Begin at an End and Begin Again

I bought the domain name for this blog almost a year ago, right after both my parents had died, just four weeks apart, after suffering through 5 and 2 months’ of sudden, unexpected illnesses. I resigned from my job (6 years as editor in chief of Redbook magazine; 20 years in magazine publishing) to take care of them, along with the help of my two brothers. This all happened just one week after my book about my divorce, called “Falling Apart in One Piece” was published (apparently, the universe wanted to let me know I’d seen nothing yet). And three weeks after my boyfriend had moved in with my son and me, a blazing act of optimism. And just a few weeks before my son went into a severe panic about my absences. So, uh, yeah, that’s a lot of change at once. And the change isn’t over yet, I suspect.

That’s what this blog is about: those moments in life when suddenly, we face a blank, or a crisis, or a change, or any kind of moment where we think: What am I supposed to do now? I’ve had a year filled with these kinds of changes, and I still don’t really know what I’m doing. But I’m trying to live the freedom in that, not the fear. (Some days I succeed at that; most days I just drink a glass or three of wine.)

But I do know that I’m searching, as we all are, for that ‘safe place’ where it all feels right. And in this era of working too hard and too many hours away from our kids and not enough time to just breathe and be and relish our day-to-day lives, I’m trying to redefine my safe place. Not to believe that it’s security, or money, or anything that I can control. That, in fact, it’s the opposite: trying to build a life that’s about connection and warmth and joy, and learning to receive the hard stuff in a resilient frame of mind.

I don’t know how I’m going to get there. And I’m pretty sure there’s another huge full-time job between me and the clarity and bravery it takes to make different choices, but in the meantime I’ll write about the struggle to get there. As we all struggle, to make our lives work, to define our happiness, to face down challenges and heartbreak, to  b  r  e  a  t  h  e and laugh and celebrate.

Here’s to all our efforts on that journey! I know we can change the world if we set our minds to it, and start living life the way it’s meant to be. Let’s share our stories and our struggles and our successes, to help urge ourselves along to a place where life feels like it works for us, instead of US working for IT.

This blog is dedicated to my parents, who taught me so much about life, who taught me not to be afraid—and especially to my mother, who taught me to live life by my instincts and never let someone else decide what was good enough for me.

Here’s to the mission we all share: to create lives that are more than good enough, even when—especially when—it’s scary. (And a lot of things are feeling scary these days, aren’t they?) Here’s to filling in the blanks. And not with the first answer that comes to mind, or the answer that we know, and especially not the answers that the government and corporate America seem to think about what’s “enough” for us, but instead to find the answers that come to us slowly, as if in a dream, and make us go: Oh yes, that’s it, that’s it. The life I’ve always wanted to live. It’s waiting for me. I know it is…

About stacy

I am a writer, author, mother, former magazine editor (last at Redbook), optimist, and, above all, a searcher. I'm still searching for whom I'm really meant to be, after a series of very jarring losses: a divorce and house disaster that led to a book (Falling Apart In One Piece); a week after the book came out, my parents suddenly fell gravely ill, I resigned from my job (and, apparently, my career), my son went into crisis, my parents then rapidly died four weeks apart, and my boyfriend (who had moved in with me and my son just weeks before the book came out) began the painful journey of realizing we couldn't make our relationship work (that story unfolded on this blog). Since then I've been trying to figure out what's next. Or, in other words, how to fill in the blanks.
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16 Responses to Begin at an End and Begin Again

  1. heather says:

    So glad you created a space here to explore what is next. Your book found me shortly after my separation and just when I needed it.

    • stacy says:

      Heather, so glad to hear from you here. And so glad my story was useful to you. I just knew that other women had to be feeling what I’d felt. I needed to know that the alone I was in had been shared by other! Here’s to surviving and thriving! xx

  2. Tara Berson says:

    It sounds like we’re both writing to find our happiness–and our next big thing. I don’t know if you saw, but I started a blog on WordPress at the end of March. It’s now called The Crankiness Crusher but this is how it all started (http://crankinesscrusher.com/2011/03/27/say-no-to-dr-crankenstein/)–and it had a lot to do with the column I wrote for you at REDBOOK! I’ll add you to my Blogroll (once I figure out how the heck to do it!). I’m really looking forward to reading your posts. xx

    • stacy says:

      Tara, love your blog! I just went and checked it out. Happy to see a piece of our Redbook experience lives on in you. And it’s a noble goal, not dissimilar to mine. Here’s to being able to experience life’s joys every day (no matter what amount of unassailable annoyingness got in the way). xx

  3. andrea says:

    Though I’m in a different age bracket and life experience bracket, I’m also kind of adrift in finding the next right thing. No matter what, I’m always learning something new and making new acquaintances, so I’m going to hope there’s a reason for all the confusion and chaos in the long run, for all of us

    • stacy says:

      You are right: It’s learning and finding our way no matter what, all the time, regardless of circumstance or age. Although luck plays a part, too, but you can’t focus your energy on making luck—only on being confident about what you want so when your luck appears to know to leap! We all need to find our intuition and start listening to it, instead of listening to the voice inside that worries and wonders and leads us toward something smaller than we’re meant to be.

  4. Lydia says:

    Hello Stacy. My name is Lydia and I’m just 26 years old and the date is 5/31/2011 now (it’s past 1AM), but I couldn’t help coming online to find out about the rest of you because I just finished reading your book, “Falling apart in one piece…” and just fell in love with you. I know that I don’t know you, but I really felt like I connected with you reading the book maybe because of all the things that I am going through,which I won’t go through, but I just wanted to thank you for writing that book, for sharing with the rest of us all the uncertainties you went through… I have cried a lot too, so I guess reading your book today I felt very opened up by you, which was both good and bad for me, but I would not trade the experience for anything in the world. Thanks to you I kept re-realizing how lucky I am for what I do have (all the love I get from the people in my life that I do have), and felt extremely comforted as if you were my friend and you totally would understand me although we’ve never even met (I think I’m gonna end up hugging your book to sleep! haha), and learned from what you really shared of your experiences. You helped me re-realize the power of sharing by what you did. In a lot of ways, I think that you have helped me bring my power back to myself just by reading about your experiences, and I don’t even know how to express my gratitude to you… I think that you not only opened my eyes to being a single mom with struggles, which I am grateful about learning, but have also re-lit my promise to myself that I am going to give back love to this world. To me, your book was just full of love. Thank you for writing the book, and thank you for helping me feel much stronger. <3 -Lydia Also, I wish you could give your son a lot of hugs for me (even though I know you do! I couldn't help but say it-I'm a child lover. haha) All the best!

  5. Emily Hedges says:

    Stacy,

    I met you at the 2010 Disney Princess Half-Marathon Expo (don’t know if you would recall the girl from Minnesota who was wearing the Canada shirt??) Anyway, when your book came out a few weeks after the event, I bought and read it. Congrats on a huge accomplishment – the transformation of difficult events into a tangible object than can be put on a shelf and walked away from.

    I admire you very much for the choices you’ve made in your life since we met. Walking away from a title like Editor-and-Chief, and all that comes with that, to do the things your heart is compelling you to do is true courage.

    My husband is struggling to find a new job after losing his in a merger almost a year-and-a-half ago, so it looks like I might be going back to work and letting him stay at home with our three kids – 5, 4 and 3 years old. Frankly, I’m scared…about working again, and about missing out on time with my kids, and about how things might change between me and my husband. But I’ll move forward, have Stacy-like courage, and do the best I can.

    Thanks for your blog. I look forward to becoming a regular reader.

  6. Bet says:

    Found your blog after reading “Poor Baby, Poor Mama?” today over at Huffpost Women. I’ve been lingering here reading about the loss of your parents and it has been cathartic. My sister has a special needs child as well and I’ve watched her struggles and triumphs over the past 13 years. I lost my Dad to cancer in August of 2010 and still working through the grieving process. I’m looking forward to becoming a regular reader.

    • stacy says:

      August 2010, wow. My mom’s memorial was August 1, 2010. And then I spent the rest of August crying. At least I was in the Adirondacks, surrounded by nature. It gave me some perspective. Thanks for finding me.

  7. Victoria says:

    I just finished your book yesterday, on a train trip up from Boston to my home in Maine. So much of the book resonated with me. We are just starting, at the insistence of my husband, the process of divorce. We haven’t yet told our eight year-old daughter. Your book came at the right time, thank you. And I’m so sorry to hear about your parents. I look forward to looking through your site.

  8. sue carey says:

    I find all this very sensible, however I am still not able to move forward from being separated from my husband for 3 years. I love him so much and can’t let go. I miss him everyday and barely get through it thinking of him so much. I don’t know how to forget him. I sometimes go in the shower and cry my eyes out loudly begging god to take all the memories of our ten years away.
    sue

    • stacy says:

      Sue, I’m so sorry to hear you are in so much pain. It’s easy to think that an “Eternal Sunshine of A Spotless Mind” moment (a great movie, if you’ve never seen it), will relieve us of the pain of having to let go of someone we’ve loved. But I think of it this way: I didn’t want to stop being who I was, and the years I’d been with my husband had shaped me, deeply. I wanted to hold on to all I’d learned about myself and life with him, and that was why I had to keep going. To have no regrets. To take the lessons and the joys with me, along with the pain that having to separate brought. In time, the memories will hurt less, I promise you. Just keep reminding yourself that life is good, is meant to be good, and keep working on letting go. You will find your grace, I promise!

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