A Life Worth Living…and being Stronger for it

I hear people make excuses every day.  And I have to admit, I have a hard time tolerating them. Sure, some people have more than their share of challenges thrown at them, but as the saying goes: “It’s not what happens TO you that defines you, it’s HOW you deal with it”. This should be my life’s mantra.

I was born functionally blind in one eye. I don’t know what it’s like to have 3D vision or perfect depth perception. I read, write, drive, everything with one eye. I’ve always been active, I craft, I drive, I do it all – except play sports . It’s all I’ve known. I sometimes wish I could have perfect vision for just a moment, but then I’d know what I’m missing. I’d know it’s better not to know.

By the time I was in 5th grade, I’d lived in 4 towns and attended 5 schools. I got good at moving and making new friends. I don’t know what it’s like to live one town for one’s entire life. Must be nice, but I had my family and it worked.

When I was 13, I discovered I had three short vertebrae, causing my spine to curve – scoliosis. Experimental back surgery was the only answer. So I underwent delicate spinal surgery lasting 8 hours followed by 6 months in bed in a body cast from my neck to my knees. I remember crying when I first heard the news, but from then on it became an adventure. Hospitalization was actually fun!  Yes! There were three girls to a room for all that time bonding and doing what 13-14 year old girls do. For one year afterward, I wore a Milwaukee brace and returned to school, entering High School. I grew, I healed, and I’d always been self-conscious, so it was just another thing to deal with.

I have had countless experiences since then; failed marriage, major surgery, lost loves, betrayal, and much more. But has it defined me? NO! It has made me stronger, resilient, compassionate. I know what it’s like to have life throw curves, to feel what’s happening to me is unfair, crying alone at home because I’d received bad news from a doctor and not having someone to hold me and tell me it will be alright.

I’m not unique here, I know. There are worse things that could have happened to me. But that doesn’t matter. We all have our challenges in life. In a way, I’m grateful for mine. I can take what life throws at me because I know I will come out the other side having learned something. It will change me and help me to continue to evolve. The person I am today owes a deep gratitude to all those things that felt devastating at the time. And you know what?  I wouldn’t change a thing. Because of the events that unfolded in my life, I had the courage to give up everything to live my life and it’s led me to a beautiful place. A place where I have true love, meaningful work, great people and a future that I can’t wait to see unfold. Cheers!



About Andrea Cole

Four years ago, I followed my dreams and my heart by quitting my job, selling my home, and moving myself back to Seattle from Washington, DC. I didn't know how things would turn out, but I knew whatever life held in store for me, it was going to be in Seattle. And what a ride it has been! I now help others live their lives through rewarding career and meaningful retirement coaching. My website is www.colecoach.com
This entry was posted in achievement, challenges, change, development, dreams, growth, life, strength and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Life Worth Living…and being Stronger for it

  1. himalidnd says:

    Beautifully expressed👍

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