This One’s for YOU…
May was a big month for me. On Friday, May 12, 2017, I graduated from college; two weeks later, I turned 50! There are days I still can’t believe it.
I don’t come from a college-educated family. In fact, I am the first to obtain a college degree. The historical lack of college academia in my family, however, isn’t the biggest reason…worthiness is.
I was told, made to believe, and wholeheartedly accepted that I wasn’t college material. As an adult, I tried a total of four times to pursue a college education. The first three attempts ended in failure and a deepening belief I was, indeed, incapable. Then, on a sad and dismal day in December, 2012, as I was standing in a court of law listening to a judge dictate my future as the result of a divorce, something happened.
After giving up my career in the legal field to support my husband and be home to raise my three children, I found myself in a precarious financial situation. And I remember my voice being shaky and quiet when the judge asked me, “What are you going to do now, Ms. Holgate?” My response was, “I want to go back to college and get my degree.”
There was a brief flash of courage coursing through my veins as I said it.
Then, I looked over to see my freshly-minted ex-husband and his female attorney laughing. Not simply a silent chuckle, but audible laughter. It’s a moment in time that will forever be etched in my mind.
Although I’m still unsure how it happened, my ex-husband who typically maintained a six-figure income over the course of our marriage, was granted monthly child support payments as well as the judge imputing my monthly wages to be over $3,000.00 per month (an amount that I, in my lifetime, had never made), thus decreasing the amount of alimony I should have received in order to get back on my feet after giving up my career.
Colorado is a no-fault state, so there was no appropriation of wrong-doing that would dictate such a lopsided judgment. While there is much more to the story, my attorney at the time was so shocked by the outcome she offered to file an appeal on my behalf at absolutely no charge to me.
My response was, “No, thank you…”
In the years that followed, I often wondered about my decision and why I was so quick to decline her offer. At the time, I knew I couldn’t possibly put my children through another three years of turmoil; but there was something else. Today, I know what that something else was – it’s called bravery, courage and strength. For me, filing an appeal sent a message to myself and those around me that I didn’t believe myself capable of making it on my own.
And, it was time to prove I was…
It took months of preparation, but the following year, I was enrolled for classes at the local community college. A year later, I applied and was accepted to MSU Denver.
Originally, I was planning to obtain my associates degree as a paralegal in order to re-enter work in the legal field. It was a safe decision, as I knew I could make a decent living, but my heart was pulling me in another direction. In the past, I would have opted for “safe”…this time, however, I allowed my heart to prevail. What I realized was that even more than providing for myself, I was looking for a career that would allow me to serve others in a meaningful way.
My decision culminated in receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in integrative health care, one class shy of double minor in health and wellness coaching. Today, I’ve had over 350 practice hours and am building my business as a life coach specializing in helping women embrace their imperfections through choosing new ways to view and ultimately, overcome, their struggles and adversity.
In addition to my one-on-one coaching practice, I plan to conduct group coaching, teach classes online and incorporate my love of art journaling and mixed media into my coaching practice. I also just recently spent two weeks in New Mexico finishing my memoir.
I’ll end by addressing the caption of this post: “This One’s for YOU…”
What’s for you???
Hope and faith…trust and self-discovery…bravery, courage and strength. It’s all for you.
Hope and faith that if you desire something different for your life you will believe yourself worthy. Trust that if you are willing to dig deep and pull up a willingness to discover your true self, nothing will stop you from reaching for what you desire. And finally, bravery, courage and strength that you will persevere through the struggles, adversity and obstacles in your life and look at mistakes and failure as stepping stones towards a beautiful, joy-filled and meaningful life.
I won’t lie and say it was easy – it wasn’t…and there were days I didn’t know if I could see it through. It’s still not easy. I sank what little I had monetarily into getting through school. I have no savings, no 401k, no assets to speak…hell, I don’t even have health insurance. Student loans are lingering in the not-so-distant future and there is no guarantee I’ll be able to build a practice that can support and sustain starting over in life at 50 years old.
But, listen deeply…
Here’s what I do have…
courage and strength that if I follow my heart I’ll succeed; pride in having changed deep-seated beliefs about my capabilities as a woman – both academically and otherwise; the joy of living an authentic life; a full heart ready to serve in important and meaningful ways. I also have self-respect, love of self and others, and an amazing story that I hope will inspire, in some small way, everyone it touches.
Just as I was able to believe in myself – I believe in you!