They say what doesn’t break us makes us stronger. True or false, I used to often wonder until I put it to the test.

At this point in my life, turning 40, newly divorced and unemployed for over a year, I did not want to get up in the morning.

My mind was constantly spinning faster than my brain could breakdown and focus on any one particular aspect of how my life had changed. What happened to “Happily Ever After”? What a said state of affairs that most young girls are still brought-up thinking “Prince Charming” would come along and they would live happily ever after.

Sorry to say but that is not reality as we see and read every day about the various horrors people go through. People survive disastrous events in their lives much harsher than mine in comparison and for the most part they make it, how, I often wondered?

My life was nothing special but it was my life as I knew it, husband of over 10 years, good job, supportive parents and fairly good health. What else could anyone ask for?
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Of course along the way there were several times of hardships and disappointments in my life but it was not until I realized after my trip over to Ireland what I missing out of life.

Life that is what I was missing. The Irish have a different perspective on the everyday mundane life that we so often take for granted. A country torn apart by corruption and greed, as many are, that still in many areas, in my experience specifically the West of Ireland, still exist these untouched effects of loss of heritage.

I am by no means an expert historian, but from my trips to Ireland and being reared by Irish immigrant grandparents, I have been told stories over the years. Now to the authenticity of these stories, some can be read in history books and current events, while the others remain up to the storyteller.

The mundane life I was living after my divorce led to doubts about my own self-worth to me as well as others. I had no focus, drive or meaning as to why my life turned out so differently than I had ever thought it would.

As many whom have gone through life changing events know, you can only help yourself. My mind was wrecked. I was so tired of living with the memories and the should have, could have or would have thoughts that I now know would not have changed the outcome. Time could not erase the events in my life, but I realized the loneliness and despair had always been with me.

The day that changed everything started as any other day except on this day I acted. So life had thrown me a major curve ball. Deal with it.

I was not raised to be a whimpering coward. I was raised on the beliefs of the Irish, “Stand strong, shoulder to shoulder”. To find myself again, I booked a flight to Ireland. Knowing that going to

Ireland would not answer all my questions such as why did my husband and I drift so far apart, why did I lose my job, why had my life changed so drastically, at least in my mind at the time, and how the hell did time go by so fast that I was 40?

It was not my first time in Ireland, but it was my first time as a single female. The driving experience alone as well as maneuvering through the roundabouts and the humorous pub scenes will be for another time.

At this point I would like to say a quick “Thank You” to whomever came-up with the idea of putting an arrow on the windshield pointing to the direction, side of the road, the car must be on. Kudos to you. It was a lifesaver!

Hailing from New York, I have always gravitated to the West of Ireland. To me it is one of the areas of the country that still lives the “old ways”. Much can be learned from the people of the West, I know I have. They are for the most part a welcoming community that had or are having lived the hard life and have instilled in themselves that nothing should be taken for granted, a warm bed, a cup of tea, a good pint with the mates.

Everywhere I went there was a warm welcome, a story to be told a mate to be made. They have hardships like everyone else, but their approach to the problem is to “cop on”. Basically, deal with the problem and move on. Life waits for no one. I have found through my journey in Ireland that they do however have specific stereotypes of Americans, or as they like to say “Yanks”, but that is for another time.

This focus of this article is how I found myself again in Ireland by not taking myself and life so seriously. If I was to die tomorrow, life would still go on with one less person and to live life today like there will be no tomorrow.

Woman on Dollymount Strand in DublinShay Murphy