Turning Points 

So you just got that big promotion at your job. Maybe you just found out that you’re going to be a parent or a grandparent. You may have just answered a very important question in which the answer was simply “yes,” and now you realize that you will soon be planning the “big day” that you’ve always dreamed of. Maybe you just touched base with long lost family members, and your heart is overjoyed with the thought of finally meeting them after years of uncertainty. Maybe you just graduated and now realize that you accomplished something that you, at one point in your life, never could have imagined for yourself.

Good turning points.

So you just got the news…the news you’ve been hoping you wouldn’t hear. You heard the words and immediately, you want to rewind the last few minutes and tell yourself that the doctor is wrong. This can’t be. It just can’t. Maybe you just lost your job, and you can’t bear the thought of how you’re going to provide for yourself and your family. Maybe you just found out that the love of your life has been unfaithful and suddenly, you’re broken. You feel like you’ve failed. Or maybe, someone very near and dear to your heart is suddenly no longer with you on this Earth. You don’t know which way is up or which way is down. Your world, as you have known it thus far, is falling apart. It’s crashing down around you, and there’s a part of you that hopes it’ll just take you with it and spare you anymore misery.

Bad turning points.

Happiness. Joy. Laughter. Smiles. Heartbreak. Sadness. Tears. Frowns.

The complexity of human behavior and emotions. The unpredictability of this journey that we call life. None of the above are ever meant to be understood. Yet it sure is funny how we try so darn hard to make sense of it all, isn’t it?

It’s actually pretty exhausting. You see, the fact of the matter is this: there is no right or wrong way for us to live our lives. There’s no real play book to tell us how to handle certain situations that we’re faced with. All we can do is our best. Sometimes, we can really surprise ourselves in doing what we know to be our best. Sometimes, we may disappoint ourselves, too. That’s okay. If you’ve been going through a really rough patch lately and your tears have been outweighing your smiles, but you managed to just get out of bed today, know that you’re strong. If you’re working an insane amount of hours and sacrificing time with your family and friends, know that you’re inspiring. If you just received that dreaded news that you didn’t want to hear, know that you’re a fighter.

Whatever cross God has given to us to bear, we must embrace it. Good turning points. Bad turning points. Both will shape us into the people that we’re meant to be. Both will bring tears, be it happy or sad. Both will test us in so many trying ways, only to make us stronger than we were before.

There will be moments when you’re absolutely ecstatic about the good turning points in life, but there will also be the moments when you’re incredibly sad about the bad turning points in life. Just know that these turning points do not define you. Sure, some of the bad turning points will break you, but you will not remain broken forever. The good turning points may excite you, however they may also slightly scare you, but you will not remain scared forever.

You will grow. You will accept. You will embrace. You will inspire.

And quite honestly, that’s one of the most beautiful things to witness in life.

“The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt.” – Max Lerner

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A Little Reflection on Life

When I first sat down to write today, I honestly had no idea where to even begin. Up until now the only writing I’ve been able to do has been 20+ page research papers on anything ranging from the Affordable Care Act to Baldrige Award Winning Hospitals in the U.S. to the operational plan behind a local, non-profit organization specializing in providing breast cancer services to a small, rural area. Basically, I’ve pretty much been a prisoner to graduate school, as of late. The past few months have been some of the most mentally draining months of my life, and when I tell y’all that I nearly almost lost my sanity several times, I’m literally not exaggerating on that statement at all.

(Word to the wise: if you’re considering going to graduate school, just make sure it’s something that you really really really want to do. Also, be prepared to drink lots and lots of wine – or whiskey or tequila – whichever you prefer. I won’t judge.)

Now, I don’t regret this decision one bit. When I first decided to go back to school, it was after some crucial turning points in my life, and I honestly wasn’t 100% sure if it was the right decision. However, I trusted my gut and followed through with it because I knew that I owed it to myself to make my life better than what it had been in the past. It was something that I needed to do for me and me only. The last year and a half has been quite a journey for me, especially in regards to self-discovery, and I couldn’t be more grateful for it.

(Note: It’s much easier for me to admit my gratefulness now than it was last week when I literally just wanted to pull my hair out, run away to a peaceful island somewhere, and avoid all of my responsibilities forever.)

However, today is a new day, and in exactly one week, I can proudly say that I will officially be a Master’s graduate! Phew – finally!

…P.S. That still feels very surreal to say. I honestly don’t think it’s sunk in yet…

Anyway, I’ve mentioned before how important it is to never stop learning and to continuously seek new growth and opportunities in life. That is something that I will always believe strongly in, and I feel that it is something that everyone should strive to keep in mind throughout his or her lives. Remember: it’s never too late to be what you could have been, and you’re never too old to do the things that you’ve always wanted to do. Don’t let yourself hold you back from living a life that you’re proud of. A dream will only stay a dream until you work hard to make it become a reality. There will be moments in life where defeat will sink in, discouragement may become overwhelming, and sadness will be undeniably heartbreaking, but just remember the power of your own inner strength. The power of your faith. The power of support from your loved ones. Remember the ultimate power of your belief in yourself, and you’ll be able to overcome anything.

I just wanted to remind you all of that last part. I also just wanted to say to anyone who may need to hear this right now: you are loved, you are beautiful, you are worthy, and most importantly, you are a whole lot stronger than you think you are.

“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” – Thomas Paine