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By Teresa Cavaliere
West Palm Beach, FL, USA

Teresa Cavaliere
(credit: Joseph J. Bucheck III)

As 2011 came to a close, I looked back and asked myself, “How did I survive?" It wasn't the easiest of times having to go through a mortgage crises, the economic collapse and a husband/father leaving his family. You would think that when you've lost your life savings, your home and any other equity you had, it would put you so far into a black hole that nothing could possibly get you out. But I managed.

I managed to get not only one job, but three, and in a state (Florida) with twelve and one-half per cent unemployment. I worked them all until I got the job that would get me back on track. The one that would give me back my self-worth and allow me to shine among my peers once again. The one that I lost track of when I was hoping someone would take care of me for a change. Instead, in the process, I managed to lose my self-esteem, my home, my life savings and a 25-year relationship with my husband, all in a blink of an eye.

I did things that astounded me, and my friends. I don't consider myself special, but I do have a survival instinct that only the big guy upstairs knows about. We all have it. It's just a matter of tapping into it. I can't tell you it was easy, but I can tell you, if you set your heart and mind on a goal, it will happen! I have a consistent paycheck now and I am paying my bills on time. This may not seem like much to someone else, but when you literally lose it all, making enough to pay your bills on time, put gas in your car and feed your family is quit a victory!

I am amazed at a mother’s instinct to persevere. I knew that I would somehow make enough extra money to pay for our trip to Ohio to get my son to his college orientation and to help set him up in his dorm room. With the grace of God, hard work and a loving family in Ohio, we made it. I got my son to college! So you see, anything is possible, if you work at it!

Instead of looking at all the negatives, I managed to look ahead at the positives and the possibilities and to live life one day at a time, conquering one task at a time as though jumping each hurdle was magically leaping me toward a better future.

I see life less complicated these days, without all the “stuff.” It's the little things, like having my children together as a family and a silly three-foot Christmas tree that are joyful to me. I don't think so much about the perfect gift to give anymore, especially when I see the joy in my friends’ faces that I baked them biscotti, instead of buying something they don't need.

I survived 2011! I am a conqueror of my own destiny. We all are.


Teresa Cavaliere is on the frontlines of today’s America and reports on the curves life throws at her.

All opinions expressed by Teresa Cavaliere are solely her own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.

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