You Have the Right to Have a Life

“I don’t know what is happening to me” I sniffed as the lawyer handed me a box of tissues. “You’re normal” he said kindly. Earlier that week another lawyer friend I’d consulted before making some big decisions had told me “You have the right to have a life.”

And the truth was: I didn’t have one, well not a very good one, at that moment. Several well-intentioned actions had collapsed and my life was out of control. I’d been living in the Tri-Cities for about nine months, and the time had come that I had to admit I couldn’t do it this way anymore.

I’d moved here with a company I’d worked for on the understanding that the move was a career advancement opportunity. Failing to refuse to move until I had the verbal discussions in writing, I was informed eight months in that I had misunderstood the communications; therefore, I quit my job. My then-husband had decided to pursue a different life; therefore, we were filing for divorce. The two properties I had back east just would not sell and were underwater- multiple attempts to work with the banks were ineffective; therefore, my lawyer recommended bankruptcy (the injury to my pride hurt: I had a high credit rating and no credit card debt, ugh). All three actions at once were incredibly overwhelming.

I literally hit the reset button on my life. What initially felt like the end of the world turned out to be a golden opportunity and an incredible blessing in disguise. For the first time in many years, I had a life.

And life is about choices.

I chose to come out of a tough situation a better person, stronger, healthier and truer to myself, values and beliefs. One of those decision points was determining where I would live. Nothing was holding me to the Tri-Cities; so I traveled back East and also back to my hometown in the Northeast, to see if it made sense to move either place.

But I found that revisiting the places from my past, while filled with familiarity, family and friends, wasn’t a path to my future. The Tri-Cities was. Almost from day one I have felt like a local here, and that I could be contributing member of this community. Even the people at the post office here were helpful and friendly. I’m so thankful I stayed. I love the Tri-Cities community and the welcoming sub-communities I have the privilege to participate in. Here I’ve had the opportunity to experience a better life then I had ever imagined for myself. I have found new family, friends and familiarity.

I share this story to encourage you: no matter what you are going through – you can choose your path forward. Life is about choices. And some choices feel like they might actually destroy you (believe me I know). But they don’t. Some of life’s hardest choices truly set you free. So I leave you with some of the best advice I’ve ever been given:

You have the right to have a life.

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Becca Lingley

Hi, I’m Becca. I am a huge fan of doing things that make the world a better place. Generally that’s through helping one person at a time but I also like helping nonprofits and ideas be successful. I enjoy working in education because personal and professional development is so fulfilling and helping others achieve that experience and develop their abilities is personally rewarding.I love buying local and being local, baking my own bread, supporting my community, reading resumes, living a healthy lifestyle, getting excited about and championing new ideas (coworking!). I love economic development, though I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with it. I’m an idealist and a believer, with a personal life goal of doing my part to make the world a better place.

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  • Shenoa Lawrence

    This seems like such a basic thing, but so many people don’t feel in control, don’t feel like they have a right to take control. Heck, I’ve been there before many times and can completely identify. Congrats on “getting a life” my friend! 🙂

  • Cari McGann McGee

    Becca – I just met you but have to say that anyone who would want you out of his life (as your first husband did), is a moron. You’re sparkling and witty and full of joy. Who wouldn’t want to have that kind of person around them? To know that you suffered and came out on top makes you all the more remarkable. Thanks for sharing this with us!