EVERY WOMAN has an “on-it” tray, in which she has pressing personal, psychological and professional issues she is dealing with. Sometimes she is, ahem, on-it on a l-o-o-ng-term basis. At other times it is an on-and-off fling.
I have four items in my “on-it” tray. Living with HIV, raising a sweet son who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), raising twins, and being a divorced mother of five boys, four of whom are under the age of nine (not necessarily in that order, though).
I cannot do this on my own. My prayer is that God will help me deal with the stuff in my “on-it” tray. That I will live by divine design and purpose. Last year was crazy. I am still wondering how I didn’t lose my mind. Add the divorce to the maddening side effects of my antiretroviral drugs and I was two seconds away from being declared a nutcase.
For a long time I lived without concrete goals or plans. I was this vessel — which, yeah, had sails — but was not using them to chart its own course. I got into the habit of doing things on a whim, of drifting along. This has certainly changed. I do not want to leave my life (and love) to chance. As author Emmanuel James “Jim” Rohn once put it, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they planned for you? Not much.”
Raising my boys by divine design
Any newly single or divorced mother knows the many challenges that come with parenting. I am in that club, now that I am divorced, I am re-learning the art of parenting. And I have learnt that I cannot do it alone.
I cannot be their father, which is why I am now relying on God’s help. I want my sons to turn out right, so I must do the right thing – by God and them.
While I was thinking ASD was heavy enough to knock me off balance, I gained my feet back just in time to handle the blow of a divorce. However, this is a whole new mountain, but which I must climb and conquer.
Because of the number of items in my “on-it” tray, time management is a huge priority. I have realised that, no matter how long I am privileged to live — (and, because of my HIV-infection, I have lived me some) — I can never have enough time.
I pray to God to give me clarity in deciding what’s important and what’s not, which will make me focus on the important things.
I am making drastic adjustments to make the most out of my time. I have the best chance at living a fuller life, a life without regrets, regardless of my HIV and hubby-less status.
Surmounting odds by divine design
In the past, it is not that I did not plan or set goals. I made plans, but I probably did it the wrong way. I can recall a few common mistakes I tend to make in my approach to accomplishing things.
I am 50. I’m not getting any younger, but I am still learning from my mistakes in setting goals. I am learning that repeating these mistakes means that, to some extent, I am to blame. I am the common denominator. Which is why I want divine involvement when setting goals. I am done with making plans, then forcing God to bless them.
I have done tens of interviews. I have answered tonnes of questions on how I became successful. I was even surprised that people considered me successful. I never at any time considered myself successful. That is because, to me, success is a journey, it is never a destination. As Nelson Mandela put it, you climb one mountain, only to realise how many more you need to climb.
Living positively by divine design
Living positively has been on my “on-it” tray for almost 30 years. Still, that does not mean I have mastered this demon.
At one point I thought HIV and stigma were the tallest mountains. Once I reached their peaks, I realised how empty I felt, being a healthy woman with only one kid. I wanted more kids. The next kid looked like an insurmountable mountain.
HIV, age, and the proverbial biological clock are some of the mountains I have had to climb in the recent past. Now I am at the foot of another dizzying mountain: divorce.
Girlfriend, what’s in your “on-it” tray? Don’t let it freak you out. You can do this.