As 2014 draws to a close, I can’t help but look back and reflect on all of the many exciting things that have happened this year! And I’m already eagerly anticipating the coming new year.
I truly am blessed and sincerely grateful for all that’s happened in my life! For instance, in 2012 three major events occurred:
- I had my second child after raising my first son for 17 wonderful years! (Yes, my boys were born 17+ years apart.)
- After 16+ years with the same company, I was laid off as part of a global reduction in force.
- I was hospitalized with several life-threatening bacterial infections.
No doubt, most would wonder why I back-track two years to point out one wonderful event followed immediately by two terrible ones…and why would anyone be grateful for all three as if they were all blessings? Truth is, they all had a profound affect on me, and I believe (with the power of hindsight two years later) all three changed me for the better. First, the birth of a child is a life-changer for obvious reasons, but beyond that, having him in my life is a daily reminder to look at the world around me with the innocence of a child. Everything we do is “new” for him, and that’s an incredible thing to be able to experience something you might’ve done a million times as if it’s the very first time! Secondly, the loss of my job taught me how to stay focused amid adversity. Had I panicked, we as a family could’ve lost everything, but I’m proud to say we were able to achieve financial stability and decrease our debt substantially despite the HUGE hit to our overall income. How? Sacrifice. Flexibility. Family solidarity. And Commitment.
Oh, and about that third item in the list… Being hospitalized after living for years with hardly a blip in health issues can shock anyone’s system and give you a new perspective on what’s really important. I value time spent with family more than ever before, but I’m also very thankful for each day.
So, now, two years later, I can’t help but smile when I think about all of the worries and fears I experienced back then. I’m glad my parents didn’t raise a quitter, but rather a stubborn, hard-working woman. Since being laid off, I’ve started my own contract business that’s thrived for two years (thanks in part to garnering a contract with of all companies, my own former employer!). I got to be a work-from-home Mom and raise my baby boy while still contributing to my family’s overall well-being. My husband, despite being a disabled veteran, and having to work full-time to support the family, graduated from college, earning a bachelor’s degree…at the same time our oldest boy graduated high school. Then he followed his father’s footsteps, became a U.S. Marine, and started college. (Yes, I’m very proud of them both!)
Just this month, I’ve had several contracts renew for the coming year, but I’ve had to introduce my little one to daycare because, shockingly, I somehow landed a new job in August with a company that recruited me…and this happened when I wasn’t even actively seeking full-time employment! What’s more unimaginable is that in less than two months, I received a promotion. So, in two short years, I’ve managed to lose my job, start a business, reduce our family debt, and land a new job, increasing our income despite nationwide news coverage of a “poor job market and struggling global economy.” All without one penny in government hand-outs; I did not receive unemployment, even though I surely qualified for it after the lay-off. No WIC. No food stamps. Just a little help from family plus hard work, long hours, and a lot of prayers. Yes, life can be good if you put in an honest effort and keep a positive attitude even in the face of adversity.
I can testify to the American Dream still being very much alive, and this holiday season, I’m grateful that it is. I can’t imagine what the next two years will be like, but at least I know I can rely on inner strength and familial support to get through anything headed my way.
God bless you all. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!