Blogversation 2012: What have you done when some life-altering event has happened to you?

Throughout this year, several bloggers will engage in a conversation here and on their blogs — asking questions of each other and responding. Others are absolutely welcome to join the conversation, as well. Learn more about the ladies of Blogversation 2012.

Today’s question comes from Kay Hoffman Goluska, who blogs at Pen on Pointe.  She’s @PenOnPointe on Twitter.

Kay Hoffman Goluska

What have you done when some life-altering, goal changing event has happened to you?

Has your entire perspective changed? If you had to make significant changes in your life, do you miss the person you were before, or have you embraced the changes? What happened to the original goal?

Recently life threw another hurdle at me to try an overcome – when I ruptured one of the muscles in my calf. This forced inactivity has me contemplating how to reinvent the wheel, when I have four active children going in four different directions and my inability to walk, let alone drive.

This injury also has forced me to give up my goal of riding a century (100 miles) on my bike this fall. I had been working up to this event all summer long, pushing my body and keeping my eyes focused toward the pride I would feel at accomplishing my goal.

In a split second, in the middle of dance class, my life changed. I am forced to give up my goal of riding the century this fall, let alone in 2012. I must miss auditions for the 10th anniversary of our studio’s production of “The Nutcracker,” and quite possibly find myself, for the first time in years, in the audience instead of on stage performing.

This isn’t the first time I have had to release a goal from my clutches. I had a very successful career when my husband and I discovered we were going to be parents. After many heartfelt discussions, it was decided one of us would stay home with our child (little did we know we would have four) and put their career on hold. Since I made the least amount of money, it was felt practical that I become the stay-at-home parent. I will admit this was not a decision I embraced fully and I resented it for a long time. I felt forced into a choice I didn’t want to make, and was unhappy.

I could add to the list: when my parents died and I was left without my compass, forgetting who I was in the process of grieving, realizing they would never see my children grow up; the birth of child 2, 3 and 4 – changing how I viewed life and the people in it, and pushing back my dream of returning to the workforce; even buying a house away from the hustle and bustle of a metropolis, and finding life a lot slower in a country town – making it quite difficult to be the social diva I would like to be.

For me, each time something has happened there has been a dip in my emotions, a period where I grieved over the loss of my goal. However, I have never been one to stay down for long. I look around and see what I can do to make my life better, what other goals I can make, if I truly have to give up on my original goal in the first place or merely shelve until a later date. Life is too short to live it with regrets or feelings of remorse. I hope I am seen as one who can move on, push the reset button, and be happy.

What kind of lemonade have you made, when life served you lemons?


Categories: health and well being, home and family, lifestyle

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. In the spring of this year, my back went out. In order to even get out to acupuncture or physical therapy appointments, I initially had to sit on the floor of a taxicab in the space in between the back seat and the front seat. (!) My neighbors loaned me their child’s “grabber” toy so that I could put on clothes and pick things up without reaching or bending over too far. As someone who likes to have order and control over my physical environment, all this was quite a trip to be on. But here was the cool thing: because I had to slow waaaaaaaaaaaaay down (a 15-minute walk would take more like 45 minutes), I was forced to see, really SEE everything around me. When I passed by a tree, I could swear that I noticed every leaf on each branch and every bee swarming around it. People’s faces came into sharper detail. I got to have more chats with other people who moved slower, like children, the elderly, and folks with challenges around physical mobility.

    The other thing is that I had to rely on other people more. I had to give up on total self-sufficiency. And that seemed significant in a culture that is hell-bent on making everyone, as “independent” (read: isolated) as possible at the youngest age. I think this has something to do with the requirements of living in late-stage capitalism. But that’s another essay!

    When you lose physical mobility or ability in some way, it forces you to come to terms with the fact that you are, in fact, connected to other people. That it’s not just about getting by on your own. I continue to be reminded of this each day that I live.

  2. Bankruptcy: one little word with lasting impact. My parents were 2 of the hardest working people I knew and I was a child that had many “needs.” (I learned the difference from a “need and a “want” and that has been reinforced many times since.) We didn’t have family dinners very often, I talked to my dad more at the shop than at home, and my mom juggled picking us up from daycare and balancing the books. I never went hungry and my parents also found enough money to send us to camp and buy new shoes for school. So when they told my sister and me (when I was 13 years old) that they were closing the business and filing for bankruptcy I was scared and confused and embarrassed. I was scared of what would happen to us, confused as to why it was happening and embarrassed that I’d “needed” so much. I’m struggling to articulate how that event (almost 20 years ago!) has had such an impact on my life. I radically changed the way I looked at wants and needs, and it dramatically impacts the way I manage my finances. It also made me appreciate my parents and their commitment to our family and each other. When times got tough, they stuck together, worked hard and took more time for our family.

  3. I blogged about being the sickest I’ve ever been in my adult life — and how it helped reboot me, because I had no choice but to slow down, last year:

    Hope you’re on the mend, Kay, and I’m glad you’re spending some of your recovery blogging with us.

  4. Thanks for the great question and post, Kay! Here’s what I had to say on the subject at

    While I have many life-altering events under my belt—really, isn’t every moment in your life an opportunity for change?—the one that immediately springs to mind is the bad January I had back in 2009. It wasn’t just one event but four—a breakup, death of a pet, book cancellation, and surgery—that happened over an eight-day span that set me off on a different path.

    I was seriously grieving, realizing that we no longer have a culture or ritual around grief. We don’t know how to talk about it. So we internalize our pain, at least I did. I felt like I was going to fucking explode. I was on edge, annoyed at every little thing. So one night, alternately crying and channel surfing, I decided to create Things I Want to Punch in the Face, a humor blog to smack down all the various and sundry things in life that chap my hide. Now, it’s a book and getting great buzz. Even as my grief subsided, I continued with the blog because it made me so darn happy. And following that bliss in an authentic voice has led to new opportunities.

    On a more personal level, that bad January broke me. And it allowed me to rebuild myself in new, healthier ways. I work with an amazing leadership coach, I have an incredible support network, and I’m continuing to do work on myself. I see patterns in my behavior that I’m working to shift. For example, that unexpected breakup in 2009 made me realize I was dating the same time of guy over and over, a guy who wasn’t a good or healthy fit for me. So now, I can see that more clearly from the get-go and make different choices (i.e. RUN AWAY!). Certain events can be devastating, certainly, but after working through the initial pain, there is always an opportunity for profound, toe-curling, goosebumpy change.

    And that makes me want to fucking explode…in a good way.

    • Jen, I love that you channeled your grief into something that turned out so well for you.
      But you’re so right about us not honoring our grief. There’s a time where it’s so healthy and honest to just be with that hurt, in addition to doing something with it to move on.
      Congrats on rebuilding yourself better, stronger, faster.

  5. At three different points in my life, change hit me hard, and each time I did the same thing. I significantly altered my diet and exercised like a madman. Neither came easily. They just seemed like things I HAD TO DO. I think I reacted to emotional blows by controlling my physical realm. It gave me something to focus on and alter to my benefit. My body and health (and subsequently my mind and mood) changed for the better, which helped me get through the tough times.


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