By the time you get to be 43 there has been some shit. Shitty things that have happened in your life. Deaths, losses, injuries, disappointments. Plenty. And you can become jaded. You can. It’s easy to do. And I was for a very long time. But age, or time, or events have taught me that its not REALLY about what happens to you. Its how you react to what happens to you. How you deal. How you heal. How you cope. How you DECIDE to move forward or stand still. And God Damnit it is really hard to DECIDE to be positive and happy. Very hard. And believe me- it IS a decision I make each and every day.
Ever since I was a teenager I have been very cynical, negative, and a glass is half empty kind of girl. Always. I never expected much from people, was prepared for disappointment, rolled my eyes a lot, never expected good things to happen and kind of poo-poo-ed anyone around me’s idea that big wonderful things might, can and DO happen. I was negative. I was. Im not sure why. Genetics. Fear of failure. Fear of getting hurt. Friends who’d hurt me. Who knows. All of that. But I was negative. And with Dad’s accident, Patrick’s diagnosis and Maddie dealing with chronic illness Im pretty sure I could have slid pretty far down the slide of sadness. I know I could’ve. It would’ve honestly been easier.
It’s funny. I guess people think you get over the loss of someone or it gets easier. My Dad died in a motorcycle accident 9 years ago. At the age of 53. FIFITY-THREE. Thats very young. And nine years later the pain is less intense. The stabbing is gone. But I think of him every single day. I miss him more. And I hate that it takes me a second to remember his face. I hate that more than anything. It’s funny. The funniest things can get me. A song that comes on, a Harley driving by and that un-mistakable engine sound, opening the spare closet to see his old t-shirts, a motion or sound I make that is EXACTLY like him. Funny. Im happy for those things. I DECIDE to embrace those things.
Patrick’s symptoms began in May 2012. I remember sitting in a small room soon after with him hooked up to this barbaric machine that sent stabbing pulses through needles they’d put all into his muscles. They were testing him for ALS. I was 39. And so scared. Whatever those results were, in those next minutes, would determine the fate of the next few years. For me. For our kids. For him. He did not and does not have ALS. And the diagnosis of Ataxia would come MONTHS and MONTHS later. But the decision to move to Colorado came quickly. In that sterile green hospital chair I was sitting in. Clutching my purse so tight I thought I might break the contents. It was taking all the might I could muster to hold back tears. I was shaking and terrified. And I KNEW. I KNEW. Things had to change. No matter the outcome of the test. SO I DECIDED to change them. I knew I was packing up our shit and getting to Colorado come Hell or High Water (or fire) with no family at all and no one to help- I just knew- its what had to happen.
I had, for all intents and purposes, always depended on someone. I went through High School and College with a boyfriend. I had a Dad I knew I could ALWAYS rely on. I had a husband who took care of most things and made me feel secure. Patrick even delivered my eulogy for me at my Dad’s funeral because I just couldn’t. But in that chair. In that minute. I decided it was time to grow the fuck up at 39 years old. So I did. And so began the slow transformation from Negative Nellie to Positive Polly.
It took the past few years but its been steady. Part of it was definitely a decision to change the way I viewed life. But some of it was the people I CHOSE to surround myself with. With all the bullshit stuff in my life that I could NOT control I knew that I COULD control the people I chose to surround me. And that made all the difference. Giving myself a purpose in my leap into Beachbody Coaching was HUGE. A company full of very positive, supportive people who support your crazy goals. It’s so very important to put people in your life that don’t just SUPPORT you and your dreams but PUSH you to them. And my insides began to change and I have learned that it’s all about how I deal. Every day. How I wake up and DECIDE. People still hurt me. I forgive. I move on. I hope to God it doesn’t keep me from loving, trusting or letting others close to me. I refuse to let the behavior of others change my spirit. There are disappointments in business and fitness goals- I learn from them and push on. Failure is not a bad thing. It’s not. Its a reminder that Im human and I need to work harder.
And although I still crack the occasional sarcastic joke, roll my eyes and maybe doubt that some people will come through for me….I know that the girl who had a glass half empty now has a ton of glasses. And it’s up to me to fill them. Constantly. And I like that. I like me. And damn it’s so much better this way.