When I’m aching for a shot of encouragement, I try to pause and begin counting the things that are going right, rather than the things going wrong. This was extraordinarily effective as a homeschooler. And I’m finding it useful as a… “denizen” of Life in Plan B: the unforeseen divorced-mother-of-seven life I now live. Rather than tallying all the things that have been taken from me, or things gone wrong, I am counting up my wins. I started this list off in mild jest before it ended in sort of a “Wow” realization, even for me. It was all a blur when I was going through this. But, through the grace of God alone, I came through. There’s still a long way to go— many things yet to learn. Major transitions still to conquer and difficulties every day. Yet here I am, looking upward and sometimes even laughing in spite of it all… fully alive in spite of it all.
Feel free to snicker at some of these things: “How is this woman 36 years old and just now learning this stuff?!” But, I’m not really embarrassed by that. Happy to count my littleness. Even happier to count the ticks on my growth chart. I highly recommend you creating your own list of “wins” just to give yourself a change of perspective:
- Learned how to change a drill bit.
- Learned how to drill.
- Learned what to look for in a breaker box.
- Drove 900 miles in one day, solo.
- Spider sprayed the perimeter of my home, solo.
- Assembled IKEA furniture.
- ^Learned to ask for help.
- Learned how to operate a weed whacker.
- Took apart and repaired a freezer.
- Discovered Jameson.
- Learned how to grill (not exactly well, yet).
- Navigated Craigslist transactions without getting killed.
- Navigated the lightbulb aisle of the store without killing myself.
- Grew plants without killing them.
- Learned to kayak. 😀
… and 16 is sort of the “blur”:
Recovered from a minor surgery, got a job, found childcare, learned how to pump breastmilk, balanced having five children in four different schools, hired and fired lawyers, represented myself in court, paid a mortgage, slept on a hospital couch for a few days with a hospitalized child, survived significant, interpersonal trauma… all while being partially homeless for six months, ended 2017 watching my father die and enduring an awful, expensive trial, and opened 2018 with a horrific parenting plan and my mother’s heart attack.
But there’s even a 17 that’s emerged from the fog of 16:
Applied to grad schools, got accepted, worked hard through the busy days with too many demands and not enough hours while several other imperfect circumstances drizzle all around me, began 2019 with a 4.0 GPA, managed to happily read a large number of books, keep coffee and cheese stocked in the house, retain a passionate curiosity for the living world and those who travel with me here, and have allowed myself the tiniest—oh so fragile!— beginnings of long term dreams once again.
So there’s that. See the good. Count the growth. All will be well. And the lessons learned, extraordinary.