Community//

I’ll never thank my ex – but maybe I should

My ex-husband gambled everything we owned - and lost.

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We were married for thirteen years. In the beginning, it was star-studded love. In the end, emptiness, and despair.

He was a gambler and I was blind to the truth of what was happening in our life together.

People tried to tell me, but I just couldn’t – or wouldn’t see it. When we couldn’t pay our bills and I was forced to sell over $20,000 in family heirlooms to buy us another month or so, I had no choice but to face the wreckage of our marriage.

I wasn’t even competing against another woman, where I might have a chance to make things better, win him back. There was no way I could compete against the mistress – the high of gambling. By the end of our relationship, I didn’t even want to.

I filed for divorce, left everything I owned, moved to a new place and cried for months.

You know the usual tortured questions. What happened? What could I have done differently? How did I let this happen? How could I have been so stupid? Where do I go from here? I felt like such a failure.

The task of righting my life – moving forward in a positive direction – seemed downright daunting.

I knew I had to do something drastic. I took the last of my money and decided to invest it in myself. I took a photography workshop and then a travel writing workshop in April and September of 2013.

It was a chance to turn the page – start a new chapter – focus on myself for a change.

It was the best decision of my life.

Slowly I learned how to travel, meet new people, land sponsored trips and enjoy new experiences I could write about and make money from.

I now write for print, online, inflight magazines. I gained enough confidence in my talents to be able to approach hotels, restaurants, attractions, and ask for media comp’s in exchange for PR coverage.

I travel all over the country, have been sent to Fiji, Paris, and Ireland on assignments – trips that I would have never been able to manage on my own. I take photo essays and sell those images with my articles, as fine art, to private clients, and to stock photo agencies.

I also get paid to teach others how to do the same.

Life is different now. I am not completely out of debt yet but I’m getting there. My life is richer, I’m more confident in myself, and I’m not bitter.

What was was. I’m working on my future. The failure (or what I saw as my failure) was really a blessing in disguise.

Every day is new now. I open my eyes and say ‘Mornin’ World.’ Let’s see what we can make happen.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

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