By Lauren Hanington
As children, most of us enjoyed a happy, carefree existence. Why not? We didn’t have to worry about doing laundry, running errands, or paying rent. We lived in the here and now. As for the future… we had our whole lives ahead of us. Sure, we might have occasionally thought about adulthood as we ran around the playground or had sleepovers with our friends, but it was usually with excitement and bright-eyed optimism. Being an adult was going to be absolutely wonderful.
Although I was not one to officially map out my life, I had a general idea of how it was going to play out. Suffice it to say, life did not go the way I thought it would—not even remotely. To this day, it still has not gone how I imagined it would as a child. At least now I finally have a bit more wisdom and understanding, if not patience and clarity.
Shortly before and for awhile after college, when I found myself in a city or job I did not like, I would ask myself “why?” “Why am I here in this city? Why am I working at this job I dislike so much?” “How will this help me get to where I want to be in life?” My restlessness and unhappiness made me question the path my life had taken. It was not a bad path by any means, but it was definitely a detour from what I imagined as a kid.
Despite the fact that life has not gone how I planned, I have been able to grow from every experience, set back, and hurdle. I have been able to look back at every detour and meandering path my life has taken and find something good in it—or, at the very least, glean a life lesson from it. Whether it was earning college credit while still in high school, moving to a new city where I did not know anybody, or working at a stressful job for a difficult boss, life has provided me numerous learning experiences and growth opportunities with each “trial” that has been thrown in my path.
In the moment, we may not always be aware of how an experience is shaping us or providing us with valuable life lessons. These gems are sometimes not clear until we have moved on to the next phase of our life. Only then do we realize that the job, city, or experience we bemoaned was a blessing in disguise.
So, the next time you find yourself in a job you cannot wait to leave or dealing with people that make you want to tear your hair out in frustration, take a deep breath, step back and look for the positive domino effect that will result from the current negative. Then, while you are implementing your move to bigger and better things, you will find comfort in knowing that no situation or experience is ever wasted.
By Victor Palomares
Not sure how 2016 treated you but my year punched me in the mouth and took my lunch money. I lost my business, my beautiful dog and best bud of 13 years Tacoma died, had family issues and if I had a girlfriend she probably would have left me. I pretty much lived a Country song now that I think of it! I really want a drink or 5 but I won't. I will skip “happy hour” this time around and keep fighting for “happy life”.
This month I celebrate my 40th birthday and 4 years of sobriety! I am extremely PROUD to share this because I am not ashamed to say this year was one of the hardest during my journey. Four years ago I gave myself the gift of truly working on the “inner me,” those negative voices of sabotage that would consistently sneak up as my “enemy”. I traded in the booze for books and started researching WHY I would fall back into my funks of depression and unexplained sadness & anger in which for many years I would use that casual drink to numb the pain and mask the true issue. I was sick and tired of living a lie. The lie that I am living this life all figured out.
Sorry to break it to you students, family and friends I don’t have all the answers. Even though I am a Teacher, Coach, have walked on fire with Tony Robbins, read every book in the self help section at the book store, meditate, do yoga, watched The Secret a gazillion times and eat my vegetables in my Hulk Hogan shirt I still fall on my face over and over again.
Yes, I have had good runs at success and happiness but then I seem to sabotage it and go back to square one. Broke, busted and disgusted with myself leading me to darkness and a whole new $1,000 motivational seminar to get out of it. I hid a lot of this pain from my friends for years because I was usually the one passing around the Coronas getting us into the next good time or kicked out of the good time. Now everyone thinks I’m a born again librarian preaching the streets with my “You can do it!” chant!
In 2016 I am not embarrassed to say I hit a wall and the chant got tired. I didn’t go back to drinking but I did go back to questioning many things in my life. Do people only call me for a good time? Do people only talk to me when they need something? Who actually cares for Victor and his dreams and darkness? Who is actually there for me when I fall? Who truly has my back? Is this sober and nice guy life really worth it? Why do I still struggle? Why are other people winning faster than me? Why should I forgive people who hurt me? Why do I keep pretending to be ok when I hurt so much inside? How can I really help these teens nationwide as my savings account dissipates? Why am I so tired? Why, why, why?
This year a dug deeper into my heart, my happiness, my joy, my God and not just my library and motivational seminar notes. Truth is you can read every book in the world but the truth is not in the self help section in the bookstore, it’s “in your heart”. Make this year the year you listen to the positive self loving voices in your heart. Listen for the things that truly make you happy and follow them. If you need to cut bad habits out of your life to hear them like I did with my sobriety, DO IT. If you need help and support, don’t judge yourself, DO IT! If you want to do yoga and read the self help books, DO IT. If you need to forgive someone who hurt you, DO IT. If you want to start that business, launch that non-profit, write that book, sing that song, cry and eat ice cream, DO IT DO IT DO IT. Do it all and don’t judge your journey! Please know there is no perfect formula and the true beauty and buzz in it all (minus the hangover) is being beautiful, messy, vulnerable, self loving, learning, experiencing and growing YOU. Such a gift we are! Such blessing it is! I am so excited to hear about all your experiences in 2017. Reach out! Say hi! We are all in this together!
P.S Love you some you!
Your new friend Victor!
Victor Palomares is a motivational speaker for teens and an anti-bullying activist. You can follow him on Facebook at Kindegarten CEO, and on Instagram at kindegartenceo. One of Victor's best known mantras is: "I'm not saying I'll personally change the world but I GUARANTEE I'll spark the teen that will!"
Note from Tom at Eternal Roots: Victor and I grew up in the same town in Los Angeles, but we went to separate elementary schools and did not know each other. I moved from LA to San Diego just before junior high, when we would have met each other. My best friends from grade school became Victor's best friends. Victor and I connected about 5 years ago through a mutual friend, and we coincidentally joined the same network marketing company at the same time.
I have always found Victor's content to be positive, engaging and uplifting. He is a beacon of positive in a sea of negative. Victor's post is a valuable reminder that no matter how strong we appear publicly, we are all fighting our own battles, internal and external. Even highly respected leaders like Victor face challenges and failures, and this is a reminder that setbacks only make us stronger. Having a firm grounding in personal development and an ability to listen to your heart will enable you to overcome anything.
Do you have positive, inspiring, engaging content to share? Do you have a business or project that might be of interest to my readers? I have created a Guest Blog category because I want to give you a platform to share.
I might do some minor editing and insert some of my own commentary, but I am open to featuring your content here! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea.
About the Blog
Here I write about the evolution of this project, the act of preserving life stories and personal development. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.