Category Archives: achievements

One Giant Leap For Divorced Mankind

I think, just as either you or your spouse did when this whole thing started, you realize at some point something needs to change. There’s a little “ding” that goes off in your head that tells you; this isn’t working and it’s time to move on. I think for a lot of people the frustration sets in when they can’t decide what that means or what direction to go.

After a divorce, your first item of business is to survive. Your entire focus is adjusting to the new reality and overcoming the fear that your world is going to completely crumble. This is especially true if yours was a twoUnknown-1 income household which is suddenly down to one. Your mind is consumed with how this is going to work. When will you see the kids? Who pays for what? How do I juggle work and childcare? Can I afford it? Is it going to be a daily battle? All of it can scare the crap out of the strongest and most secure individual.

Through the ups and downs of the ensuing months, you find an offbeat rhythm and find yourself kind of making it work. But it still feels uneasy. Your first thought is, it’s time to move on and build a new life. And as anxious as you may be to create this new utopia, walking away from a marriage and attempting to start over is easier said than done; both physically and mentally. And everyone sees it but you.

Eventually, at some point, you wake up and realize you’re in divorce purgatory. You’re no longer married but you haven’t quite rebuilt your life either. You’re sustaining yourself, but not really progressing the way you had been prior to the divorce. You’re kind of stuck somewhere in the middle trying to figure out what’s next and how
do you get to a place that feels like you’re living again. You may even be sitting there wondering, “Is this it? Is this what my life will be from now on?”

Well, you can look at it that way. But to me that’s a sign that you’ve reached a new plateau. Your mind has wrapped its head around the situation and you’ve come to terms with some things that had been difficult to let
images-5go of. Perhaps it was guilt or aspects of your relationship that you were holding on to. In all likelihood you’re ready to move forward, albeit with a very small well thought out step.

I think what you have to decide now is, where do you want to go? As much as you may feel held down by the baggage you now bring to the table, the truth is you’re probably freer than you’ve been in years. You’re making choices and decisions you haven’t had the prviledge of making on your own. Whether the courts decided your time with the kids or you and your ex did; at some point your children will have a choice. The foundation you create today really is up to you. How you move forward is truly your decision, although it may not always feel that way. You can look as things as either a tether or as a blessing. It’s really up to you. Embrace your relationship with your children and ALWAYS put them first. Nothing else matters. I truly believe that. Just remember, there is a balance. You have to have faith in the cosmos. When you have to let go, let go. Just remind your kids how much you love them and how much you love it when they’re with you.

I was once told by a very insightful lady that we attract in life what we truly believe we deserve. At some point you’re going to recognize you deserve better. You’re going to recognize you have more going for you than you realize. You’re going to realize that what you’re managing is awe inspiring. When you reach that plateau and find that inner strength, you’re going to find it much easier to let go of the past and move forward. When you hit that point you’re going to want it all to happen tomorrow. But give it time. Trust it; and yourself. A divorce has a way of forcing you to man up. And once you find that strength my gut says you’re going to find it in you to take that first big step toward building a new and much better life for yourself AND your family.



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Walk A Mile In My Shoes

As a runner I often see parallels between the sport and life. This weekend I recognized another one that I believe is relevant to any single parent, dad OR mom.
Walking to Improve Running460

I used to loath walking during a run. Felt like I was quitting. For me if I didn’t run the complete four miles I was wimping out. To walk was not pushing hard enough. I’ve always been like that in life too. Constantly going and feeling guilty if I stopped to relax and enjoy myself for a moment. I recently read a book about introverts and extraverts and how introverts have periods where they simply need to leave the “party” and recharge. Thirty minutes in another room where it’s quiet and they’re alone. While I’ve always considered myself to be an extravert I believe on some level we all need to recharge from time to time and simply shut out the world. Especially when you have kids running around the house. Trying to keep up the pace of juggling work, the kids and the house can be grueling. It’s something you need to literally train for and sometimes, we need to walk.

And that’s OK.

When training on the pavement, and attempting to teach our bodies and minds to go farther we need to catch our breath from time to time. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If all we do is go hard at it for 3 ss_1miles EVERY time then that’s as far as we’ll ever be able to go. Kids push us to get back up and start running again whether we’re ready or not. So we learn to walk once in a while in between the longer stretches. Can you imagine doing what you’re capable of today three years ago? I remember when we had our third child. One day we only had one of them when two of them were at their great grandmother’s. We realized how easy just one was. But there was a time when “just one” was more than enough.

So this weekend, in an effort to go a little farther, I allowed myself to walk during my run. And you know what? I ended up going twice as far.

As a single parent, I think it’s OK to walk once in a while and recharge. In fact, it’s necessary if you have any chance of learning how to make it through the entire marathon. The secret is to just keep moving forward.



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How Many Graduations Does It Take To Graduate?

When I first sat down to write this, my intention was to poke a little fun at the number of graduations a kid now goes through before even reaching high school. In my head, I always saw graduation as the moment when you’d gone through the entire required educational process and were handed a diploma that would get the truantClose up of a graduation cap and a certificate with a ribbon officer off your back and you could now get a job.

I kind of understood the pre-school graduation and equated it to three-year-olds playing soccer. It was more for the parents than the kids really. But when you add on kindergarten, elementary and middle, it seemed like we were pretty much taking the wind out of the high school graduation sail. I get the whole, “build their self esteem” thing, but at some point it starts to feel like overkill. As I told my daughter, when you run a marathon they don’t hand you medals at the 1 mile, 10 mile, 16 mile and 22 mile marker. They make you go the full 26.2 before you get your accolades and hardware.

So as we entered the gym for my daughter’s fifth grade “recognition” ceremony, I politely placed my soapbox under me and prepared to roll my eyes from time to time. About two kleenexes in I realized I was toast.

Flashbacks of her first days of pre-school and kindergarten flashed through my mind as did all of the times I sat with her in the cafeteria during lunch, fought over what she was going to wear to school and pushed her to finish last minute projects. I thought about all of the music pageants, talent shows, teacher conferences, days getting her on and off the bus. And yes, I got a little emotional more than once.

And that’s when I realized how great it was to experience those emotions knowing we weren’t quite done yet. I was able to triathlon-water-station-by-dominikgoleniaappreciate her milestones without the dreaded, “man that flew by so fast and now she’s gone” moment, which is still several years away. Watching her reach this mile marker, knowing we still had a way to go helped me grasp the fact that I still had time to be with her and enjoy this time of her life with her. And then I glanced at her two younger siblings thinking, “we’re just getting started.” Then I smiled and pushed my soap box under my seat.

Yes, it’s kind of crazy to have graduation ceremonies every few years, but hey, think of them as the water and gatorade stations they have along the marathon course. Sometimes we need a little refreshment to recharge the batteries and prepare us for the next leg of the journey. In this instance that part of the race is middle school. God help us.



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Not Everyone Gets A Trophy

The question comes up from time to time within my family about the value of sports when it comes to kids. I have four older sisters, three of which are or were teachers at one time. The argument of teaching kids about competition and how to lose are sometimes at the forefront. Personally, I think it’s a sin that every kid gets a trophy regardless of whether they win or not. Life isn’t like that. Not everyone gets the gig or a raise. The argument about building self esteem just doesn’t wash for me. I think you can build more esteem by teaching a kid to bounce back from defeat and overcome that feeling of being let down. How you react to failure and
adversity is a skill that needs to be taught at an early age (if you ask me anyway). That’s not to say we shouldn’t be pumping our kids up and reminding them about how great they are, but I think we forget that losing isn’t the end. It’s just part of the journey.

I personally believe that there are countless opportunities to teach our kids life lessons through sports. And if you’re not careful, sometimes you can learn a lesson or two yourself in the process.

Case in point: I was coaching my son’s soccer game over the weekend and had a bit of a revelation. He had struggled in the first half and was playing somewhat passively. His tentative approach had him out of position a great deal of the time and he was growing frustrated that he wasn’t getting the ball very often. I kept encouraging him during the third quarter to go after the ball more when the opposing team had control and to take the ball from them. Basically, telling him that if he wanted the ball, he’d have to fight for it. I reminded him that the other team wasn’t just going to hand it to him and his teammates weren’t going to pass it to him if he wasn’t open.

We talked about awareness and opening his eyes to the big picture and recognizing where he needed to be in order to be the most effective. What did he need to do to help be a more productive and valuable member of the team at any given moment? I told him, get your head up and eyes wide.

Early on in the fourth quarter, the action happened to be taking place directly in front of me. The other team was moving up field and my son was standing in front of the guy who had control of the ball. My son was just kind of standing there looking like he wasn’t sure what to do. I was close enough to yell to him and encouraged him to go for it and take the ball from the other guy. And sure enough, he pressured the imagesguy and got a foot on the ball and broke it free. He then proceeded to dribble toward the opposing goal and made a beautiful pass that set up a shot. From that point on he started getting right in the thick of things and started playing with more ferver. His energy and confidence grew each time he managed to gain control of the ball and eventually he even scored a goal.

A few of his teammates had taken notice as well and began to emulate his actions. Suddenly the entire team began to play with more intensity and were controlling the ball better. And don’t tell me winning doesn’t matter to a seven year old. They had no problem reminding themselves and anyone who’d listen who won and what the score was which quickly turned into a lesson on good sportsmanship and being a gracious victor.

As we got in the car, I started thinking about work and a couple of personal goals I hadn’t met. And then it hit me. I’d been living life the past few months like my son was playing soccer in the first half. Waiting for things to come to me and wondering why no one was passing me the ball. Yet I hadn’t really done much to put myself in a position to get the ball. I’d just kind of been standing there waiting for something to happen. And sadly, that’s not how it works. I looked at my son and the other kids on the field and eventually entered this week determined to step up my game and make a stronger effort to put myself in position to score.

From social skills to approaching adversity and challenges, I do believe sports are a valuable tool. But like any tool, it’s important to understand how to use it and the dangers of using it incorrectly. It’s also about balance and understanding when it’s time to back off and not take it too seriously. For us the first rule is to have fun and get exercise. But honestly, appreciating the value of both success and failure are vital aspects of growing up. It’s the cornerstone of what athletics are based upon; winning and losing. And like it or not, a big part of living a life of contentment is learning how to deal with both success and failure. So many life lessons can be taught through athletics and if you’re paying close enough attention, you can likely learn a little something yourself along the way.


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Screw Negativity!

When you’ve been knocked down enough times, you would think a victory would have you jumping for joy. And yet, what’s interesting, is that it’s much easier to instead anticipate and prepare for the next smack upside the head rather than relish the high. I’ve watched others close to me live their lives afraid to celebrate their own victories, instead choosing to find new reasons to worry.

I wrote once about life being a series of waves and how the trick is to learn how to ride the good ones for as long as you can. I still believe that’s the secret. Lord knows we’ll have plenty of opportunities to be battered by them, why not take a moment to stretch out your arms and cheer when you’ve managed to catch a good one and ride it for all its worth. You’ve earned it. You’ve earned the smile and that lilt in your soul. Don’t let pessimism and the hell your divorce, or anything else for that matter, keep you from experiencing joy.

Chances are you’ve had plenty of moments of worry, stress, angst, anger, depression, and just plain blahs. You deserve a victory now and then. Especially when you’ve worked your ass off to achieve it. You’ve pushed yourself emotionally, financially and physically to new limits. You’ve over come countless adversities and changed the very essence of who you are as a human being in the process.

So for the love of GOD allow yourself the moment of peace you’ve waited so long for. Sure tomorrow may knock you back down a beat, all the more reason to look adversity in the eye today and say, screw you, I’m happy damn it! The reality is, once you do it enough times, nothing can bring you down because you know in your heart you’re capable of overcoming anything life throws at you. Nothing can keep you from being happy.  Eventually, negative becomes just a word, a word that will invigorate you rather than suck the life out of you. Because you know the sweet taste of kicking negative’s ass and how it feels to be the positive force it can’t beat.

Perhaps you’ve forgotten that fact. Well, I’m reminding you.


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