Once in awhile someone will cross your path by chance and you know it’s for a purpose. I felt that way about this lady, and I feel the same way about my guest blogger Cindy Scheopner. Her story below brings me hope about the possibility of changing our lives. Not just on New Year’s Day, but every day. It’s such an inspiring post.

by: guest blogger

I cannot ask for a New Year better than the one that ended. Each year has mostly been better than the past. I am pursuing a PhD in philosophy in Hawaii, a late in life, third career that is going well. My life partner is supportive and kind. He sails while I philosophize. Our children and grandchildren are healthy.

That does not mean everything is perfect. I manage, somehow, to stress myself while living in Hawaii. I am behind on several projects. My kids call with complaints about what I have or have not done. I’m overdue for a haircut and still carrying around more weight than I would like. I haven’t yet found the Tai Chi group I’d like to join.

These concerns pale in contrast with the past. Once, I struggled to balance a very demanding professional life with an increasingly dysfunctional private one. The man who captured my heart insisted on stomping my spirit – an exercise that destroyed us both. Making me feel bad didn’t make him feel better but he couldn’t stop and I couldn’t stop caring. For many years, I thought I could become perfect enough to make him happy. Even after I no longer believed that, I wasn’t sure how to release myself and my children from his death grip.

I cannot say the process was easy or fast. But each day I take a certain number of steps. The days that I take more steps forward than backward leave a foundation for the next that is higher than the last. Some steps were through blurry tears. Some were through sheer terror. But they led me to a place of respite where I could forgive myself and look ahead.

Eventually, I craved adult companionship but could not imagine who would want to share my messy life. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a fellow refugee. We joined hands and continued to make daily steps-still sideways sometimes, often in circles but always beside one another.

Often my partner says “I can’t believe we can live like this!” He means living in Hawaii, but he also means living in peace with one another. I don’t know how we managed to find one another, but we each realized how lucky we are and hang on tight. The advantage of a miserable past is appreciating a less-than-perfect present.

As I walk along the beach, I watch each new wave erase footprints from the sand. It is an ancient, eternal process that restores the sand perpetually. I seek not perfection in my future nor to erase the imperfections of the past – only the new beginning promised by each wave.

About Cindy Scheopner: Cindy lives in Hawaii with her partner, Rick. She is writing a dissertation to complete her philosophy PhD while Rick sails. Between them, they have six daughters, four step-children and three grandchildren. In past lives, Cindy was an attorney (briefly) and a journalist (lengthily). She has no idea what she’ll do with a philosophy degree, but it’s a whole lot of fun. She Tweets as @Scheopner and posts random pictures and thoughts at: http://scheopner.posterous.com/

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