… five years ago that I would be writing this column from a home in the hills that I own, from a home office that is not the dining room table or, even more accurate, my lap, for a column that is celebrating 5 years of weekly thoughts and experiences…

Well, I would’ve said you were dreaming.

But here I sit. And I’m awake. And you are all here with me.

Five years ago I was unemployed, had nothing in my bank account, was scared out of my mind and wondering what exactly I should do with the rest of my life since it looked like my career as a writer was over.

I couldn’t get a job anywhere. I couldn’t pay my rent. I couldn’t even buy spaghetti sauce for my daughter’s spaghetti. I was broke… but not broken.

A single mom with a daughter who was soon turning nine years old. A daughter who believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. A daughter who was the reason I just kept going… waking up, showing up, putting one foot in front of the other and praying for guidance.

And I had this column. This weekly column that gave me a place to share. And you all shared back. You laughed, cried, and walked the walk with me. And you still do.

I look at my life today — employed, a home owner, a mom to that still amazing daughter who is now applying to high schools, and in love with a man who asked my daughter for permission to marry me.

But even more important… I look at my life five years ago and am beyond grateful. That struggle made me a better person. It changed me profoundly. It taught me about the kindness of strangers, the power of staying sober, honest, humble and willing.  And it made everything that’s come since meaningful. Far more meaningful.

I don’t take a single day for granted. I try to acknowledge every thing. The coffee at work, the gas in my car, the  clothes on my daughter, the lights on in my house right now. The sauce on our spaghetti.

Everything is a gift.

No dollar is too small. No job too unimportant.  No moment not to be celebrated. Because when you’ve gone without… you never forget.

So, in honoring 5 years of this wonderful column that saved me over and over again… let’s look back at the first one I ever wrote.

And, as always, thank you for reading. xoxo