When I was younger, I thought by 40 years old I would be well on my way to the quint essential “American Dream.” You know…the family with two kids, a house with a white picket fence and your neighbor Joe, who you say hello to over the hedge every afternoon when coming home from work. This was the vision I had in my mind from a young age growing up in the 80’s. Right around the end of the first half, assuming I will be blessed enough to live into old age, life changed and the reality of separation and divorce soon set in.
I quickly found myself in a battle for my life. On one end was depression, trying to suffocate any hope and dreams that I had left. On the other end was happiness and a new fulfilled life. The challenge for me was that new life full of everything I could make of it seemed so far away.
Make no mistake - rebuilding is an extreme challenge. Starting back at the beginning is life’s way of punching you in the face really hard. After some evaluating though, I asked myself –
“Is it really like starting back at the beginning?” “Or is it really just starting new?”
Gary Vaynerchuk talks about loving the process of building a business. I started to relate that to my new journey and I realized that in order for me to build this new life with my two daughters I needed to fall in love with the process and start playing the long game. I needed to start enjoying the moments I have with my daughters at the park and at the beach. I needed to enjoy the simple times of movie night, when they are both sitting by my side on the couch and relaxing. My family structure had changed and so did my living arrangements, but I realized those changes should not alter the atmosphere I create for my daughters. Yes, I went from owning a house to living in an apartment but it’s the climb back up that matters the most. Life will knock you down many times, but how we respond creates our character. Our children are watching how we respond and I want my daughters to see just how one should respond when life punches you in the face.
Coming into the second half of my life, I felt like I’m down “28 - nothing.” I learned though that you can still win being down at halftime. There is so much time left and so much life has to offer I now feel blessed to have a second chance, a clean slate at starting over. I now see it as an opportunity to show my daughters anything in life is possible if you just focus and work hard at what you want. Most importantly though, if you start loving the process and find your passion anything in life is possible and the reality is - that “American Dream,” it’s not scripted set aside in some box for you to unwrap one day when you’re ready. It’s whatever dream you have and whatever reality you want to create.