It’s strange how, when you least expect it, your life is redirected because of a chance meeting.
This particular time, was different, however, because it actually changed my life.
Many years ago, I spoke to a group of women on Managing Life’s Transitions and a well-groomed, attractive woman, named Grace, came up to me after my presentation.
She, too, is a lecturer, but she speaks on nutrition and health.
She said she just returned from a lecture tour around Europe. She has a master’s degree in Nutritional Science and was back in school for another master’s in Psychology. I found her to be extremely interesting and was very impressed with her vibrant personality and inspiring message.
It seems that when she stopped smoking, she put on about 30 pounds, which was a lot for this small-framed woman. With determination and drive, she said she lost the weight and has kept it off for all these years. I asked her how she did it. “It wasn’t that hard”, she said. “I was tired of being unhealthy, with high blood pressure and arthritis. I could barely keep up with my children. In addition, I was going through a divorce, with all the difficulties and trauma one could experience. So, I decided to change my lifestyle and my attitude and made a personal commitment to be true to myself, no matter what.”
She said, “Sure, there were hard times, disappointing times, but I pushed through them, knowing that on the other side, there was my new life – one based on gratitude, appreciation and enjoyment.” She insisted I guess her age. With her gray hair and delicately wrinkled complexion, I guessed 70-72. She was actually 91. I was very impressed!
I learned a lot from our chance meeting that day.
This dynamic woman possessed certain qualities that enabled her to age gracefully, without the “battle “most of us experience. What was it that allowed her to be so resilient during her most challenging and difficult times? How was she able to overcome her obstacles, deal with adversity, bounce back after disappointment and still be able to persevere?
Apparently, Grace picked up skills over her lifetime that gave her a strong determination and commitment to work through whatever crisis she faced. She took the stumbling blocks out of her way and turned them to her advantage, by staying motivated, in control and positive. She believed in herself, took care of herself and learned to persevere, focusing on the end result with faith and conviction.
What can we learn from Grace? That setbacks do not mean failure, nor do they mean defeat and that a wonderful attitude about life can transcend all the adversity we may encounter along the way!