After A Major Life Setback, Focus On What’s Left, articles,

It’s not wise to compare our situation to others, especially when we are extremely unhappy with our unwrapped and painfully newly opened package named “Our Life”.

Our parents, if they were wise, told us very clearly early on that life will not be fair.

And for most of us, it hasn’t remotely been.

Our parents may tell us many things that ultimately do not come true and is based upon their past and upbringing, sometimes rendered obsolete, but that warning will always ring true.

Great and wonderful it is if we fall on the positive side of that equation and we can have empathy for others but sometimes harsh and seemingly inescapable it can be if we fall on the glass half empty part of it.

You know of many life stories and tales that you can tell and we know of many yarns within our circle that we can spin.

Those stories are real life and tend to be more powerful than reading about it somewhere else or watching it on television.

Sometimes reading about it does help. Isn’t it preferable to learn important lessons as told by others who experienced it, learned from it, grew, moved forward and shared their triumph over tragedy with you?

A book that captivates and speaks to this is titled, If I Stay., articles, Dutton-Penguin-photo-credit

If I Stay is a young adult novel by Gayle Forman published in 2009.

The story follows 17-year-old Mia Hall as she deals with the aftermath of a catastrophic car accident involving her family. Mia is the only member of her family to survive, and she finds herself in a coma.

Through this coma, however, Mia has an out-of-body experience.

At this imaginary portal, she is able to watch the actions around her, as friends and family gather at the hospital where she is being treated.

We follow Mia’s stories and the unfolding of her life through a series of flashbacks.

Mia finds herself stuck between two worlds; the world of the living, and the world of those who have moved on. Mia realizes that she must use her past and her relationships to make a decision for her future. Her options are to stay with her grandparents and the love of her life, Adam, or to move on and avoid the pain of living without her mother, father, and little brother.

It was very important to focus on what is still left.

One of the harsher life experiences that may happen early on, primarily in our twenties or thirties, is when our mate commits adultery or abandons us.

Temporarily, it may seem like the end of the world.

Especially for a woman who felt, of the few men out there that are a superior catch, she just lost a big one and fears having to take out her hook, bait it again and buy into the, there is a lot of fish in the sea, unfortunate theory.

There are also a lot of frogs to kiss in that sea too.

We know of one situation where that happened. We’ll call her Janie.

In her case she not only survived, but thrived.

Her husband had been the primary bread winner, they had a child and she was a part-time stay at home mom so that she could be the primary caregiver with the expectation that more children were to come.

When he cheated on her and they broke up, she really went through some very hard times but she persisted, went back to college, earned a great degree in science, got a great job and never looked back.

As far as marriage, once she started making a good living and could nicely support her daughter, she really wasn’t interested in doing that anymore. She liked being the household boss and a supervisor at work. She loved her independence to travel to foreign countries on 2-3 week paid vacations.

Janie also began to experience and understand what many women do. As far as romance goes, men typically have to woo, wine and dine a woman before there is any possibility of romance.

For a woman it is a lot simpler.

Pick up the phone and call Mr. Right Now and ask him over for dinner.

Janie began to travel the world, often with male friends, loved her job with a very stable organization and never looked back.

Her great decision was to focus on what’s left and what she could rebuild.

That is a very important philosophy.

What was left for her?

Perhaps we’ll start with what she lost.

Just the basics first.

She lost her primary breadwinner which installed a lot of fear in her. Even though she would receive child support, as many women experience, that could be hit and miss.

She felt she lost her status in their upwardly mobile circle but your real friends will stand by you and mostly she married into his circle but still a few of her gal pals really hung in there with her.

Though initially devastated, the more Janie examined her situation, the more she realized what was left was a lot.

Let’s count the ways.

She was extremely good looking.

She was still young.

She was healthy.

She wasn’t broke and had a strong support system in her parents to initially help her through the rough financial patches.

She was undeterred and ambitious, thus going back to college to earn that important degree.

Most important, she had a beautiful daughter., articles,

Janie had a lot.

She focused on what was left and what she could build. She didn’t stay stuck in the past, become bitter and keep bringing up old hurts to new people.

A film that speaks beautifully to something similar is a penetrating indie project named Ruby In Paradise.

Ruby in Paradise is a 1993 film written, directed, and edited by Victor Nunez, and starring Ashley Judd.

An homage to Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, the film is a character study, proceeding at a leisurely pace.

Ruby (Judd) is a young woman in her early 20s and the narrator of the film.

She leaves her small town in Tennessee, landing in Panama City, Florida, a summer resort town she visited as a child. Although she arrives there in fall, at the beginning of the off-season, she gets a job at Chambers Beach Emporium, a souvenir store run by Mildred Chambers.

Over the course of a year she keeps a journal, from which the film’s narration is taken and contemplates her career ups and downs, her love life, her past, and her future.

Some feel this was Ashley Judd’s breakout role, and as we know, she went on to an incredible career starring in block buster Hollywood films like Double Jeopardy, High Crimes, Kiss The Girls and Heat.

Whenever a film receives a stellar review from the incredible team at, that is saying something special. Here is what they had to say about the film. “Ruby in Paradise is a wonderful, life-affirming movie about a young woman who has that kind of luck. It’s a celebration of heart, courage and persistence., articles, Original Cinema Quad Poster – Movie Film Posters

Ruby is filled with stubbornness and pride, and perhaps the best scene in the whole movie comes when Mildred Chambers discovers the truth about Ruby and her son, and goes to visit the young woman, and offers to rehire her. Study that scene – the writing, the acting, the lighting, the direction – and you will be looking at a movie that knows exactly what it is about, and how to achieve it.”

Bravo. High praise indeed.

Please keep saying to yourself over and over.

Focus on what’s left and what you can build on.

No matter your situation, and especially if you are young, the world is still your oyster. When you take stock of your life, post trauma, you might be surprised at what you have left.

One thing is for certain, whatever your positive inventory is, with determination, self-pride, adherence to high standards and never giving up, you may find out something that our real life heroine Janie did.

Leaving her bad situation behind, taking positive stock of her current situation, including having a precious healthy daughter and focusing on her new life, was the best thing that ever happened to her.

At some point, she never looked back., articles,

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