Bouncing Back Bolder: How Resilience Adds to Happiness
Confession: I don’t really like lemonade all that much. And, I also think that lemons have their place in this world without being sweetened and liquefied: to balance the strong flavor of swordfish, add tang to a glass of water, keep apples from turning brown.
This much, though, I know is true: if life hands you lemons, and you choose to make lemonade, you have the supply the sugar yourself.
A good friend once asked if if I though life was “easy or hard.” Hmmm. I had no answer to that, nor do I now. But I do think it’s not our place to judge life. It’s our job to deal with it. And, if we open our eyes, to learn from it and take pride in our own ability to bounce back, bolder for the experience.
If you have never had a challenge in your life, you can stop reading right now. But, I suspect, you have dealt with at least one lemon – and, more likely, several big ones and a hundreds of small ones.
So – what defines us? Is it what “happens” to us, or the way we ultimately choose to react to it?
Specifics? Sure, I’ll share. Here are some of my lemons, so far:
• I gained 50 pounds in college by eating in response to self-consciousness and stress
• My first husband deserted me and my two young children and wasn’t relocated until 12 years later. Alcoholic. No child support.
• I wanted to be a Broadway star and only got as far as Off-Broadway.
• I got fired from my radio job seven years ago and was rejected from full-time employment countless times after that.
• My son Ben developed schizophrenia and that changed our family forever.
“Tough life”? I don’t know. It’s just…well, my life. I could describe it another way, to make it sound almost like a charmed life. Here is the resilience view:
• I lost 50 pounds after graduating from college and became a Weight Watchers leader after that, which helped me support my children.
• I was motivated by my need to support my family alone to find related “show biz” work in broadcasting, and eventually worked as a full-time radio personality for 15 years. I also taught drama in a private school, which helped me discover my own skills as a writer (of the annual play) and gave my kids a terrific early education.
• I dated for sixteen years, off and on, after my ex-husband’s disappearance – and learned from every “frog.” I am now happily remarried to my best friend. I get it now.
• After leaving radio, I branched out into full-time voice-over work and now am in control of my own schedule, clients, and income. I talk for a living.
• I learned about my son’s illness and am able to be part of his stabilization and recovery process. My memoir about our experience (Ben Behind His Voices) was published a few months ago, and is helping others, I think (feedback says yes). I also am paid to speak to groups about this subject, and about motivation and humor.