We've all heard the adage "when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade". Well sometimes you get a bumper crop of lemons and life just plain sucks for awhile.
The secret sauce of success is to love the lemons life hands you. Easier said than done, you say? I say easier done than living with bitterness and waiting for it to pass.
Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
I remember my first automobile accident. I was broad-sided at a four-way stop in Las Vegas. At the moment of impact, every scary driver's education movie I had seen in high school flashed through my mind. Then I saw the windshield shatter and it was as if I could see each small piece of safety glass passing my field of vision like a slow-motion kaleidoscope. I also remember my last thought being "Oh, this is going to hurt."
The next thing I remember was approaching the police officer who was arranging for a tow truck on my abandoned vehicle. He concluded it must have been a DUI hit and run case since the driver (me) was at fault (what?!?) and left the scene. It had been nearly an hour and they couldn't find me. That time is lost forever in the recesses of my rattled brain. It was 9:00 am on a weekday. I was stunned, dazed and confused, but not drunk.
It did hurt. The car was totaled and it wasn't even my car. I had to rely on family to get back and forth to work for months. My boyfriend broke up with me over it (yes, it was his car and he wasn't even in country.) My insurance costs skyrocketed. I was 18 years old. Welcome to the real world where Adulting is difficult. If you believe the programming you've been sold.
With experience comes knowledge and eventually wisdom. I've had more than a handful of close calls in my lifetime. Today I know a better way. The real world is not the over scheduled, hectic, busyness that characterizes 'success' in our culture. Real life isn't captured in an Instagram shot or a Facebook post. Memories aren't made behind the lens.
Memories are stored by the lens of your very own eyes, in real time and real life. The real world is the space between the thoughts, the scenes between the drama, the calm before the storm. The real world records in slow motion every millisecond of a life worth living.
Is your life worth living? Have you stopped to smell the roses? Are you living the way you always imagined you would? Is there something standing in your way? Could you use a hand or a friend?
That's why we have each other. Let's swap stories.
Can you think of a time when life handed you a lemon?
It usually comes in some form of loss. The job ended unexpectedly, someone's health took a turn for the worse, you were passed over for that promotion you felt you deserved, or you lost your best girlfriend.
In each case, the unexpected happened. Or what was hoped for - even planned for, didn't happen. You have suffered a loss. A loss you didn't see coming.
It is that element of surprise that makes the lemons we all get handed in life sometimes well, suck.
How did you overcome it?
Here are a few things I've learned along the way to a successful retirement:
1. Love of Money is the root of all procrastination. When your heart says go and your body says enough already, listen to its wisdom. I've interviewed a lot of people who chose early retirement over the golden handcuffs. Not one of them regrets missing out on the promised cash flow. The ones who waited often regret the lost years they could have been building the life of their dreams while they still had time.
2. Your Negative Imagination is out to get you. When you find yourself justifying why it's not that bad, or you can tough it out, or at least it's a paycheck...step away from the drug of achievement and look your soul in the eye. If you have to defend an action or inaction, it may be time for a change.
3. And I Love That I had the opportunity to work closely with Kyle Cease last year. Kyle is a comedic transformational speaker and New York Times Best-Selling Author of "I Hope I Screw This Up". His authenticity and unique approach broke through my defenses in a way that brought me back to the life I longed for but had ignored for too long.
4. Meditation isn't Magic, but magical things happen when you do the work of listening to that still, small voice within. We were born with an inner guidance system and then trained not to listen to it. Consider how much of your paycheck goes to distract you from the feelings that come from doing what you don't want to do every day. You may not need as much money in retirement as you think.
5. Find a Mentor you can relate to who is able to lead you past your fear to the heart of your soul because they have navigated that personal transformation themselves. That is where your freedom lies. There are a lot of coaches happy to take your money and deal with your symptoms of distress. What you need is a soul surgeon. Don't stop until you get the best match for you.
The people who come here have lived through some shit. They have superpowers they don't recognize. They are heroes to people they didn't even know were watching. They have learned the hard way when to wait and when to act; when to hold on and when to let go.
When we walk out the door of an old life that no longer fits, it creates waves of change we can’t always see coming. It can be harder to leave an acceptable situation than a bad one. We are shining a light on a path to freedom for all who follow. We are leaping out of our ego and into our hearts. It is scary because we can't see the good that lies beyond the prison we know so well. But the beauty is there. Even in our leaving, we exhibit a key leadership skill for anyone who wants to lead a bigger life.
Dream a new dream. The more we put it all on the line to follow our dream of something better for ourselves and our children, the more we deserve to party with others we meet on the road. This is not a pity party for what you lost in the shift. This is a celebration of all you gained that you couldn't see when you took that first step of faith to become more of YOU!
Dreams reside deep down in the heart of every one of us. Sometimes they get buried by shame, or clouded with ambition, or shrivel from lack of attention. But they remain. Deep down. Buried alive. Waiting for you to come back and find joy in the only place it can truly be discovered. Within.
Sometimes leading means leaving - with style, with grace, and with Heart.
You're here, you're safe, we've got you.
Every little girl in my generation had dreams of what she would one day become, how her life might look, and how happily-ever-after she expected to feel. It was magical.
Then life happened. We grew up and began the process of trying to measure up to society's agenda or everyone's expectations. The hats we picked up varied greatly depending on upbringing, hometown, family dynamics, and media access. And they were many: be a good girl, a career woman, a doting mother, a sexy wife, a responsible citizen, a contributing member, a team player, a leader! So many hats, so little time.
In a woman's life, it is not uncommon to set aside our needs and wants so we can care for others. We start a family, we put a spouse through school, we assume the family business as our parents age. We set our dreams aside and imagine we will get back to them when things settle down. When the children are grown. When the degree is complete. When the parent passes. When we lose enough weight or have enough money. Then the magic will happen.
Life can be so filled with the good stuff that we forget to save space for the best. The dreams we set aside until we could get back to them eventually die from neglect. If life was particularly taxing, we may have even forgotten why those dreams mattered in the first place. We become anxious or depressed but cannot put our finger on why. Don't we have it all? People call that magical thinking and encourage us to be practical.
I call that settling for less. Deep down, dreams never die - they just get buried alive.
Dreams not Drama
Sometimes the clamor of daily drudgery has left us so far down we forgot where we left our cherished dream. We may have tucked it away so deeply into a corner of our heart that we need to go into the cave to reclaim it.
Don't be afraid of the dark - it is where your treasure is buried.
When I realized I would be living alone again, I was both exhilarated and apprehensive.
While I love living with people who love me, I'm not a fan of staying for the sake of (the children, the money, the church) or any social construct that can be reduced to a list of shoulds.
There are worse things than living alone. But there are some skills that will come in useful. Like cooking, for example. I decided a long time ago not to live my mother's life. The down side of that is I never learned even rudimentary cooking skills. If it didn't come in a box or freezer section, I was eating out at restaurants.
So I decided to try those 'delivered-to-your-door' menu items. I won't talk about the ones I disliked or why. But I will share my experiences of the ones that have added value to my life. Home Chef is one of those (link below and yes, we both get $30 off an order if you purchase.)
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Author Kim Halsey
I love to co-create new lemon recipes with people who think they hate lemons.