Monday, October 8, 2012


"A setback is really just a set-up for future accomplishment."

This is a quote from "Gilmore Girls" that grabbed my attention when I heard it the second time around this weekend.

Isn't life funny that way? You hear something once but when it doesn't apply to what you are living at that moment, it doesn't register. Then you hear it (or watch a rerun of the same program) years later and you find the profound wisdom in a simple sentence. Because you have the life experience to insert in between the lines.

There is not one setback in my life that did not set the stage for something that I needed to know or experience to make future years brighter than they would have been if I had not learned those lessons along the way.

I babysit a two-year old boy whose mom became a parent very close to the same age that I was, when I had my oldest son. The parallels and similarities between our life's paths are so close that it is uncanny. Right down to some of the most minute details.

I was describing one of these details to a friend of mine when suddenly I was reminded of a time when my young-life-experiences were identical to this young mom. It was a time that I have rarely talked about. I realize now, that this was a pivotal moment in my life...

My 51-year-old-self cannot believe that I 'went back for more' after this event ... but upon replaying the scenario aloud for the first time in over 25 years, I remember (at the time) saying aloud, "I am as sick as he is ... because I keep going back for more". That realization led me straight to the doors of an Al-Anon meeting instead of walking away from the relationship right then and there. Those meetings changed me. From the inside, out.

From that point onwards, I started making healthier decisions. It took time. Thankfully enough time to create a baby. Because had I walked away from my marriage after that pivotal event (that makes me (now) shake my head in astonishment), my middle son would never have been born ...

I have had various setbacks (aka: set-ups) over the course of the time span between then and now. I have bounced back and realized how necessary it was to go through the challenges that life brought my way, to bring me to a better place than I was when I started.

Which is perhaps why the year that preceded this one was the one that unglued me. I wasn't ready for this series of lessons. Because I was failing at something that I had always (always!!!) succeeded at before. My career. My livelihood.

And this is what Lorelai said to Rory ("Gilmore Girls") about just that topic ....

"And I think you've had kind of an easy time. I mean most of the things you've gone for you've gotten. This setback might help you have some perspective."

That Lorelai is one wise mom. I have walked through life's latest setback and come out the other side. That experience most definitely helped me to gain some perspective.

And it set me up for so much more ...

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