This hardship that you’re going through, whatever it might be–I want you to know that you will overcome it, and you’ll be okay on the other side.
I know, it sounds like some cheesy garbage that motivational speakers write just to get clicks. It sounds like it lacks substance or is ingenuine. Admittedly, many times in my life, I’ve rolled my eyes at posts like this. Because when you’re in the middle of a hardship, let’s face it. No one feels like it’s happening for a reason or that it’s making you stronger. It just sucks.
Still, I stand behind that first paragraph because it’s true. It really is. I stand here before you as someone who has come out the other side of some tough years and can honestly say even though I didn’t think it would all be okay, it is. Better than okay, even.
We all have our own struggles on our journey. This isn’t a post to compare those struggles. Some certainly have more difficult stories than ours, and some have seemingly “easier” ones. We all suffer through our own hardships in our own ways. They change us. They break us. They threaten our confidence.
Our struggles started in 2019 when my husband lost his job of ten years due to a furlough. Suddenly, the life of security and stability we had grown accustomed to was ripped out from under us. We’d done all the things we were supposed to do. We’d lived safely. We had grown complacent in our lives, looking back, because we thought our stability was untouchable.
Then, my husband got furloughed. We told ourselves it would be fine. It would be a few months of regrouping. It might have been. But then something called COVID hit the world, and everything sort of stopped.
It was a long journey over the next few years. What we thought would be a couple months of job searching for him to find his new place in the workforce took several years, several different jobs, and several different periods of asking: Who am I now? He went through a struggle trying to figure out who he was now that his career he thought he’d have forever was gone. As any job loss is, it was stressful and filled with anxiety that was compounded by the world pandemic constantly adding to the uncertainty. It was a long road.
In the middle of it all, my beloved mastiff, Henry, my best friend, got sick and passed in 2021. My world shattered. I know he was “just a dog” to some, but to me, he was my rock. He was there for all of our firsts—first houses, first jobs, first holidays in our house. He was there during all of our crumbling moments–the lost job, the world pandemic, the fear. He was just always there.
And then he wasn’t. I was devastated.
There were many dark moments after he was gone, and there were hard times even after my new best friend, Edmund, came into the picture. The thing is–things were different, the whole way around. Chad was finding himself after losing his job of ten years. I was finding myself after losing my best friend. We were both trying to adjust to a life that felt unstable thanks to COVID and just because of the sheer realization that at any moment, your carefully laid out plans could be changed.
Still, we stand here now, almost three years after that devastating job loss that triggered several years of change, to tell you: it’s going to be okay. Because it was. Through the hard times, we learned so much.
We learned that sometimes change is good. Yes, there were times we mourned for the stable simplicity of our past life. We yearned for it. But we both have changed so much these past few years and have learned that change isn’t a bad thing. Our lives look different now. He has a new job which he loves more than his first one–like really, truly loves. And I still miss Henry, but I have a new best friend who challenges me in completely new ways. He pushes me to be more patient, understanding, and to be a better dog trainer. We've both learned not to take the simple, calm days for granted. We've both learned what really matters and how financial peace of mind is one of the best gifts you can work towards for yourself. We learned, though, that even in years of just getting by, our love and relationship was still strong.
We learned that change is uncomfortable, and that’s okay. The hard times really do force you to figure out who you are, what makes you happy, and what parts of your old life maybe were holding you back. We are both so much more confident in who we are and what we want now. We’ve found peace with the fact that life is unpredictable. Jobs change. The people around you change. But who you are at your core doesn’t, and hopefully, who you are as a couple doesn't, either.
Hardship is, as the name implies….hard. It doesn’t matter what that hardship is, either. It can be a lost job, a lost family member, or a loss of passion. It can simply be feeling like you’re drowning in to-do lists or the hardship of losing sight of who you are. It can be health issues or a broken car or just one little thing after the other. The thing I’ve come to understand is, big or small, we’re all handling hardship in some way. Because of that, it can be so easy to want to throw in the towel, to say that adult life sucks, and that there is no joy.
But I hope today, you hang in there. I hope you know that even if you can’t see it now, there will be a day when you stand on the other side of these days, weeks, months, or even years, and you breathe in easily. You’ll be able to see how much you’ve evolved, how you have strengthened, and how you have a whole new perspective. You’ll still mourn for the “easier” times sometimes. You’ll still wonder what would’ve happened if things didn’t fall apart.
But I promise you…you’ll also be able to see that there is beauty in every single choice on your life path, whether you make the choice or not. There is something to be learned, something to be gained, always. It just takes time.
Sometimes change is hard. Sometimes we don’t want to. Sometimes life makes us.
Still, change, when it’s all said and done, can be a beautiful thing you didn’t even know you wanted.
USA TODAY Bestselling Thriller author with Avon Books (HarperCollins), The Widow Next Door, The Diary of a Serial Killer's Daughter, and other creepy thriller books