07 May

THEN I’ll Be Happy…

Jennifer Koebele

Jennifer Koebele

Jennifer Koebele, MS Ed. is a freelance writer and educator with a focus on personal development. She is completing life coach certification to assist clients exploring relationship issues through the writing process. Jennifer lives in Charlotte, NC.
Jennifer Koebele


You have probably hear people say “When I get this (house, car, job, etc.) THEN I’ll
be happy.” I was guilty of saying the same thing for a long time.

When I was in college I started keeping a planner. I wrote
down every single thing I needed to do that day and then crossed things off as
I completed them. The next day I moved the to-dos over to the next page and
started all over again.

I figured when I got everything on the list done then I
could relax and have fun. It took me about a week before I realized there is no
way to get everything done on your list. My dad passed away a long time ago but
at that time I called him in exasperation and I could tell he got a kick out of

“There will always be a list,” he explained. “Your list is a
process- just like living your life is a process.” He explained that I
shouldn’t wait for everything in the list to be completed before doing the
things that brought me pleasure. It was a balancing act. You have to live in
the present.

Wise words and a great lesson- if you are ready.

Unfortunately I wasn’t. And the universe keeps repeating the
lesson until you get it.  This particular
lesson took different forms over the next 20 years. I thought I had finally put
the lesson to rest long ago- there will always be a list ‚¬Â¦balancing act ‚¬Â¦live in
the present ‚¬Â¦find pleasure. But apparently the universe wasn’t fooled.

A few years ago I divorced the father of my three children,
a man I had been with since my early 20s. Two years later I went through an
extremely painful break-up with the man I thought I was supposed to spend the
rest of my life with. At 42 I was suddenly without any romantic relationship
for the first time since I was 19. And I had never felt more unattractive and

I had a hysterectomy just before the break up and had put on
weight from the instant menopause and hormone fluctuations. Not to mention the
fact that I was drowning my sorrows in peanut butter cups. I had always felt
pretty before but now that there was no one in my life reinforcing it I had
serious doubts. I also kept hearing all of the angry words that had come out of
my exes’ mouths at the end of those relationships about how horrible I was.  

The thought of dating made me want to crawl in a hole.

At the same time I was responsible for myself financially
for the first time ever with no one to fall back on and raising three children.
After dreaming about writing since I was a child I finally started my writing
business. Suffice it to say there wasn’t a lot of time for dating. And I didn’t
think I deserved it anyway.

Dating was an “extra” and I had this whole to-do list to
check off. I had to be the perfect Mommy and build a successful business. Those
two areas created a to-do list like I had never seen before. Add on losing
weight and I was frozen.

It was a pretty miserable time. My business kept me so busy when
the kids were in school and when they came home there was no down time. But the
weekends when they were with their dad were lonely as hell. I spent time with
my “divorced” girlfriends but I still missed being in a relationship. I missed
knowing someone had my back.

That got me thinking about my dad and our to-do list
discussion. I was essentially waiting to check off all of the other things on
my list because THEN I would be happy. Or at least happy enough to meet
someone. But why couldn’t I be happy RIGHT NOW??

Instead of trying to control everything I decided to give it
to the universe. I knew it was time to start trusting that I would be put in
the right experiences at the right time. That it’s OK to date even if I don’t
have everything on my list completed. And even if I don’t feel like I look

I am still pretty busy. And my self-confidence isn’t back to
where it was pre-breakups. But the more I do it the better I feel about myself.
The more I do for myself- exercising, “trying” to eat healthy- the better I
feel when I am with my kids or rushing to meet a deadline.  

Little by little the confidence is returning.

There is always a to-do list. But you have to live. And it’s
OK to be happy right now.

Thanks Dad.

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