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Today would have been my 22nd Wedding Anniversary; our divorce was finalized a few weeks after our 13th anniversary.  I find that when the calendar flips to this day each year I focus less on my divorce and reflect more on my hopes and dreams on my Wedding Day, so many years ago.

I had the wedding that all little girls dream about.  My father is a minister and not only walked me down the aisle, but married me.  Our wedding was held in the garden patio of a hotel in Laguna Beach, California.  I can still remember standing and listening to the waves crashing in the background, quieting my nerves as my father read our wedding vows for us to recite.  It was a memorable day that I cherish in my heart.

Like many young women, my hopes were that I would raise a family, excel in my career and be happy.  I had a lot of ideas around what ‘happy’ would look like; mostly trapping of ‘keeping up with the Jones’ and living the ‘American Dream‘.

As the years progressed, my career continued to excel and I did all the ‘happy’ things I dreamed about wonderful vacations, golfing, bought a house, learned how to sail and dined at upscale restaurants.  In the later years of my marriage we had my beautiful daughter.  Although I got what I wished for on my wedding day, I was empty, sad and lonely on the inside.

Once divorced, I had to rebuild my life which took perseverance, taking an honest look at myself and lots of boxes of Kleenex.  A group of wonderful friends rallied around me.  To them, I am forever grateful.  It is through their example of living that I learned to rebuild my life.

Self-discovery is never an easy journey.  Take it a day at a time, I was told.  Through many tears I learned to peel the onion and get rid of the layers of bad behaviors and misconceptions about myself.  At the core I discovered my talents, strengths and values of who I am today.  I have learned to embrace and nurture my gifts and through my life have transformed beyond my wildest dream.  I embrace life!

Today, I reflect back on my journey over the past 9 years and can honestly say “Today, I’m happy“.  My happiness has nothing to do with what I do with my time; it has everything to do with the fact that I live in integrity and have learned to love myself.

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