Thankful - lessons I've learned to stay whole and healthy

Image from Lauren Conrad.com 
It's been ages since I posted an article on this blog. There are many reasons for this - health, work, family. Family most of all. My parents are aging rapidly and they need my help, and I've undergone a couple of operations, one on my right knee, which hasn't improved the situation much. From your comments I see that I have hit quite a few nerves, so I will continue.

Enough about me. I realized today - Thanksgiving 2013 - how thankful I am for so many things. It's been 12 years since my divorce and I now think of myself as a single woman of independent means through hard work and personal effort. There are times when I miss my ex with a longing that I can't explain, but at other times I realize that he is the one who is missing out on spending the rest of his life with me, someone who adored and loved him with all her heart.

I used to sing to him :"Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?" Guess not.

Today, on this day of thanks, I am thankful for:

3. Gainful employment. I've been on the road for 5 weeks, spending only 6 days at home. My job is fulfilling, if not hectic, and comes with full benefits. Better yet, it's survived this terrible economy. Oh, I've worked hard to keep my position, attending classes over the years to receive graduate certificates and going to conferences and workshops. As I age (it gets harder by the years to keep up with the "young-uns") I struggle to maintain my energy. My young colleagues are full of vigor and new ideas, and have no trouble multi-tasking during the day and playing hard at night. While they attend parties and events and go to restaurants, I spend my weekends recouping my energy and harvesting my resources. Still, I feel proud that I landed on my feet. My ex and my friends never predicted that I would amount to anything much in the workplace - but here I am - working with programs across the state, providing resources and technical advice and training, and working with top state agencies. Sometimes I pinch myself and say, "You go, girl."

I attribute my success to those bleak days after my divorce, when the only thing I had going for me was hard work. A friend of mine is experiencing tough emotional times and is begging me to pile the work on so she can keep busy. I get where she's coming from.

2. My health. After my divorce I concentrated on exercising and eating well - habits that are saving me now. If you are going through the trauma of divorce, don't neglect your physical well being. Walking, exercising at the gym, biking, running, lifting weights - all these physical exertions will give you a sense of control during a time when you feel as if the rug has been pulled from under you. Drinking, smoking, and eating excessively will work against you. I know. I've tried all three tactics. You need to stay healthy and feed your brain to think clearly. You are fighting for your survival during this difficult period, and this is no time to resort to "easy" solutions. Oh, these days my health isn't what it should be. I have high blood sugar, could lose 25 lbs, and suffer from a bum knee and asthma. Nevertheless, I can walk 2-3 miles at a clip, still work like a work horse, and have fooled others into thinking that I am 15 years younger than my real age. I attribute my health to the good habits I've maintained 80% of my adult life.

1. Family. When all is said and done, family keeps us strong. Friends come and go. Family is forever. I learned this late in life. My ex did not like my family. For 20 years I was lucky to see them 2 or 3 times per year. While they tried to love Bob, his distant attitude was off putting. One last remark he made, meant to be derogatory, was that "You are just like your mother." YES, I AM. And gratefully so. Mom is beloved by friends and family. My nieces and nephews from distant lands call her regularly and take vacation time to see her at great cost.While my ex saw a foreign woman with no extraordinary skills, others see my mom as a good listener and loving, kind-hearted soul. The gift of divorce was this - I regained my family. This Thanksgiving I am surrounded by a brother and sister-in-law, nieces and nephew, grand nieces and nephews, and parents who embrace me. I visit once or twice a month and am surrounded by love. Yet, when I was married, all I heard was complaints about their shortcomings. I loved my ex's parents and siblings. What is even more interesting is that this year his niece and brother have visited me, telling me how much they miss me and how much they miss him. He has lost contact with them, while I have not.

Riches are not in things - they are in the people you love - your family and friends and neighbors. This Thanksgiving I am so grateful for so many blessings. I wish you and yours well! - Vic

P.S. My sincere apologies for the spam. I was not aware of the enormous number of spam comments, which I have largely removed. I will be more vigilant from now on. Your heartfelt and earnest conversation should not be cheapened by the self-serving comments that littered this blog.