A year ago I was in a very dark place. My decades old marriage was falling apart, someone I cared very deeply about disappeared from my life, and my job was at a dead end. I went through Thanksgiving and Christmas in a daze; as if I was watching someone else live my life. With the holidays over, I realized I had to get myself together. I had to be able to think and function. My children needed me. I needed me.
That’s where I was when I started this series of columns. Since then, I have taken the steps needed in order to move forward with my life; I filed for divorce, I let that other person go, and I found a new job. I became very honest with myself and others. All of those things were difficult. In fact, I’ve done things this year that I never thought I could do.
My kids have been a constant source of inspiration to me. I had always heard that children were resilient and now I know how incredibly true that statement is. They have managed to survive and thrive despite some very sad and difficult months. They miss their dad, and I’m not home as much as I’d like to be. But they are doing well in school, have friends, and are involved in sports and music. They fight and argue and get angry; they laugh and play and tell jokes. I know they will have some days where things seem impossible and they don’t understand why it’s so hard. And yet, I have great hope they will turn out to be healthy, happy and well adjusted despite my imperfect parenting.
My job here at Global Travel has been such an important part of my growth. I am surrounded by people who support, lead and teach me. I consider them friends as well as colleagues. I don’t have to pretend to be anything—they accept me—including my flaws, my weaknesses and my shortcomings. (Can you say GDS?) They build me up and make me part of something bigger than myself. I am so thankful for their knowledge and kindness. It’s been so beneficial for me to be here both professionally and personally.
My closest friends and family have been so supportive I cannot thank them enough for putting up with my rants, my tears, and my silly non-sensical musings. They’ve helped with my kids, surprised me by paying for my hair to be done, sent uplifting cards and emails, spent hours on the phone and in person talking and laughing with me and showing me that there is still so much life out there to live. They all deserve an award!
As I look ahead, I will continue to write for TRO and other publications. I will strive to become a better agent, mom, daughter, sister and friend. Each new day brings learning experiences and new people into my life. I look forward to the months and years ahead. I am happy! There was a time, not so long ago, that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to say that.
I have truly enjoyed writing this column and look forward to my continuing relationship with TRO. May all of you have a wonderful holiday season and I wish you the best of everything yet to come. I want to close with a quote that I’ve hung onto and will continue to hold onto—I hope it feeds you like it has me.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Julie Summers is a travel adviser for Global Travel in Boise, Idaho (www.myglobal.com). She has two teen boys and a spoiled Boston Terrier. You can contact her at email@example.com or on LinkedIn.