Thursday, March 22, 2012

Recovery ... From Setbacks in Life

Definition: Act of Process of Returning to a Normal Condition.

We all encounter setbacks in life. Something happens that steals all or most
of our forward momentum and discourages us to the point that we want
to give up.

Setbacks seem to always come at the worst possible time, too. 
They are often deemed to be “the straw that broke the camel's back.” 
They can send us into free fall.

Physical Recovery

In the early1970's I developed medical symptoms that I reported to my General Practitioner. He arranged an appointment with a gynaecologist in November 
of that year. The specialist advised that I had a sizable tumour on the uterus wall (non-malignant). I had two young children and realized the implication of a hysterectomy. In his office, I burst into tears...mostly because of the physical cutting surgery into my body. He gave me the choice of “before  Christmas or after”. I chose “as soon as possible”.

My mother came to stay a few days to tend to my children and home while my husband was at work. Following surgery, I was left in a weakened condition, which worsened due to infection below the “bikini incision” which forced me 
to remain longer in hospital and consequently...more weakened.

I had never experienced being physically weak ... had a finely tuned body resulting from sports activities. This, to me, was a blow! A few days before Christmas, I was able to venture to the local grocery store (or so I thought) 
to purchase the turkey, cranberry sauce, nuts, etc. for Christmas dinner.
In the second aisle, I became quite dizzy looking at the shelves and all the merchandise, the "on sale" products, the sundry items. Impossible to continue,
leaving the grocery cart in the aisle and frustrated, I returned home, 
requesting my husband return to complete the shopping.

In a follow up-appointment with my gynaecologist, he stated,”It took you several months to develop this will take you several months to fully recover.” 3 months? 6 months? Unknown?

Mother, who was widowed eight years previously, returned to our home early, 
to assist me with Christmas. I did manage to prepare part of the dinner.

By April, my strength was gradually rebuilding. I knew I must do something physically to “push the process.” A town home neighbour returning from work one day, stopped to enquire about my health as he walked past my patio garden. Being a “health nut” and a weekend ski instructor, he suggested I engage in some form of energy-building activity. I mentioned to him that I doubted  if I could even manage a tennis racket. He encouraged and offered to “bat a few balls with me”...said he needed to “bat out his frustrations”
from a failed marriage and pending divorce. At first, I lasted a couple minutes 
on the tennis court in our complex. After a couple weeks, I endured about five minutes. Thanks to Fred and his tennis times with me, I built up energy sufficient to join the Central Tennis Club for a few games that summer..

A couple years later, Fred loaned his lady friend, Shirley and me his burgandy
Thunderbird (he was unable to drive for several days) for our January transportation to Gray Rocks in Quebec for a ski vacation. We took my son, 
who was most delighted! (Fred had, the previous month, broken his ankle 
while showing his young son how to use a ski disc...or whatever it's called. 
This demonstration was on a very shallow slope, and in stepping off,
he tripped, fell and twisted his ankle.)

Recovering from Disappointments

        These happen! Life has its triumphs and Life has its stumbling blocks! 
How do we handle frustrations and disappointments? I need not detail any, 
but leave you with lessons I have learned from advice given me ... and a philosophy I developed. In one circumstance that affected my personal life
to the point of being most distraught, a ski acquaintance sincerely stated, 
“You're strong! You have inner believe you don't have!
Test it!”

                      In the Real Estate business, success is wonderful! 
Yet, it has its disappointments. Imagine spending days of research for suitable properties for clients, then hours of communication with them through e-mails and telephone to develop locations of interest. Appointments are made to view 
a few properties, often followed by revisits to reinforce their buying interest. Then, after a few months, they are not returning my telephone calls ... 
no contact! Discovery? They purchased a home in an area, unspecified to me 
and lacked the courtesy to inform me. So many hours, so many days, weeks, months...where valuable time spent is usually “money in the bank”!

One cannot fret about a “lost deal”
when everything possible was done...
given the time and circumstances.
It is now “water under the bridge”!

Financial Recovery

Following the birth of our second child, I left a successful teaching career 
to become a stay-at-home-mom...without realizing that Mothers wear several hats: Mother? Yes! But also Nurse, Psychologist, Teacher, Economist and sometimes Repair woman. When my daughter was soon to enter Kindergarten, 
I reapplied as a Teacher. (Unfortunately, no full time positions were available). Time for a Change!

I launched into a new career...Real Estate Sales...which gave me several good years financially. Selling New Home product became my specialty:
condominiums, semi-detached and link homes, single detached mid-income 
priced family abodes to exclusive. Many, many hours, often seven days a week including Sunday afternoon Open Houses to the public became the norm. New Home sales generated Resales which motivated my selling skills. These resale homes were handled by my assistant on a split-commission basis. There is no guaranteed salary in this business! All income is based on successful closures
of sold properties! Costs of advertisements, promotion, vehicle and related operating costs, Real Estate fees yearly plus Errors and Omissions Insurance
...were borne by the Sales Rep with no remuneration! Plus the daily living costs!

Yet, Real Estate was always a wise investment! Therefore, in Real Estate I invested! At the onset of this career, I was a single parent raising two children. With a strategic business plan, all seemed quite secure! In the late 80's,
early 90's...the Recession Hit! Interest rates were high; families unable to maintain their homes; jobs were lost; Real Estate investments dwindled 
in value. Listed properties were not selling! The current home (purchased 
from my-then-builder) was for future return on my I was 
forced to sell at a $45,000 loss! Other investment homes in my portfolio, 
I was forced to sell at a loss, also. I was “in the same boat” as several of my
clients and friends. It is difficult, almost impossible, to recoup these losses!
My decision? Accept the Truth of the Situation! 
Above all...retain Health and Sanity!

In the late 90's, arthritis began to afflict me. No medications or treatments 
were effective; over several years I learned to cope. Slowly, this disease developed, taking its grip on my system. Eventually, when “showing homes” 
to potential buyers, the continued stairs...up and down...became physically aggravating. I was diagnosed as having chronic degenerative osteo-arthritis. 
In 2006, when a golden opportunity presented to represent a builder in his
project to build condominium apartments in Ancaster, I resigned from the brokerage firm to return to my specialized sales area...which would be far 
less stressful on my arthritic joints. Unfortunately, the anticipated project
was delayed (as can occur in the building industry) and placed me in a 
precarious position to make a decision. Necessity demanded that I
“downsize” minimizing my monthly expenses.

Sometimes, it is not only necessary, but wise
to “Swallow One's Pride ... and Move On!”
Like a fine horse in retirement,
I put myself “out to pasture”!
(called retirement)

                                 Now I have a cosy comfortable apartment
                                 where the maintenance is low,
                                 where the location is superb,
                                 where the neighbours are friendly,
                                 where I live life leisurely
                   and with time to play bridge...and develop my writing craft.


If there is one thing I have learned through it all, it is that
setbacks are just speed bumps;
they are not the end of the world, unless you let them be!
Decide not to quit!
Quitting is a sure-fire way to fail.
You may drastically change your tactics.
You may take a brief break to gather your senses.
You may change your directions, but
you cannot sit down and give up!

For years, I've had three inspirational plaques beside my desk...even today!
Hang in There! (picturing a lion restfully sleeping in the tall sturdy
branches of a tree...his legs hanging down from his treed position)

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life! (picturing a sunrise
across peaceful waters with a far invitational horizon)

Man tires quickly of New Discoveries and Inventions, but never
with the Beauty and Wonder of Nature! (depicting a majestic
mountain piercing the blue sky...and wildflowers blooming in the
summer breeze)

Each of the above is a daily injection for me to always remain 
“Positive in Attitude”
and to not only Discover...but to Enjoy the Beauty of the Day!

Merle Baird-Kerr . . . written December 12, 2011
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  1. I loved this writing! is always so interesting to me, and I remember to have talked with you some of it. Great writing!

    1. My Favourite Nephew...such an ardent follower
      of my writings! This communication we have truly diminishes the mileage distance between us!
      Early April you leave for Chile with Vicente?
      Give my Love to your "Elizabeth-Taylor-looking
      Mother ... from me.