I rarely jog, I’m much more of a swimmer. A few weeks ago, I decided to take a few laps around the small track at my gym. As I jogged around the corner, the sun was streaming in the windows, warming a 15 yard stretch of the path. As the light hit my face, I had a flashback to a moment almost a year ago.
It’s funny how memories are triggered. For a few seconds, it was as if the linear stream of time folded like a ribbon and transported me back. Last February, I had stopped in the same place while jogging to take the above photo. The same afternoon sun was streaming through the gym window. When I got home, I started a blog post titled “The Light at the End of the Tunnel.”
The post was about a moment of realization I had just before taking the photo. At the end of 2011, I made some big changes to slow down my work and spend more time with my kids. The alterations to my work life and income were a long time in coming and were the culmination of much deliberation. The hope was to write more, blog often and find better balance. After a number of weeks with my new schedule, I was feeling healthy, happy and confident. As I turned the corner of that gym track, the sunlight hit my face and I thought to myself, “I feel the light at the end of the tunnel.” The post was meant to encourage others to harness the power they have over their choices and their lives and to make positive change happen for themselves.
Just a few weeks after taking the photo and before I finished the post, my world was shaken. One year ago today, my husband unexpectedly lost his job. And, because of the type of banking he did, the prospects of finding a new job quickly weren’t good. Immediately, my new balance and less rigorous work schedule came to an end as I sought new clients and work to increase our income.
My confidence and control suddenly felt so false. Initially, I began 2012 thinking I had learned such valuable lessons about my ability to make change. With the flip of a switch, I was reeling with the aftermath of total lack of control. As the year progressed, we rallied and decided to turn our lemons into lemonade. We launched our new company, U.S. of Awesome, hoping to spread hope and optimism rather than wallow in our problems. Looking back, I think we might have still been in shock to think that we could handle two little kids and two businesses. The following months were filled with challenges, exhaustion and a seemingly unfair dose of additional bad news from family and friends. Luckily, we were bathed in unconditional love and found reservoirs of strength we didn’t know we had.
A few weeks ago, when I again found myself passing through the light of the afternoon sun as I jogged around the track, I melted back in time to the photo I had taken a year earlier. I chuckled to myself as I remembered the blog post I never finished and then found myself in the present with a new realization. The light isn’t the end of the tunnel. There are moments and periods of light through the journey. And, when I find myself in a bright spot, I will bathe in the warmth, knowing that unexpected darkness may be around the corner. Through the year, I have learned not to fear what may lurk ahead. Instead, we have strengthened our faith that we have what it takes to get through difficulties that come our way.
A year ago today, we felt like we were in a tailspin. Though we endured a lot of turbulence, it seems that we may have found a new cruising altitude. Over the past few weeks, a number of signs have suggested that we are regaining some balance. I am a naturally optimistic person and already, the silver linings of our recent challenges are shining so bright that they are helping light our way.