One of my goals for 2019 is to work on my public speaking skills. In order to do this I joined Toastmasters. The first speech that you give at Toastmasters is your icebreaker speech. It is a 4-6 minute speech that introduces yourself to the group. this was a difficult speech for me to write as I hate talking about myself. I spent several weeks working on this speech to share at my meeting. I am including it here so I can keep a record of it and also to use to introduce myself to my readers. Enjoy!
The Grass Is Greener
Two years ago, I was sitting a little office in a session with a practitioner. I had been telling him about my fears and the inner turmoil that it was causing. He looked at me and said: “Amanda, do you realize how many people would love to have your life?” I didn’t know how to respond to him. You see, I had lived most of my life believing that the grass is greener on the other side. I thought that my life would be so much better if my life looked like the perfect picture I had imagined in my head. However, in so many ways, my life did not match that image.
I got married the first time right after college. I married a man that had some physical disabilities that I was aware of before we got married, but I learned afterwards that he also had some pretty serious mental illnesses and addictions as well. I became his caregiver for 7 years while also working full time as I was the main source of income after he lost his job. He passed away unexpectedly after 7 years of marriage.
A couple of years later, I met and started dating another man. We got engaged and planned our wedding for that October. He had survived cancer a few years back. He was scheduled to do his yearly scan around the time of the wedding . He decided to move that up a couple of months so he could get the all clear and not have to worry about it during the craziness of the wedding. The only problem was that everything wasn’t all clear. The scan came back and showed that the cancer had returned and this time it was in his lungs and his lymph nodes. He had such faith that God was going to heal him and he was going to beat this cancer again. We got married, went on our honeymoon and then started cancer treatments all in the same month. After about a year and half, the treatments had taken a toll on his body. At one point, he was experiencing such bad side effects from the medication, he decided he wanted to take a break. He had been doing well and the doctor thought it would be okay to take a break from the medication for a month to let his body heal. Two weeks into the break, he started feeling really ill, we went to the hospital and he was there for about a week. He never came back home from the hospital. I was devastated. I was under the age of 40 and had been widowed twice. I struggled so much with carrying that title. I worried about what others thought of me. I wrestled with an enormous amount of fear.
I also felt like my career wasn’t anything to be jealous of. I had a master’s degree and I was working a part time job as an administrative assistant. Why had I worked so hard for a masters degree if all I was going to do was be someone’s secretary?
Even though my career was not hugely successful, that was okay. My current husband and I had decided we were going to start a family. Yes, if you are counting, that is husband number 3. We had been trying to get pregnant for two years but had not been successful. The fact that month after month the tests were negative also made working that crappy part time job unbearable. Every time I would have a frustrating day, the same thing would play over and over in my head—you wouldn’t have to be here if you had a baby already.
Going back to that session I mentioned at the beginning, when that practitioner said do you know how many people would love to have your life, something clicked and changed in me. The more I thought about that, the more I realized how true his statement was.
Yes, I have been married 3 times and gone through the grief of losing two. However I have many single girlfriends that would love to be married just once. Not to mention, my current husband is amazing. He’s smart, funny, works hard and He encourages me and loves me. I feel like we have a wonderful marriage because of the things that I learned through my past relationships and loss.
We still don’t have kids and it’s unlikely that we will, but we do have things that a lot of my friends with kids would love to have – we have the ability to go out to dinner and see a movie anytime we want and we do! – without having to find a babysitter. We both have the luxury of getting a full 8 hours of sleep when we want. Also, we both have the time and freedom to pursue our passions without feeling like we are taking time away from our family.
My part time job back then gave me plenty of time to pursue my real passion – which is writing. I was hired to do freelance jobs and also wrote for my own personal fulfillment. I am continuing to pursue my passion of being a gifted communicator. That is the reason I am here at Toastmasters at this time is to improve my speaking skills. I want to be prepared and confident when opportunities to speak present themselves.
In conclusion, that practitioners statement made me realize how wonderful my life is just the way it is. I have been given some amazing opportunities and experiences in life and I plan to make the most of every single one. I no longer live believing that the grass is greener on the other side, but instead I live knowing that the grass is greenest on my side!