Mental Notes with Hilary Valdez: Turning points

Mental Notes with Hilary Valdez: Turning points

by Hilary Valdez
Stripes Okinawa

Turning points in life are milestones in our life experience. Happiness or sadness, neither lasts forever. The pendulum of life swings back and forth. A new job is a turning point. A divorce is a turning point. Having a baby is a turning point. Retiring. Losing a loved one. Having a debilitating illness. Getting old, are all turning points in our life. But when sadness visits us, we become weak, our strength leaves us, our spirit dims, and our spirit and emotional well-being gets a flat tire. There is no smooth road to the future, yet we must survive despite the bumps and curves in the road ahead. Life is filled with everyday challenges, but each serves a purpose. It is a steppingstone to growth and insight. But when hardships are upon us how do we endure it? Do you resign yourself to the turn of events? Do you mourn for what has been? Are you dazed and confused? Are you angry and filled with self-pity? With turning points in life, we lose something– sometimes it’s precious, maybe it’s our sense of safety or sense of purpose. At this point we begin taking our self-inventory and what skills and abilities do we have to offer. We begin to examine ourselves more closely. Who am I? What am I? What can I offer to the world? What can I do – becomes very clear when we stare at our resume, wondering what to write. During turning points it’s important to understand what type of person you are and take control of what you can control for your future planning. A turning point is a moment for creating new meaning in your life. Your reason for being is shifting, which can be unnerving. When I retired for the “second time” I was at a loss. What now coach? I was healthy, fit, but I had soft skills, I wasn’t a “techie.” I was a people person, a Resiliency Trainer, but now, I was in a concert hall with no band, no audience – just the microphone in my hand. I sadly realized that most people can be happy in a state of ease, health, and success; but when the turning point arrives – what’s next? It’s a lonely and empty feeling. A scary moment, filled with self-doubt. During my year of transformation, I learned from suffering comes wisdom, compassion, and self-awareness. I focused on my spiritual training realizing that the mind and spirit most of the time advance when it is tested by suffering. Marine Corps boot camp taught me this, but I forgot, it was centuries ago. Yet at times we must lose ourselves before we find ourselves. I spoke with friends, my family and dipped my head into the psychological pool of wellness and decided to just be myself. I let go of all the “You have to” messages and “You need to” message and “You must” and “Keep competing” message. I decided to just let go and let be! During this year of my turning point, I realized that there is nothing so important and essential as the human spirit. The spirit of human existence is the drive of all our virtues. Look around the world at the catastrophes and calamities, yet the human spirit shines through. The human spirit is the light of the world bringing a collective of hope, and a spirit of light within humanity. This light exists in all of us, sometimes it gets very dim, but it remains lit, we just have to kindle the flame and let our inner light shine with its unique characteristics. Breathe, relax, and be your unique self with all your pimples and dimples, and as the song goes, “I gotta be me!” Rejoice! Shine your light on a new turning point. Go “fear-ward,” and step on the stone as it appears.

Hilary Valdez is a retiree living in Japan. He is an experienced Mental Health professional and Resiliency Trainer. Valdez is a former Marine and has worked with the military most of his career and most recently worked at Camp Zama as a Master Resiliency Trainer. Valdez now has a private practice and publishes books on social and psychological issues. His books are available on Amazon and for Kindle. Learn more about Valdez and contact him at the website or email. Follow his YouTube channel Hilary’s Quick Talk for more insights.


Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Japan
Stripes Korea
Stripes Guam

Related Content

Recommended Content

Around the Web