Best Years

Recently I had a conversation with a girlfriend who is a few years older than me. She expressed how she felt her husband, who had been cheating on her for years, had taken the best years of her life. After listening to all the disappointments she had about him, I sat quietly and absorbed what she was saying. The conversation paused for a moment. She said again, “Can you believe I gave him the best years of my life?” I responded with “How do you know?” She looked at me stunned. I said again, “How do you know?” and then added, “Is this really true?” Silence fell again as she thought about my response.

Focus on Your Side

Because I am trying hard to live my life in a way where I look at my side of any situation and see where I had a part in it, I have to do the same with friends and clients. I am not going to chime in without knowing all the facts. I have been at those lunches where women talk about their husbands in a derogatory way. It is not us against them. We are all here to be about love and kindness. When it came to my friend, I kept asking, “What is your part? Why do you think he is cheating? What have you done to support him? Do you treat him with the most love and kindness? Is he sexually satisfied?” Before we go down any road of blame, though, it makes sense to see where we have a part in the story. No situation is one-sided, and I have heard many stories in my fifty-eight years.

How do I know this? I am guilty as charged. I looked at only my ex’s side of the story. I looked at his part, judged, criticized, and had way too much anger toward him. I get it—recognizing our patterns when we are deep in them is not easy. At the time, I felt justified in everything I expressed about him. If we are going to look at the bad parts, we have to also look at the good. In any situation, we can find the good.

The Best Years

Back to our best years. No one can take your best years—or anything else—from you. If you feel your best years are over, that is simply a belief. If you stay in a marriage that you are not satisfied in, that is your choice. Our best years are what we make of them. I am fifty-eight, and I feel like my life is just getting started. I have no idea when my best years are going to happen. Maybe they have already happened, and I didn’t appreciate them when they were right in front of me. But maybe they’re ahead or even here now.

No human has been put on this planet to serve us and give us our best years. Rather, every one of us is here to serve, love, and go into relationships to give, give, give. I asked my friend lots of questions: “How have you contributed to this marriage? What are you bringing to the table? Are you fully authentic and loving? Or are you constantly criticizing and judging and reliving the past?”

We both had a breakthrough during this conversation. Some of the most damaged people become our greatest teachers. I learned so much from this conversation, and I felt called to share this. What a great lesson for anyone at any age. Too many women feel they wasted time or lost their best years. However, I know women in their seventies who are sexier than ever because they believe that life continually gets better and better!

Aging Gracefully into Our Best Years

Aging gracefully is a full-time job because it requires so much inner work. What we do on the inside shows on the outside. Our happiness is deep within us. We can choose to be happy no matter what is going on around us. Happiness is a choice. No one is responsible for it except ourselves. And to take it a step further, I would say our purpose is to spread happiness always.

Our choices will dictate our happiness, not what another human being is doing. Most importantly, in relationships, we cannot change anyone. If you are married to someone who cannot stop cheating, then you must decide what you’re going to do. It is never too late to have everything you want!

Your best years could be right in front of you. It happens when you choose to make them your best!

Deborah Driggs

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