it has all meant.

I turned 40 four months ago.  I remember the day approaching, and thinking about what I had learned in each of the previous four decades.  I wondered what this next decade would be about.  The big life lesson up ahead.  I didn’t have long to wait before I found out.

For the first time in four decades, I understood what it felt like to be in the middle of a problem where I couldn’t affect a positive outcome.  It might sound odd, but as a project manager and leader, I have had to get up every morning believing that I can find solutions to insurmountable problems.

When everything fell apart, I felt as though my skills and ability had failed me.  I wondered, for the first time, how much more I could take.  And then something else would happen and something else.  I kept wondering, is this it?  Is this my limit?

Somewhere in there, I figured out that my well would not run dry.  Every time I thought I couldn’t take more bad news or one more thing going wrong, there it was.  And yet the well of endurance still did not run dry.

I don’t remember when I woke up.  While this was a huge struggle for me, I smacked myself around and realized my issues weren’t that big of a deal.  They felt big in the moment, but when you look around and regain perspective, things can always be worse.

My family had a roof over our heads (two – should I really be complaining?!?!), clothes on our backs and we didn’t have to worry where our next meal would come from.  There were two ER visits in the middle of everything – which is probably what really sent me over the edge, more than the home stuff – but otherwise everyone is hearty and healthy.

It may have been my first time feeling helpless, but I can bet it won’t be my last. What I am hoping is that it will be my last time getting caught up in it.

Last night, we went out to dinner to celebrate the end of the craziness.  At one point, I just sat and stared at my son.  I admit I’m biased, but he really is the cutest thing going.  I could stare at him for hours, but can rarely get him to sit still long enough for more than a passing glance.

While I looked at him, really looked, I remembered just how damn lucky I am.  How beautiful he is and how amazing it is that every day I get to be his mother.

This whole saga ended with me feeling like an idiot.  All I had to do was look.  I always had everything I needed right next to me.

So, the next time I get caught up in the crap, I hope the lesson I learned in my 40th year is to step out of the situation long enough to regain perspective.  To remember I have all that I need and the rest is just window dressing.


Have you found yourself in a situation where you needed to gain fresh perspective?  What tips would you share?  Please add them to the comments and keep the conversation going.