Inspiration & Expert Advice on What Matters Most

Posts Tagged ‘divorce’

It Will All Work Out

In Career, Contributors, Family, Finances, Lifestyle, News, Relationships on January 12, 2016 at 09:00


By Marilu Cristina Flores

In my twenties, I accomplished numerous things; I was married, moved away from my home permanently (or so I thought) and was pursuing the career I had always dreamed of. I gained recognition professionally, traveled to many places I had longed to visit and had a lovely home in Southern California.

Five years into my first marriage, we called it quits and just a short time later I found myself engaged to someone else, we married a year into dating.

As I approached my thirties, I found I was no longer in love with the career I thought I always wanted and it felt like the few choices I did make for me, were not heavily appreciated or accepted by my partner. I chose to go back to school and pursue Marine Science and took a position in Marine Conservation which paid me a third of what I had ever made, even as a young professional in High School!

While I was happy professionally, working outdoors in the sea and teaching children about the importance of conservation, I quickly found myself stuck in an unhappy marriage with a spouse who was less than there and in-laws that could fill the pages of horror novels.

When my ex-husband left me, just two weeks after my thirtieth birthday, I wasn’t devastated, but relieved to be free of his wandering ways and exhausting family. 

The day after he uttered the words “divorce,” I hopped on a plane and spent a month away visiting friends in Vermont and New York. When I returned to Miami, I packed up my things and relocated to Vermont. Just like that. It was the freest I had ever felt up until that point in my life, I had no plan, and minimal savings, but somehow, I truly knew it would all just work out. I’m sure to many it seemed odd, unexpected and completely out of left field! But somehow, I knew this is what I had to do.

Now if you know me, you know I am #TropicalLife for life so this was a huge change for me, before my life in Vermont I was convinced anything under 75 degrees was freezing and ungodly.

While I didn’t know it yet in Vermont I would experience the worst winter there since 1859, and I would find myself moving to an area completely new to me: Digital Marketing.

It was during my time at Keurig, that I really began to realize what a broad diversity of work experience I had and how I truly was capable of anything I wanted to accomplish.

I met someone, a man, through a friend and for the first time in my life I took my time; took my time to decide.

Not just on who I wanted to spend my time with, but to truly decide what I wanted to make of my time, my energy and of the things I was so extremely passionate about. 

In May of 2015, in the winter that felt like an eternity, I had a rather odd crazy dream about putting on an #EcoFashionShow and that next morning, I reached out to the people who were in my dream. Who crazily enough, had recently started a nonprofit and had been discussing a Fashion Show for months! But had no clue where to start and so began this new chapter in my life. 

I started organizing the show, making phone calls from Vermont and emailing people I had met throughout the years.

Everyone I reached out to said “YES! We’ll help you!”. They donated goods, time, the venue, everything! It was CRAZY!

Everything was happening just like in my dream; I decided to re-locate back to Miami in August of 2015, my new love in tow! And work continued on the fashion show, I also became involved in other projects, such as helping Surfrider a nonprofit I had been involved with in California and for a few years in Miami before I left to Vermont. Shortly after my return I was asked to become a Board Member – one of my lifelong dreams!

Finally, the day of the Fashion Show arrived and within an hour we were completely SOLD OUT! Raising well over our expectations and gaining interest for another show and other events.

From this began an overnight business, as people wanted to hire me for my newfound Digital Marketing and Social Media experience.

I turned thirty-one on August 23rd, and upon reflection on my birthday I realized how much more I knew now (cliché, I know) and despite what many would consider some epic failures (two divorces and a 15-year long career I left), I learned that without those marriages I would have never been able to appreciate the man I am now with, who was willing to leave all he knew behind and relocate to Miami with me because he believed in me and my dream, who wanted to see me grow professionally and personally and without my previous career I would have never learned what I now know which has helped me immensely as a Social Media Specialist. 

At thirty-one, I am living the life many strive for over a lifetime. I love what I do! I have accomplished work/life balance and every day is a new, welcomed challenge.

I have gained financial freedoms I never thought were possible for me and have learned to nurture a healthy, mature relationship with an age appropriate man who appreciates me as much as for my flaws as well as my accomplishments.

I can’t wait to see what this decade has in store, there will be ups and there will be downs I am sure, but the wisdom gained from my experiences in my early twenties will surely see me through them.


About Marilu:

Marine Conservationist, Media Producer, Surfrider, Social Media Specialist. Please visit to know more about her.


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“What list?”

In Beauty, Contributors, Family, Finances, Lifestyle, Relationships on August 9, 2013 at 11:14

By Michelle Fairweather

Michelle Fairweather

Something happened to me during my 29th year of life…I started to feel old. I don’t know when it happened. Maybe it was when I saw the increasing number of grey hairs in the rear view mirror each morning. Maybe it was when I was tagged in that photo that was clearly taken to show my ever-deepening wrinkles. It may have been that fateful Sunday when I realized it was taking me a whole weekend to function after a not so heavy Friday night. Or maybe it was when I found myself realizing that certain body parts who normally enjoyed a rather ‘north’ vantage point had started to migrate south. It could have been when I stopped going to weddings and started attending baby showers and, ever increasing in popularity, divorce parties. It might even have been when my 16-year-old godson, the godson whose nappies I remember changing, called me for relationship advice…No, stop the press, now I remember…The sinking feeling that life was well on the down slide to aging occurred when a good friend pointed out that my days of a 20-something-year-old female were numbered. I won’t lie, turning 30 was horrendous. I put on a brave face and told everyone it wasn’t that bad but really my trained counsellor self was only easing others’ fears, because deep down I was dreading it.

Why was turning 30 such a dreadful experience? It was because something, someone, somewhere was making me take stock of my 30 years and measure them against a ‘list’ of expected accomplishments. I don’t know how this list exists, it’s not written down anywhere, no one tells you, no one hands you a secret envelope that self destructs after reading, and it doesn’t arrive in the mail in disguise as a birthday card. However, let me assure you, the list is very real and it appears to be available in any language. It exists inside every 29-year-old and is screaming out at you with every dwindling 29th year sunset. It’s the list that determines how successful you are. It determines how proud you can be at your high school reunions and it gives you a method in which to measure the productivity of the past 30 years. If you score well you can kick back, relax and hold your head high whilst you blow out those 30 candles. If you score badly, well, huff those candles out before you set the place on fire with the knowledge that you’ve got your work cut out before you get to the next marker of 40.

So, what did I find when I sat down with pen and paper and the list?

Well, in regards to housing I didn’t have a picket fence, I was still house sharing. Under relationships, I noted I wasn’t married and I certainly didn’t have children. I was yet to work in my field of study and against assets, well, even if you let me count my pushbike, I was pretty much asset-less.

So, what section of this mysterious list could I check off? I’ve travelled. In actual fact, I’ve travelled a lot. I uprooted my life at 27 and have lived in three different countries. I’ve seen the gorillas in the mist in the depths of the Congolese jungle. I’ve watched the fireworks over Paris as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve. I’ve eaten a champagne breakfast in the Masai Mara and I’ve laid in-between two sleeping tigers in a canyon in Bangkok. I’ve stood over the grave of the mighty King Henry and I’ve learnt what a joy blackcurrant and true Irish Guinness is. Last but not least I’ve clocked up enough frequent flyer points to possibly do it all again. Yet, when compared to the list I am left with one measly section marked off.

Who is it that determines what the list should include? Who states what makes a successful 30-year-old? When compared to a mother and a wife who is on maternity leave from her dream job why should I hang my head in shame and feel the need to explain that I had been out of the country for 3 years? Why did I feel the need to uproot my life again at 30 and head home to my country of origin in search of ways to mark more items off the list? Really what I should have done is asked my two 30+ housemates to help me look for the originator of the list. That way we could have sent them a lovely gift basket full of food that they may, possibly, one day, choke on.

My advice to all those 29 year olds…If the positive in your life outweighs the negative, hold your head high and scream from the rooftops that you embrace the wisdom that being 30 brings. When that doesn’t take away the dread, just remember a celebrity such as Jennifer Anniston. At 30 she was still not married, not yet divorced, was childless and had a dreadful haircut? Success is what you make of it. Ignore the list at all costs!

About Michelle:

Born in Adelaide, South Australia to British parents, Michelle grew up with the aim to one day travel the world. When rapidly approaching 30 and after exploring the track farless trodden in places such as Africa and Asia, Michelle settled in the UK for three years. However, when the need to buy furniture and fancy cutlery became too strong, she returned to her hometown to determine if it was still home. A graduate of psychology, Michelle knows this move will not be easy but is excited about what’s ahead on the other side of 30.


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“Me at 38”

In Contributors, Family, Health, Lifestyle, Relationships, Spirituality on August 7, 2013 at 08:08

By Ana Karina Cespedes

Free of the burden of me

Of the need to fulfill every desire

To fill every hole

To find all the pieces in this puzzle

A puzzle I never could control


Free to just be

To let go and let the pieces fall into place

To truly believe in myself

To not just repeat what I now know

But to feel it intensely in my bones


Free to make the right decisions

Without consulting the world

Free of stupid thoughts and able

To listen to my voice, my thoughts, my heart


Free because I don’t need anyone

I simply want to share my life with everyone

Embracing all the love that surrounds me


Free to finally be me

Gray hair, wrinkles and fat

You couldn’t pay me to go back


This feeling has no price

It’s not for sale, there’s no negotiating


Free to roam, free to love, free to leave it all behind…

-AK Cespedes

Ana Karina CespedesThis is the truth and I’ve never felt freer, more creative, and more confident in my life. We gain this as we get older and as long as we are open to change for the better, we will and we can change for the better. I’m excited even to be 40 because I know it can only get better. And trust me, it hasn’t been a bed of roses, a walk in the park, or any other analogy you may have heard. I’ve been twice divorced, I’ve lost my front tooth, had a step-daughter who went through cancer, but somewhere in the depth of my heart I knew that things could only get better and in spite of everything dark in my life, I did believe in the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s important to hang in there and be strong and have good people in your life and most importantly it is so important to learn to listen to your gut. The sooner you can develop that skill, fine-tune your voice, it takes practice but it will keep you from making terrible mistakes. We have the answer to all our issues; we just need to learn to listen to ourselves and God! He gives us signs EVERY SECOND OF THE DAY! I promise you, you just need to keep your eyes, ears, mind and heart open!

About Ana Karina Cespedes:

Peruvian-born, Miami-resident, daughter, sister, friend, traveler, photographer, food-lover, drinker, spectacular. Check out her amazing photographs at:


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“Turning 30 woes”

In Career, Contributors, Family, Lifestyle, Relationships on August 5, 2013 at 08:00

By Rachel Everitt 

RachelEI sit and write to you aged 29 and facing 30 head on whether I like it or not. When you are growing up you seem to have so many milestones which naturally lie ahead of you, turning into double numbers, then a teenager, and then being able to legally have sex, get married, to drive, to drink, to be classed as an adult. So much changes around you just because your birthday comes and goes and you get another year older. All the while it’s great that you are becoming more independent and world wisely, how could getting older not be a good thing.

At 16 I left school, got my first full time job and got engaged, it was all just so brilliant, I bought my first house at 19, got a well-paid job I really wanted and was married at 21. Getting older had been nothing but kind to me, I was in control of my life, was living as an adult and was content with where I thought my life was going.

I thought that getting older was something that was measured by what you achieve, so is there any wonder I was happy and never actually gave getting older a second thought. Then everything changed for me. As I write this I feel that this is when getting older was something I was going to dread. I was 24 when I got divorced, it was my decision, I’d been in a relationship eight years since I was at school and, needless to say, the woman I had become was a far cry from the girl I once was. Hey I was only 24, had my whole life ahead of me, I figured it was a good time to start over before children made an appearance and I only had myself to look after.

After a few months of adjusting to being single, living alone for the first time, paying bills independently and living it up with my friends, I then came to realize that all those years and achievements I thought my life might be measured by had been wiped away, deleted and suddenly replaced with the feeling of failure. I was no longer married, I was divorced, living alone and struggling to pay my mortgage. The only thing I had going for me was my job, which I did appreciate, well sometimes.

Talking to friends one day about meeting someone new I came up with a checklist of things I was looking for in a potential boyfriend. Now the list itself isn’t important, just know that I am a little fussy, however one thing I was adamant about was that I didn’t want to date a guy over 30. OK, at the time I was only 24 so this seems reasonable, right? Wrong, I couldn’t have been clearer with my friends that 30 was just too old, I didn’t want to date someone who had got to 30 and not settled down, thinking surely there was something wrong with them, I know, narrow minded and naïve but that was how I felt.

I got in relationship which went on to last nearly four years, these years were again full of achievements, a measure of how life was going well, nice holidays, getting a dog, getting a new job, moving into a new house. Then it ended, this time not by my choice. Once again feeling like all my achievements had been deleted from record, apart from my job again at least. Except this time I was 28 and heartbroken.

Getting older was suddenly the last thing I wanted to do. It was nearly ten years since I’d left home but all I wanted to do was go back and have my Mum take care of me. This wasn’t even an option as I worked away and needed to be near my job, after all it is the one constant that has remained, aside from family and friends.

So now, here I am trying to let go of the stigma I myself have attached to 30 and how life is measured by the achievements we make. I am not pining for things I don’t have nor am I wishing things I did have were different. The only measure I want in my life is that I am alive and living, anything else will come and go as time goes on. I don’t believe things happen because of the age you are just because of who we are.

I am truly hoping that by the time I reach my 30th birthday I won’t feel old even though I think it’s old. I am getting there; after all at least I’m only going to be 30 and not 40!

About Rachel:

Born and raised in England, Rachel is perhaps the clumsiest person you will ever meet. Love a laugh and try not to take anything too seriously although has the bad habit of being ‘the sensible one’ which saves her from too many embarrassing photos or memories if nothing else. She never says “I love you” unless she means it and anything she does say she means. Check out her blog:


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