A famous psychologist (his first name is Phil) talks about the fact that we all have pivotal points in our lives; crossroads, if you will, where we can turn down a path of self-pity, victimism, feeling anger at the world and an urge to ‘give up’. Or turning the other way and seeking empowerment, happiness, and a full life.
In August of 2006, I experienced a harsh, heartbreaking pivotal point in my life when my husband of thirty years died suddenly. He took his own life. Sure, I knew he was going through some kind of mid-life crisis or other. Don’t most men? He bought a new car, set up a home gym and started flirting with women half his age. But nothing prepared me for what he did. To be so unhappy and not share it with SOMEONE? I can’t imagine.
I have been ‘under construction’ since that fateful day.
Early on I decided to get into therapy to help with the overwhelming guilt and rage that I felt as a result of his actions. Then as I carefully went through the seven steps of grief (I wanted to be certain that I took the time to heal), I realized that in my forty-five years of adult life, I had never been single.
Who was I? What kind of individual was I? What were my own thoughts, my own beliefs? What did I think about life without the input of a spouse, a partner, a best friend?
So I considered myself to be ‘under construction’ now for several years. Rather than choose to have my life end with the death of my husband (as many women my age are wont to do), I decided to re-invent myself. Discover who I am… and work on that individual.
Am I a kind person? Do I help others? Do I pursue my dreams? Do I go after my goals? Am I happy?
After seven years I can answer: for the most part, I think I am kind. Yes, I help others. I absolutely pursue my dreams and achieve my goals. And after passing through the grief, anger, denial, pain, tears and confusion, I am very happy. A person can’t sit back and expect happiness to come to them. I believe you have to work for it!