Stop This World

Gracefully going from victim to survivor to servant leader in the heartland

It seems that everyone & their mother are reflecting upon the past decade since 2020 is just around the corner.  I can’t help but jump on this bandwagon because the past ten years have been nothing short of a thrilling and terrifying ride through life.

Looking back on the past decade, one could say that I should be really upset with how things have turned out.  There have been the death of friends and family (especially this year.  What an awful year of losing people).  I was raped.  I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety & PTSD.  I gained back the 30 pounds I had lost in the previous decade.  The last five years have found me struggling to find a new normal.  I’m no longer living my dream.  Success went away.

Geez…I get depressed just listing those things out.  It really was a crappy decade!  Well, I have to take that back because the first five years of the 2010’s were pretty awesome.  I loved where I was at in my life both personally and professionally.  I spread my wings and moved to both Indianapolis and Washington, DC.  I advanced the career ladder and put my heart and soul into it.  There were opportunities abound!

So, yes as we move into the roaring 20’s I could be very bitter for the hand I’ve been dealt the past five years, but I’m not.  I’ve worked hard to change my perspective from one of negativity to one of gratitude.  Do bad things still happen?  Absolutely, but I hope that I can deal with the situations with more grace and forgiveness.

If you look at the awful things that I listed above there are silver linings as well.

-Having friends and family die in the past ten years reminds me that I have relationships that I value.  Without these people in my life my life wouldn’t be the same.

-It is true that I was raped and that will forever be a dark point in my life.  But, I have come back from that dark time stronger than ever.  I have learned that success no longer means climbing the career ladder, but helping others achieve their goals and live their best lives.

-It is also true that I waded through the depths of despair dealing with depression, anxiety & PTSD.  Something I don’t wish on anybody, but I survived.  I put in the hard work and relied on my faith.  These are things that I will struggle with for the rest of my life, but now I have the tools to be able to deal with them.

-I gained the 30 pounds back that I lost in the previous decade.  We’ll put a positive spin on that and say that I enjoyed life a lot by eating all my favorite foods, craft beer and wine.  I never went hungry or thirsty.   I now look at myself differently.  I don’t exercise to lose weight, but to feel good about myself.  I feel good when I move daily.   In the next decade I need to move my body some more because these bones are getting old!

-For all intents and purposes, I am no longer successful.  At least in my old way of thinking.  Through all the trauma and tragedy I have been able to redefine what success and normalcy means.  I was always the kid in high school or college who wanted the big career and all that had to offer.  When that came crashing down because of my assault I felt like I no longer had an identity.  Most other people my age have spouses and kids.  I had nothing, or so I thought.

Through all of this trauma I realized that I have been successful all along by being a daughter, sister, aunt, granddaughter, Godmother, friend, author, speaker, child of God.  A woman who loves big orange cats and strong coffee. That I am worthy of love and to give love.  I am a survivor and a storyteller.  I am successful. 

There is no achieving anymore, just living with a spirit of gratitude and no matter what happens in the future, I know that I am successful.  I went from the pit of despair to a brand new definition of success. 

The 2010’s also brought some great times as well:

-The MN Twins built a new stadium.  I guess the Vikings did too, but I like baseball better.

-There were lots of weddings, babies and new beginnings of friends and family.  I can almost promise you that I know what songs and readings will be at the next wedding.  I’m a professional wedding-goer.

-The craft beer boom hit over the last 10 years.  For the longest time my Dad & I enjoyed drinking these ‘strange’ beers with ‘strange’ names and most people thought we were crazy because they were drinking Busch Light, Miller Lite, Bud Lite or any of the other forms of water available.  Well, guess who was ahead of the trend? My Dad & I.  Dare I say that we were trendsetters?  Probably not, but we got a lot of grief from water drinkers until suddenly they discovered that beer with flavor is actually good.  You are welcome.

-I made new friends.  If I hadn’t moved to Indianapolis and Washington, DC I wouldn’t have met some amazing friends.  I look back to when I left MN in 2012 and all the people that I didn’t know then.  It really is amazing all the people you will meet in a decade and how they will make profound impacts on your life.

-You can’t make old friends.  Even though making new friends is fun and exciting, I’m fortunate to have friends from all stages of my life.  When I lived outside of Minnesota and needed some grounding, I knew that my longtime friends were there for me.  They have known me through some crazy years and I didn’t have to feel stupid for feeling a certain way.

-I’ve gotten to watch my niece and my Godchildren grow up.  I have watched them all grow into kind, caring kids who love their family.  I’ve gotten to cheer them on showing their 4-H animals, watching them play sports and helping with homework.  These moments are priceless.

-The Washington Nationals won the World Series.  Meanwhile every MN sports team (except for the Lynx) are #1 at trying really hard.  We are the freaking champions in that.

-Let’s not forget that if I hadn’t moved back to Minnesota that I would not have Guppie the rescue cat.  Guppie has been a saving grace for me and I can’t imagine life without her cat hair.

Bottom line is that the 2010’s will go down in the history books.  Am I happy to see them go?  Sure, but having lived almost 44 years of life I know that this is what life is.  Highs, lows and all the times in between.  Good things are going to happen in the 2020’s, but so are bad things.  I plan on keeping myself surrounded with good people so that we can take this journey together.

Happy New Year to you!

A sidenote- I always thought that if I were to be alive during a different era that I would want to be alive in the 1920’s.  F. Scott Fitzgerald is my favorite author and reading his stories makes me long for that time.  I think that I would be a darn good flapper.  So, bring on the roaring 20’s!

4 thoughts on “Perspective

  1. Marlene Stoehr says:

    I just read a lot of old posts of yours that I had saved on my computer– and here comes another. Just had to say what a great person we have ALWAYS known you to be, ever since we had the privilege of meeting you. We hurt with you and rejoice with you as you find yourself leaving an ugly time behind. For what purpose you were made to suffer like that we don’t know. Perhaps it is in the Master Plan somewhere, if that is even the way the Master Planner works, but you are and will continue to be an inspiration to many. A success!

    Love, Marlene Stoehr Sent from my iPad



  2. MarilynPierce says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey, I appreciate that you have moved on and continue to heal and grow.while sharing through your writing.youmay not know the definition of success, I see much success in your future. You are loved and admired.


  3. As always J Lynne…. Eloquent, spot on, and just plain BAD ASS.
    You are going to rock the ’20’s.
    Happy New Decade!


  4. Kristen B. says:

    Another beautifully written piece. You bless me and my family with so much. You’re my hero and my kids’ heroes! You’re the most successful person we know because of your courage and kind heart. You’re amazing! 2020 will be a wonderful year for you, I just know it. Thanks for being my favorite person.


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