Another Stroll Around the Sun…
By Mel Greenberg
A shocking loss, a battle with cancer and a struggle to find her purpose as an empty nester…here’s how Mel Greenberg, 60, turned it all around to become a best-selling author living a life she loves.
I turned sixty this past January. Oh, what a fabulous year 2020 was going to be! It did start out that way – until well, you know, the world flipped upside down. But honestly that - THIS is precisely how I ended up here.
Who I am today is a beautiful, continuing evolution. I made the choice to accept and embrace that life will do and be exactly what it wants.
There have been so many changes over the past decade. In the summer of 2010, my eldest went off to Hollywood to pursue his lifelong passion to direct. I turned fifty that year – it was not the joyous milestone I’d imagined, but it was memorable! I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I celebrated my fiftieth birthday, reflecting that my mother had passed just a week before hers – from the same cancer.
That’s an essential component to my story I’m privileged to share with you here. She was diagnosed when I was thirteen, losing her hard-fought battle just four years later. I was a college sophomore when I became a motherless daughter. Nothing about the life I’d imagined came to fruition in quite the same way.
But it went on. I went on – college, a fabulous career in broadcast journalism, marriage and motherhood. What stayed with me, however, was the tremendous anxiety residing just beneath the surface. Would I get it? Was my fate sealed? Would I pass, missing my life’s most important moments, as she had?
I share this with you because, it was my confrontation with those fears that set me free. My own relationship with cancer and the journey that ensued was liberating in ways I could never have predicted. And, during the many angst-ridden
night-time vigils, with sweaty palms and heart palpitations, I scripted my life – what I would do if I did get cancer – how I would live, how I would die. The internal conversations were exhausting!
Moving through the reality of having it - treating it, continue to inspire and empower me. I can’t possibly know for certain what will come, but I will prepare and deal with it all, ONLY - if and when it happens. I no longer live in fear of the “what ifs”.
Three years later, in 2013, my nest emptied as my youngest son headed to Kentucky to play football, fulfilling his childhood dream of playing in college. A remarkable transition followed in the wake of that departure. While there wasn’t one “AHA” moment when my days took on a notably grey hue, there were changes, signals that life as I’d known it was shifting – I was different.
My life of writing personally and professionally, helped me. Journaling became a way to ‘work though’ my fears, my heartbreak, my hopes. Those hopes would ultimately save me. For me, it has been an undying faith in silver linings, and I pray I’ve passed that on to my sons. Life can suck! But if we choose to see the sun through the clouds – to focus on the possibilities rather than the limitations, we can and will thrive.
As I settled into life, post full-time, stay-at-home motherhood, I witnessed the sense of loss and uncertainty other parents experienced. I was not alone. I watched marriages, and families suffer. It became clear that Empty Nest Syndrome was far more than a cliché. And I was hunkered down in the trenches with the beast.
My “AHA” moment appeared cloaked in self-doubt and wonder. While vacationing in Italy with my husband, I broke down. Feeling perfectly inadequate and incapable of managing this challenge. My confidence was shot. My voice, gone. I had absolutely no idea who or what I was supposed to be now. The so-called golden years were tarnished. I had no plan, and this was foreign territory for me.
It was during this time that a story began to take shape. The characters Samantha and Michael came to life in what would become my debut novel, Running With Our Eyes Closed. It is a story of rediscovery, love and loss in marriage and life. And with it I found the answers I’d been seeking. My voice spoke out with clarity and direction. A passion that had provided so many incredible contributions over the years helped me navigate those difficult days.
Today, three and a half years later, I’m living my best life. The next book in the series is underway. I’ve appeared in two international best- selling books, on a global summit panel for coping with and surviving cancer, numerous podcasts and radio and television, founded a hybrid publishing company, and travelled the world speaking, writing and working on behalf of women and ageing with purpose.
My hope for you is that you first, acknowledge and embrace the challenges you face. Then, step back with an open heart and an open mind to explore all the possibilities. You just may find that something you least expected, will be the one thing to usher in your new year – your new YOU!
To follow Mel’s journey go to her website:
To buy her best selling novel: "Running With Our Eyes Closed" go to Amazon, B & N, Apple.... all online assets globally