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December 31, 2020

When Each New Level of Your Life Demands a New You

I stopped making resolutions a few years ago as I found them to be unattainable. Each new level of my life has demanded a new me so making a promise to myself to only change my habits at the start of the new year was not realistic.

You ever hear the saying, “Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole?” This is what life feels like when you try to be the same person when all of your life’s circumstances have changed. It is impossible and exhausting.

Let’s talk superficially for a moment.

Last year, I was making $300,000 per year, had a company car, a total power position, was waking up at 5:00am every day with my daughter to go to CrossFit, spending my days in midtown Manhattan and had an amazing social life. I loved everything about my life; my beautiful and hilarious children, my home, my community and being challenged every day at work.

I sit here today a bereaved mom, heart attack survivor and on welfare. Just one year later.

How does this happen? I must have done something terribly wrong, right? Morally, I must have been a horrific person at some point, right? Is this karma?

Trust me, this is definitely a question I have asked myself over the past year and saying this is karma is easy but provides no substance and doesn’t align with the life I have lived. This is not karma.

I have lived a life of service. I have been generous and compassionate to the people around me. I have been a loving, caring and present mother. I wasn’t a great wife but that doesn’t mean I had all of this coming to me. It really doesn’t.

I understand my superficial status right now is temporary. I will not be on welfare forever. I won’t. I hold a doctoral degree and have been an executive in my space for two decades. The work will always be there. Being totally honest however, when the food stamp card came in the mail, I cried. A lot. It is easy to say, “That is what it is there for, when people need help.” I get all of that, I do. But when it is you, it hits different.

I have wished for someone to come take care of me. I have always been that strong, independent woman that Beyonce sings about and that’s cool but if I ever needed someone to take care of me, now is that time. That is not my reality right now and I am finding even that to be more and more okay because of the army of people around me. Ready to deploy at any moment to show up for me.

It is not even a question that this is a new level of my life. A life without my only daughter. A life raising my surviving son into a man. I do not have a choice whether I am here or not. My son is here, so I need to be here too. Everyone tells me he needs me and that I do not have a choice. I want to be with both of my children but they both have different addresses.

People around me believe that out of the tragedy of losing my daughter, I will find an even bigger purpose, an even bigger meaning to my life and help even more people. I hear people when they say that, and I have mixed feelings about it. A part of me is down for it because I want to have a productive, meaningful life and be of service to others, and the other part of me is like get out of here. I have spent my life helping people, making other people’s lives better, what about me?

I will never be the woman I was, the mother I was, the day before my daughter passed away. This metamorphosis is pain-filled, edgy and makes my skin crawl. There are still threads of me here, but it is a change and leveling up process that is happening whether I want it to or not.

It happens without my consent. It will happen more peacefully, with my consent.

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Jessica C. Guberman  |  Contribution: 1,305