31: A Real Turnaround

31: A Real Turnaround

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness

A Real Turnaround

Chase down your passion like it’s the last bus of the night.

~Terri Guillemets

My writing career began ten years ago with my slice-of-life articles published locally and nationally. As a beginning writer, I was happy to be on my way, writing and learning as much as I could. With two little kids underfoot, as well as working full-time, it was a challenge to find time to write, but I managed.

I was soon discovering the power and effect of my words on others, translating to why I was writing; to entertain, inspire, and motivate others. Readers telling me they laughed, cried or were inspired by my personal articles only reinforced these reasons. I discovered WHY I was writing in the first place.

But they didn’t know what was really going on behind the typewriter.

I was faced with many challenges, depression being one of them. A series of events had me questioning myself and my abilities, jeopardizing my happiness. I was not a happy mommy, and even though I tried to keep joy in the house, I knew it wasn’t the same. I had no spark, and found it difficult to enjoy the everyday little things in life. My writing life stalled, then stopped, and I didn’t write much for two years. I lost the passion and reason of why I was writing in the first place, and forgot the joy it gave me and others. And just to compound things, I gained weight — the most I had weighed in my lifetime.

In short, I was not a happy person.

But slowly I crept out of the darkness, one step at a time, one word a time.

I learned I had to be in control of my own happiness if I was to feel better, be a more engaged mom, and have a happier life.

I started walking, establishing a routine — or trying to at least. A few years had gone by during these challenging times so my kids had gotten older, and I was able to escape for short periods. I traded early-morning television news on the couch and sipping tea, for running shoes, rain and sometimes snow. I got out there and walked, rain or shine, maybe not every morning, but at least every other morning. It cleared my head, allowed me time to think, gave me fresh air and fortitude, and made me feel invigorated and healthy. I was eating wisely, and the weight started to go. Slowly the walking gave way to a running-kind of thing; I am not a marathoner, and my style of running was, and still is, not attractive. But it worked for me. It put a spring in my step, and gave me energy and spark to get out and do things with my kids — and enjoy it.

But I was still missing one integral part of myself — my passion.

I started writing again, and rediscovered how much happiness it gave me. I had started a new job, joined a monthly writing chapter, and was determined to keep up my walking/running routine. Finding balance was sometimes difficult in juggling my family, my job, and my walking/running routine. But I was determined to fit in writing time — because it made me happy. Early mornings had me pounding the pavement, not only because it was the perfect solitary time to do it, but because that was the only time I could do it. There was no reason why I couldn’t also be writing in the early mornings when the world was asleep. Sure I loved to watch the news and have my tea, but that wasn’t my passion — that wasn’t what made me truly happy.

The solution? I set the alarm just a bit earlier and either wrote on the alternate mornings when I wasn’t walking, or I would squeeze in some writing time after my time outside.

Through all this, I learned that happiness does not take a lot of hard work, but it needs to be worked on — created and controlled by me. I created my own happiness, and in turn, I have been more involved with my kids, more focused on them when they need me. I had to sacrifice sitting on the couch every morning with my tea and the television news playing, and get out there and do something that would foster my happiness.

It has gone full circle. My own happiness has showed through in my mothering and through my family, my job performance and my attitude towards challenging situations. I again have readers telling me the effect my writing has had on them, with some able to get on with their own writing because of my inspirational/motivational articles. I laugh more, and my kids laugh with their happier mother.

It was up to me to make it happen — my own happiness. One step at a time — one word at a time.

And I did.

~Lisa McManus Lange

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