The Sandwich Stage: In the Middle of Life, Resilient In the Midst of Loss

on January 26, 2016 Divorced Entrepreneur, Resilience - Growth & Strength and Tags: , , , , , , , with 0 comments
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The sandwich stage of life:

our children on one end of the age scale, our parents and loved ones on the other. An emotionally tumultuous time, challenging on many levels.

I am in the middle: the middle of life, in between love, and this week in the midst of challenge and loss.

The question: What do I choose? My answer: I choose resilience.

I live an eventful life full of 5% experiences, both in the top 5% and the bottom 5%. Yet, school’s never out. Life keeps teaching lessons no matter what our age, stage, or season.

As a divorced entrepreneur, I’m working to create my own wealth and jobs for others. I know I’ll find love again, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind. Right now I’m focused on being the best father I can be. And, because I’m in the sandwich stage, I’m doing my best to care for my aging parents, too.

When our reserves get built up and maybe we even come clean of the mud of life for a few paces, we can and will still get messy sometimes. You know what I mean about the “mud”? Sometime we use a four-letter word beginning with S instead of mud.

This week was one of those muddy weeks for me. After losing a friend to a terrorist attack in Africa, my father was hospitalized. My mother had surgery a few days before that and my brother was operated on today. No, my family is not a bunch of hypochondriacs.

Times like these are the crazy messes of life. This week simply happened to include many events, stacked upon stacked.

We can organize, automate, streamline, and schedule to manage the various aspects of our life, particularly that of our businesses. Yet, however much we prioritize, sanitize and optimize to get life to run like a well-oiled machine, the human element is always called to higher service.

We can ignore that calling or embrace it. I choose to live in service to others and give of myself to help others prosper and succeed. Life is a gift and I thrive off of connections with others. Sincere emotional connections require full attention and engagement, and therefore they have the potential to break us.

Life’s challenges never arrive at preplanned, convenient, open calendar spaces. They often layer in depth, omitting space to breathe. This calls one to pare down to the basic facts and logistics to serve their needs while fortifying their own stability. This is the core of resilience.

I like this definition of resilience: Adapting to adversity. Resilience is the ability to roll with the punches. When stress, adversity or trauma strikes, you still experience anger, grief and pain, but you’re able to keep functioning — both physically and psychologically.

Weeks like this past one appear in suspended animation, so to speak. It can seam surreal. One must have inner connection within self – “primum non nocere”: first, do no harm.

In addition to having an inner circle of solely professional connections as well as reliable go-to people within my organization, I also choose friends with whom to share my inner voice and best interests when attending to emotionally challenging matters.

Some of these friends started as business colleagues. Trust and candor have lead to mighty relationships. Some of these are topic specific sounding boards, such as this one for divorced entrepreneurs.

Yes, even when we think we have it all figured out…more puzzle pieces appear that need to be worked into the full picture of life.

Sometimes I must surrender to life in a manner that frees me to move forward in growth and strength. Surrender, in this context, does not mean giving up or total loss, nor does it indicate weakness. It’s the pure and foundational basis of strength.

Surrender is the process through which I totally immerse in the experience of the moment, letting it flow through me. I become a conduit of this experience that then fortifies the foundation of my being, rendering more purity and bolstering both my strength and resiliency.

Additionally, space, that buffer between me and my busy life, magnifies my vision and helps me clarify my actions. I must actively create that space so that I can be more free with my presence in life. In pursuit of this presence, Ido this process a few times a year as a refresh. I create the space by actively working to remain uninterrupted for deep thinking and appreciation so that I may be more free in life.

If I don’t create the space, then life will take space and time from me.

“I had a plan for that”. I did, I tell myself repeatedly.

Reality is, life crushed those plans but it will not crush me.

I choose resilience. I choose to roll with the punches and keep pressing forward.

I get asked occasionally, “Do you ever have a bad day?”. Yes, just like everyone else, I absolutely do. Thank you for riding through this challenging week with me. I hope my experiences and my words help you savor your wonderful life!

After all, “Life is a Gift!”

~bill

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