Finding positives in hardships can help one pursue new opportunities
By Tom Blake
As a columnist and a retail business owner, I hear about hardship that happens to people between the ages of 50 and 90 nearly every day.
Some of the news is brutal. People lose their loved ones, pets, jobs or homes. They develop health issues. These things are a part of life and growing old, and my heart aches for them.
When adversity hits us personally, it can be a huge downer, almost more than we can stand. But somewhere in the darkness, sooner or later, a flicker of light will appear. And it’s up to us to seek that light and gather the strength to go on and not give up hope. It may take a long time to get through the grief or to take action to change our lives, but that is easier said than done.
Dee emailed, “Your articles have gotten me through a very difficult time in my life. Eighteen months ago, I left a marriage after 37 years of verbal, emotional and physical abuse.
“In July, I had a coffee date with someone I met online. He is wonderful, fun and so many other things my husband never was. We laugh and talk for hours and I feel so lucky to be with him. Please tell all the ladies out there not to give up. You never know where life may lead you.”
Glen wrote, “I had been in a marriage for more than 23 years when my ex suddenly decided to file for divorce. Although it came as a huge shock to me and all or our friends, I still held out hope that she might come back.
“I went to counseling and did my best to try and understand what was going on and how I would move forward at age 51. I can’t tell you when it happened, but I slowly began to understand that I needed to take charge and make a new life for myself. It took 39 months to complete my divorce, although there were no complicated issues.
“During that time period, I met the absolute love of my life. Thanks for the articles that help people make sense of the sometimes complicated world of dating after 50.”
For a third example, meet Linda. She and I have known one another for close to a quarter of a century. Soon after I opened Tutor and Spunky’s Deli in 1988, Linda and her husband, Joe, started coming in for sandwiches. They owned a produce brokerage business with an office just down Pacific Coast Highway from my shop.
I was impressed with them as a couple: smart, fun, friendly and handsome. Over the years, I lost track of them.
A few weeks ago, I saw Linda at the deli. We had a chance to catch up. She said her life had been difficult recently. I was stunned when she told me Joe suddenly passed away four years ago at age 63. She had moved to a nearby city.
Three years after losing Joe, Linda started to realize that she had to take initiative to change her life. Six months ago she met Pete, a widower, online and they are now a couple, involved in a long-distance relationship. Last week, she brought Pete into the deli to introduce him to me. They have plans for a future together. Both followed the light at the end of the tunnel—and found each other.
Adversity, as tough as it is, often leads to opportunity. It’s up to us to recognize it and pursue it.
To comment, email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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