Straying Off the Path or Changing Direction?

The delightful Rita Rudner once said that she never gets lost — she just changes where it is she wants to go. I'd like to stand that joke on its head: If life takes a sudden, unpleasant turn, you might have to turn along with it — at least for a while.

So you'd planned to go straight to the top. Who doesn't? Sometimes you have to accept plateaus, lateral moves, or even downward spirals:

  • High student loans, low-paying job (or no job at all)
  • Sudden illness or injury
  • Layoff
  • Divorce and its attendant emotional and financial dramas

If you think that any one of these things could ruin your life, you're right. You're also wrong. Such things don't happen to your life. They are your life, or, rather, just one part of your life. Never mind that it's a part you wish you could skip over. It's yours, at least for a time. That's not to say you'll stay in one place forever. You're not accepting defeat. You're temporarily changing direction.

Many of us hope for smooth sailing on life's tranquil stream, but suddenly we're drowning in debt or underwater on our mortgages. Aqueous metaphors aside, the fact is that none of us is guaranteed an easy ride. Bad stuff happens, often to good people.

Live and learn
What did we do to deserve it? Sometimes the fault lies not in the stars, but in ourselves: risky behaviors, bad money habits, an inability to think beyond the next pleasurable moment.

At other times, shit just happens. Nobody asks to be hit by a drunk driver, or to be swept up in a surprise layoff. Here's the thing: You don't get to wish it all away.

Wish you hadn't taken out all those student loans? Maybe you were misled or misinformed, but that's your signature on the paperwork. What are you doing about it now? Looking at scary medical debt after an illness came out of the blue? Believe me, I hear you on this one — but have you researched your options?

Wondering if you'll ever get another job in your field after 15 years at your old one? Good question. In the meantime, obligations must be met. How will you make that happen?

Kicking yourself for not listening when your dad said, “A fancy sports car is a bad idea at this stage of your life?” Welcome to the shoulda-woulda-coulda club. What's your plan?

Don't devote any more energy to sighing about what you wish you'd done instead of what you did do. Don't waste time moaning about how unfair it is that you bought at the height of the housing bubble or graduated into a lousy economy. Instead, keep looking for solutions, even partial ones: get a roommate, sell the car, pare down basic expenses, investigate a short sale, ask if you can move back in with the folks.

Bring your own ladder
None of these sound like much fun — and just about any solution is a partial one in that it doesn't work right away. For example, suppose paying off the credit cards will take two years of careful budgeting. You'll be out of debt, but those two years could seem endless. A decade down the road, though, you'll realize how much you learned during that time period — and how it positioned you for what came next.

Pay attention to these lessons because there's no guarantee that hard luck will stay gone. My daughter nearly died at age 19 from a rare neurological disease. Left with some permanent health issues and on disability for a time, she was lucky to find a job she can do at home. Yet she keeps getting hammered by personal and financial crises:

  • Her husband is disabled.
  • Her unemployed in-laws, one of whom has a serious heart ailment, had to move in.
  • In the last year: Two miscarriages, root canal for her, a cracked denture for her husband, a handful of ER visits for both of them.
  • A careless driver hit them and totaled their car; the insurance payoff wasn't nearly enough to pay for a replacement vehicle.
  • The used car they got (and partially financed) has had several repair issues.
  • The house they bought with less of a down payment than they'd hoped for (so the in-laws could move in sooner) has had repair issues, too.

Those are just the things I can remember off the top of my head. It would be so easy to stop trying. But no matter how many times they get slapped down, they keep coming back — and slapping back. They are determined to seek meaningful lives.

To those who say, “When God closes a door, He opens a window,” I say this: Bring your own ladder. Better yet, kick that sumbitchen door down and demand, demand a shot at self-determination. Don't sit around waiting for some celestial locksmith to open it for you.

However, be prepared to wait for both the opportunity and the strength to do the kicking. Immediately after the layoff or the major surgery is not the time. You may have to hit “pause” for a bit.

This is neither punishment nor penance. It's just life. Don't take it too personally. Sometimes you have no other option except to play the hand you're dealt — but always with an eye toward improving your eventual odds.

No more ‘what-ifs'
It isn't easy to keep going when life turns on you. But just as silence equals consent, inaction equals surrender.

In a marvelous novel called “Kissing the Virgin's Mouth,” the protagonist is devastated when her husband asks for a divorce. Too depressed to move, Magdalena lies in bed and wonders what she could have done differently. What if she'd tried harder? What if she'd been the wife her husband wanted?

Her aunt's reply: “There is no ‘what if.' There is only what is.

Eventually Magdalena gets out of bed and rebuilds her life. It isn't the life she thought she wanted. It isn't a life she could ever have imagined. But it is a life, and a good one.

Do not let bad luck or hard times keep you down for long. Focus on what you might do next to change things. Celebrate every victory, no matter how small. (“Put an extra $40 into this month's debt snowball! Woo hoo!”) Every so often allow yourself to spend a little money even if you think you shouldn't. That happy-hour special will feel like a night at the Ritz.

And yes, every now and then allow yourself a limited number of why-me moments. (I call them “rollover mopes.”) Just don't get stuck in the glumness. To paraphrase a cliché: Tough times don't last. Tough lessons do, if you're motivated enough to learn from them.

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Lance@MoneyLife&More
8 years ago

Try not to focus on the bad things unless you are doing something that causes them. Instead focus on the solutions and what you can do better in the future. Some people have horrible luck but they to can get ahead with some hard work in most cases. Sorry to hear about all of the bad luck.

Patti
Patti
8 years ago

“Bring your own ladder” reminds me of something that happened soon after my husband decided to move out that illustrates your point. While we had been miserable for a long time, his decision to leave was abrupt and without a lot of back and forth between us, leaving me distraught and confused. Also, I had to immediately move as I could not afford our NYC apt by myself. As I was packing I was in the kitchen and couldn’t reach the top shelves. My (now) ex-husband is 6’4″ so my normal solution, call his name and ask him to “reach… Read more »

Tom
Tom
8 years ago

This article reflects my own life philosophy. I used to feel like I had to be in control of everything, so when things went wrong, it was cause for depression. I learned to do my best at whatever it is I find important. Often, this helps make it succeed – but if not, at least I know there was little else I could have done about it and simply move on to the next thing.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

“There is no ‘what if.’ There is only what is.”

LOVE this line 🙂

Tom
Tom
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

As a chemist, I intend to work “Aqueous metaphors aside…” into a conversation sometime soon.

Ely
Ely
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Not a chemist, but I still applaud the use of ‘aqueous’.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Ely

Sorry to bring up Mensa twice in the comments, but I must share the M version of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”:

Propel, propel, propel your craft
Moderately along the aqueous solution
Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically
Existence is but an illusion.*

(And if you think that’s cool, you should hear my friend Linda B. sing the song in Latin.)
*Except in Dutch Harbor, where existence is but an Aleutian.

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

Great post! A reminder about how in reacting to circumstances we make our own luck. Very motivating!

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Also: for the more minor negative shocks, I’ve found that chocolate helps when dealing with it. Especially really dark chocolate.

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

I’m told dark chocolate works to short-circuit hot flashes, too. I’ll let you know how that works out. I am currently using it as a *preventive* measure.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

A greeting card I saw noted that it’s more fun to think of it not as a hot flash, but as your inner child playing with matches.
I like that better.

tas
tas
8 years ago

While in theory, this all sounds quite motivational, how does it work in practice? How, for instance, is your daughter actually managing? That’s a story I’d like to hear.

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  tas

Her daughter has a blog: http://ipickuppennies.net/
She’s pretty impressive.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Yep, she is. Not perfect, mind you. Just determined.

TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman
8 years ago

I think this point: “Don’t devote any more energy to sighing about what you wish you’d done”is really the take-home here. And it’s true. There’s absolutely nothing that can be done about what’s happened. Whether it was yoru fault or just life being life, here you are with whatever your situation is, now get crackin’!

JanMN
JanMN
8 years ago

This post reminds me of one of my favorite sayings…

“If there is no wind, ROW”

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  JanMN

Here’s one of mine:
“Pray to God — but row for shore.”

SweetCoffee
SweetCoffee
8 years ago

I really needed this. We are trying really hard to “get to the other side” and recover from our current situation and it really inspires me to think that something good may come of all this. As the author said:

A decade down the road, though, you’ll realize how much you learned during that time period – and how it positioned you for what came next.

Thank you.

Robyn
Robyn
8 years ago

Tom touched on it briefly, but I was unaware I was dealing with a bout of depression after two layoffs in 2001 and 2007. I think this is important to note because picking yourself up by the bootstraps isn’t always the answer to such a serious condition/disease. I’ve found that as I grow older, I really don’t have control over anything. Preparation is the key. That allows you to roll with the punches. I’ve found that relying more on my celestial locksmith is much more rewarding than relying on myself. After all, I am only human. I make lots of… Read more »

Jacq
Jacq
8 years ago
Reply to  Robyn

That’s the scary time, when lack of agency goes all the way over to learned helplessness and depression when it becomes very hard to pull yourself out on your own. BTDT, decluttered the T-shirt and wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
http://youarenotsosmart.com/2009/11/11/learned-helplessness/

Tom
Tom
8 years ago
Reply to  Jacq

Great link!

catherine
catherine
8 years ago
Reply to  Robyn

I,too, have and continue to have my bouts of depression. Having depression and its cousin, anxiety, doesn’t mean you can’t help yourself, it just means that the steps you take will be different and harder. First, talk about what you are feeling or not feeling, either to a friend or therapist. There are free or near free sources of therapy in most areas. I have also talked to my priest about what’s going on. Hard as it is, I don’t isolate. I have also taken anti-depressants on occasion, not as a panacea (which they are not, nor are they without… Read more »

cathleen
cathleen
8 years ago
Reply to  Robyn

My died used to say to me when I was a kid (he died when I was 21) “You control two things, your perspective and your attitude” As I sit here reading this I just got news that my SIL’s brother has just died of a terrible disease at the age of 40. Wow. Life cut short. He was diagnosed a year ago and went downhill physically with rapid speed. My SIL and brother cared for him until the very end. Inspirational, scary, life changing situation. I try to keep my perspective when things out of my control affect me… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Robyn

I feel for you, because one of my daughter’s health issues is serious, chronic depression (with post-traumatic stress disorder thrown in for good measure). Some days she can’t reach her damn bootstraps, let alone tug on them. The idea that depressives should just snap out of it is pretty pervasive. I’ve heard depression described as “a lifestyle disease,” easily cured through positive thinking. Situational depression, maybe. Chronic depression is a little more complex. Incidentally, the reference to the celestial locksmith was my way of saying “Don’t expect God to just fix every little thing that’s wrong with your life —… Read more »

Sam
Sam
8 years ago

I enjoyed this, especially on an after mid-week holiday and back in the office. I’m of two minds on this. I think bad luck begets bad luck. Meaning one horrible event can cause a downward spiral that is difficult to counteract, especially when one is living close to the edge. On the other hand, repeated bad luck some times is indicative of an underlying problem that does need to be addressed. I have a dear friend that has had, for the last 15 years, repeated employment problems. Over time I have come to believe that the problem is her and… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  Sam

Sam, That is very true. My husband and I have been debt free TWICE in our 15 year marriage, and we are now digging our way out of our third round of almost crushing consumer debt. We have absolutely no excuse. No medical issues. No layoffs. No nothing. Just irresponsibility. Donna said it best in her post, we had “an inability to think beyond the next pleasurable moment.” At one point, our thinking changed to – we’ll never get out from under this anyway, so what’s the harm in another $50? Now that we have two school-aged children, and can’t… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

wishing you good luck in changing your fortunes. 🙂

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

What ChaCha1 said, and also wishing that the third time really is the charm for you guys. You sound like you’re in a much better place mentally for this to happen — and then there are those kids to act as a daily reminder.

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

Thank you both! The hardest part about this time around is the cascade effect of having twice been debt free in the past. This means creditors think you are (gasp) credit-worthy, and so they offer you higher and higher limits. This – coupled with the above-mentioned fiscal irresponsibility – is truly a recipe for financial disaster. I think in this case, we’ll go ahead & close the credit cards and take the hit to the credit scores. It will be worth it, if it removes the temptation (as well as the opportunity) to put ourselves in this position again.

Ezdoesit
Ezdoesit
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

CincyCat-I recommend taking a Dave Ramsey course with your spouse; or at least borrowing his books from the public library and listening to him on the radio or online. This has helped me/us tremendously. Take yourselves off the junk mail list to avaoid temptation1 Also, pray about your finances with your partner–God is alive and well and ready to help with inspirational ideas; wisdom and self-control that none of us have all on our own.

AMW
AMW
8 years ago

I really enjoyed this post… Most likely because I can relate to the daughter in many ways. I’m glad you gave “permission” for the ‘why me?’ moments. A little trick that I have found helpful is to give myself a time limit on those moments. Depending on the severity of the moment I will give myself a day or two, once it was even a week, to have a little pity party for myself. When the time is up, I have to cut it out and work on the solutions. Some people say I am just trying to fake myself… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  AMW

Time limits are what “rollover mopes” are all about. You allow yourself a certain amount of time per day or week to acknowledge your anger, anxiety, fear, depression or whatever. As someone who tends to spin her wheels if she isn’t mindful, I’ve found that setting a mental stove timer really works. “I’m so overwhelmed/sad/angry/whatever…Here’s why I feel that way…Nope, it ISN’T fair/easy, but OK, what am I going to do next?” It’s not necessarily simple, especially for depressives. (My daughter is one.) But it can be a useful tool when there’s no alternative but to soldier on. It’s like… Read more »

Holly
Holly
8 years ago

One of the nicest things anyone ever said to me was from my current husband, about my divorce from my first husband. That divorce made me the strong woman that he loves. So something good did come out of an otherwise painful experience.

And I also love the saying, “If it isn’t happy, it isn’t the end.” That occasionally keeps me moving forward when the outlook isn’t bright.

WWII Kid
WWII Kid
8 years ago

As per Joyce Meyer: You can’t change a person or a situation, you can only change your reaction to it. As per Denny Fitch: Your attitude determines your altitude. As per Doris Day: Que sera, sera. As per my sister (now divorced): It doesn’t matter what I look like, I have my man. As per Kate Nelligan in “Without a Trace” (when asked why she hadn’t given up finding her son): When I can’t stand. When “I” can’t stand. As per me the day after September 11th: Nothing is in my control. Life sucks. Nobody truly gets the life they… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  WWII Kid

Re “que sera, será”: One month the Mensa Bulletin had a wordplay page whose theme was changing one letter in a phrase to make the same point in a punny way.
My favorite was “Que sera serf,” which translates to “Life is feudal.”
Man, is it ever sometimes.
I also liked:
“L’etat, c’est moe” (“All the world’s a Stooge”) and “L’etat, c’est moo” (“I’m Bossy around here”).

superbien
superbien
8 years ago

Thanks, this is just what I needed to hear right now.

Lyn
Lyn
8 years ago

Ahhhh, sigh of relief. I LOVE Donna’s writing.

It’s so true, it’s just life and it surely beats the alternative.

Doug P.
Doug P.
8 years ago

Well put. Thanks.

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago

Life is tough and we all have to live it as it come. Things in developing countries are much more difficult than here and sometime we lose perspective of that when we’re in our own struggles. Tough situations in the US is mostly surmountable and we just have to keep working at it.

krantcents
krantcents
8 years ago

I am a planner by nature and always plan for a variety of scenarios. In difficult times, you need to make yourself invaluable. I always have a Plan B just in case.

cathleen
cathleen
8 years ago
Reply to  krantcents

I think this way also and am surprised that many people don’t. I owned a restaurant and always had Plan B, Plan C and even Plan Z! And I never thought because I planned something in one way that that was the only way for it to be a successful outcome. I saw this up close and personal while working on an event with a relative who completely stressed out when things did not go exactly as she put them on paper. Complete and utter stress and anxiety. Being comfortable with ambiguity is a good trait to work on, for… Read more »

bethh
bethh
8 years ago

Thank you for this. I’m in the middle of making my own luck and am feeling the stress/excitement/uncertainty/dread/sleeplessness. But I’ve been feeling stuck for a long time and HAVE to believe that action is the better choice in the long run!

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  bethh

It helps to remind ourselves that even a lateral move is action. Maybe not forward-motion action, but action nonetheless.
Treading water like mad is pretty active, too. But it beats sinking.

Allyson
Allyson
8 years ago

This was a FABULOUS article! I try hard to be pro-active in life and work for what I have, and plan for the future. My husband lost his job a few years ago when we had horrible debt, and it spurred us to really stick to a budget and decrease our debt. I think I’m a much happier person because of being proactive and trying to make the best of bad situations, and figure out what we will do differently, rather than sit around and mope. I will say that I have been pretty lucky because nothing too catastrophic has… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Allyson

As noted, job loss and the resultant budgeting positioned you for what came next: being “a much happier person.” Well done, you.

Kathleen @ Frugal Portland
Kathleen @ Frugal Portland
8 years ago

Play the hand you’ve been dealt and always keep an eye out for more opportunities. VERY well said.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago

As long as people realize that “Play the hand you’re dealt” doesn’t mean, “You’re screwed and always will be.”
It’s not an admonition to ACCEPT bad circumstances. Merely to acknowledge where you are and figure out how to get somewhere else.
In the past eight years I’ve found that it’s easier to admit being scared than to fight being scared. But the fear no longer paralyzes me (for long, anyway). These days it energizes me: “OK, so I hate feeling this way. What can I do to change the situation, even in a small way?”

BD
BD
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

Sometimes it’s so hard to not believe the “You’re screwed and you’ll always be” sort of believing. I’ve been struggling most of my life (I’m middle-aged now) to get out of bad situations, without much luck. Everything that could go wrong in life has gone wrong…had to give up a child due to poverty, had to go through a divorce due to the husband having near-incurable addictions that kept getting him jailed, have had horrible health problems, and have not been able to find a job for that past 8 years (am going back to college for a second degree… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  BD

You’re not imagining things: Life HAS been hard for you. The piece was not intended as a blame-the-victim exercise. The “Sometimes, shit just happens” part is very real.
Self-awareness is key. The fact that you’re reading a PF site indicates that you’re looking for answers. I wish I could offer them in a way that would make a difference right this second. Obviously no one can do that. I do hope you will keep finding ways to improve your life.

BD
BD
8 years ago
Reply to  BD

Thanks, Donna, for the encouraging words. I appreciate it. 🙂
I’ll just keep trying to improve my situation for as long as I can.

Tori
Tori
8 years ago

Donna, I think I love you. Ultra-planners and control freaks like me need to remember these things.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Tori

As someone who in the past spun her Anxiety Wheels almost constantly, I hear you.
Sometimes I still do that “oh-no-now-what” thing when a wild card is flung onto the Poker Table of Life. I have to remind myself that all the energy I put toward anxiety would be better spent elsewhere.
Not easy, but ultimately more productive.

Sleeping Should Be Easy
Sleeping Should Be Easy
8 years ago

This was so me these past few weeks. I had an allergic rash and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the heck was causing it. For a while, I was a moper. I hate getting sick in any way, so for me to have some random itch and rash was making me miserable. Eventually, with the encouragement of my husband, I started developing a plan. I’m still not out of the hole just yet, but I was able to solve a ton of mysteries and put my anxiety at ease (mostly). And the cool thing was that… Read more »

Carla
Carla
8 years ago

Thank you, Donna! I really needed to hear this today (and most days). Sometimes I do wonder what decisions I’ve made in my life for XYZ to happen. At the same time I know despite what I’ve been taught by parents, teachers, authority figures, “experts”, etc, some things are not my fault.

We live in the society of “look in the mirror” and though we make decisions on a daily basis that may not be the wisest, many thing are out of our control.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Carla

There’s a persistent U.S. ethos that if you don’t succeed it’s your own damn fault. But I agree with you that some things really ARE out of our control.
Wresting back such control of our lives as is possible is a daily battle. I don’t think any of us ever win that particular war decisively.
We can, however, kick ass in a series of skirmishes. And that is my plan.

Adam
Adam
8 years ago

Thoughtful article! It reminds me what a key role resiliency plays in success. And as you suggest, the way to resiliency is by determining what are the steps to move forward. Simple advice, hard to follow.

Sandra Hale
Sandra Hale
8 years ago

I love this article!!!! I have hundreds of former nursing students who are just starting out their lives, graduate school, marriage, babies, and jobs. They are my facebook friends and I shared this article with all!! I told everybody to read this article.
Thank You Donna….excellent writing!!

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Sandra Hale

No, thank YOU, Sandra.

schmei
schmei
8 years ago

Donna Freedman for President! Er, wait, I think that would be a bad thing happening to a good person. Anyway, fame and fortune to you, lady. I just love your writing, and this piece comes at the perfect time.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  schmei

I’m glad it helped you help yourself.

stellamarina
stellamarina
8 years ago

Reminds me of a book I read many years ago…”Everyone needs a kick in the pants” or something like that. The idea was that having a bad shock in life kicks you into action which always works to make you stronger and better. I especially agree with your statement that a decade after your problem you will look back and be amazed at how it changed your life and set new good things into action. 20 years ago, my husband lost his VP job which also meant that we lost the house that went with the job. we floundered around… Read more »

Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
8 years ago

Wow! I absolutely love this quote: But just as silence equals consent, inaction equals surrender.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago

Thanks, Jenna.
Let me be clear: Inaction may be due to a lot of things. Illness, fatigue or the fact that every moment of every day is incredibly fraught (ex: low-wage single working parent of a special-needs child).
Whether or not there’s a reason for the inaction, the result is the same: You are giving up any hope for positive change. (Ask me how I know.)

Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

I get that. I just think some people take my silence (when I’m processing things) as consent. It something I’m working on. This quote is a good reminder / mantra.

Cheryl
Cheryl
8 years ago

Loved every word of this.

I have a sister that believed the world owes her and continues to screw over everyone in her path. Then she wonders why no one wants anything to do with her in her time of “need”. We were all raised in the same house. I feel she should get over it and turn her life around, herself.
Blessing to your family/friends that understand that.
“Rollover Mopes”. I love that.

Cheryl
Cheryl
8 years ago

May I add that I was going to recommend you for Writer until I looked back at the intro and saw that you already are. More please.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl

I write every other week, so see you soon.
In the meantime, hope you’ll scroll back through some of my other GRS pieces.

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

Also her excellent blog, surviving and thriving (linked in her name there), and MSN pieces. It is hard to get enough Donna Freedman (I’ve been a fangirl since her early MSN days!)

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Aw, shoot… [[blushes]] Thanks.

Ash (in US)
Ash (in US)
8 years ago

“…say this: Bring your own ladder. Better yet, kick that sumbitchen door down…”

This was my absolute favorite line in the article. Get up and do something! 🙂

Rusty
Rusty
8 years ago

Donna, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this article and for me to read it today. I recently have been totally defeated, bigtime. I’ve done the what if’s, why me’s, etc… There was a time in my life when I said, “it can’t get any worse” and then it did.. so I never say that again. Your article uplifted me today when I really needed it. I read something else today that said, “If your miserable, make a change. And if your miserable with that change, make another one.” So baby steps and making small changes.… Read more »

Debbie
Debbie
8 years ago

The hardest things I’ve gone through in life were what taught me the most….and I wouldn’t be who I am today without the experiences (cliches and all!)

Wonderful post, Donna!

Tonya
Tonya
8 years ago

Thanks for this. I especially love the quote about “There is no ‘what if.’ There is only ‘what is.” Sometimes we need that smack in the head that says, “Hey, wake up and deal with life!” Thanks for giving that to us!

imelda
imelda
8 years ago

Personally, I found this article depressing and fatalistic.

Lolo
Lolo
8 years ago
Reply to  imelda

I have to agree. Plus, this does not fall into line with the serious financial discussions that I’ve come to expect from GRS (although my interest has begun to slip as of late).

Kenny Viccens
Kenny Viccens
8 years ago

I enjoyed most of the article right up until the time the author revealed her atheism. I stopped cold when she wrote. “Don’t sit around waiting for some celestial locksmith to open it…” Earlier, in the prior sentence the author cited “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” I am smart enough to catch the linkage between God and the “celeastial locksmith.” Yuck.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Kenny Viccens

I am not an atheist; in fact, I go to church regularly. See comment #70 for an explanation of the celestial locksmith.

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