Sunday, December 13, 2009

Best of 2009: Challenge

Gwen Bell is hosting a Best of 2009 series on her blog (click here) and the prompt for December 9 is CHALLENGE defined as: Something that really made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?

Here's my thought and I'd love to hear yours:

2009 will not go down as my favorite year ever but it definitely offered me many challenges .... from the loss of my home, my favorite aunt, my dog and my dream of "happily ever after." But, which challenge really made me grow? That honor would have to go to living alone and being totally responsible for myself. Over the past year, I've struggled with loneliness and gradually let it become my guide. It has led me into a deeper understanding of myself and it has led me out into the world where I've met wonderful new people, in person and online. I now find myself coming closer to the frequently quoted cliche of "being alone without being lonely." I don't think I (or anyone else) ever comes completely to that bright state but I am making progress.

For the past three weeks, I've been visiting friends and family in California and yesterday I think I turned a corner. As I was getting ready to set off to the next point on my journey, three warning lights lit up on my dashboard. I panicked and started thinking about what man I could call to rescue me. That lasted a few minutes, then I pulled out my computer, located the local Toyota dealer, called their service department and talked to Molly. Molly told me that I could come in and spend $98 to get a system check ... but that the most likely cause was that I had left the gas cap loose the last time I filled up. I checked the gas cap ... it was loose so she advised me to drive around for a couple of days to see if the lights went off.

Bottom line: I survived. I used resources available to me and found a way to rescue myself instead of depending on someone else. It felt good ... it feels like I'm growing thanks to a challenge I would never have chosen but which is turning out to be a great teacher.


  1. This has been some year for you, Joyce. I think you're doing beautifully. I've gone through the same or similar events and know well what you describe. I also know how good a feeling it is to, as you say, "rescue myself", to be who I am for me, to know I can survive on my own. It's that feeling of being WoW that Louise describes. Namaste.

  2. Hello my lovely friend.

    So. Just so you know. I did spend the $98 for the system check only to discover -- my gas cap wasn't tight. Yup. Driving down a major artery into the downtown core. That little light terrified me. I happened to pass my car dealer. Immediately turned around. Pulled into the garage and said. HELP! For $98 they helped me discover something I didn't know. Cool :)

    I 'hear' a book merging out of this year Joyce. Like Joan Anderson's, A Year By The Sea -- a powerful story of discovering what living true to oneself.

    I'm so grateful to have met you in this year. You are awesome -- A real WoW! :)

  3. Louise ... we keep having these amazing coincidences! My little warning lights are still on but your comment makes me relax a little and hope that they will go off soon. I think all of us ... you, Diane, Maureen and I should write a book. What wisdom could emerge from such a collaboration!

  4. lol -- and coincidence keeps coinciding. I just wrote to Maureen in an email -- Diane and Joyce and you and me -- A Spring Fling Quartet in Calgary.

    There's a reason...

    More to come...

    A little mystery is good for the soul.

  5. Louise ... what a tease you are! I'm definitely waiting to hear more.

  6. Losing my job of 18 years back in March was not good considering the job climate and my age. When I discovered blogging and all the contacts and information that comes with it things started looking up. I'm writing like I've never written before and sensing new possibilities for 2010.

    By the way----
    check out the VBT Writers on the Move blog today. I won an opportunity to be profiled on their site and it appears today: