Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Real Life Stories: Bergen

This post is part of a series (hopefully) of real stories about people's lives and how they choose joy. Each person has been interviewed by me, and agreed to share their story with all of you. My hope is that this will strike some chord within our hearts, help us see that we, too, can rise above hardship, and help us see that there are other people out there similar to us.


Some back story on this one: 

I first met Bergen when we became roommates roughly 6 years ago. My first impression of her was she totally knows who she is, she knows what she wants, and she's not afraid to tell it like it is. This is the type of girl that will disagree with a professor in front of an entire auditorium with a profound and completely backed up reason as to why. I liked her immediately. I got the feeling that, for her, friendship is deliberate. She goes into things with her head into it all, she gets to know you before taking you in to her inner circle. I have always admired this quality in her. I hold in high regard those people who act deliberately in all aspects of their life. It speaks perfectly along the lines of the whole minimalism movement -- if it brings you joy, there's room for it in your life. If it doesn't? Well, hit the road, Jack. 

When I asked her if she'd be interested in participating in my Real Life Stories series, she immediately jumped at the chance. She's always been wise beyond her years, and I know this because I'm several years older. I couldn't wait to learn from her wisdom, and hope that as you read her interview, you'll see what I mean, and maybe it will help you, too. 

TJB: Bergen, let's jump right in. What does the phrase "having joy" mean to you? 
Bergen: Joy means making the choice every day to rise above the craziness that is life. I feel like if we don't make this choice every day, then we are no different than a pinball being tossed from bumper to bumper in a pinball machine of life. 

TJB: With that being said, what actually brings you joy? 
Bergen: Many things bring me joy, but, mostly, I can pin it to making choices every day that get me closer to my personal goals. If I don't feel like I am progressing, then it is much harder for me to feel joy. For me, personally, joy is in my control.

TJB: Tell us about a time or event in your life where you felt like you had an impossible mountain to climb.
Bergen: My husband and I struggled with infertility for over a year and a half. I cannot describe the helplessness that I felt. I felt all alone. Everyone around me was posting to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, their little bundles of joy. I had none, and there was nothing I could do about it. That is what made this experience so different from most of my previous struggles. Previously, if I was going through a rough time, I could usually tie it to some poor choice that I decided to make. This, however, was completely different. 

TJB: That sounds like a really rough time. How did you make it through, or how are you making it through? 
Bergen: I can tell you that I spent half of the time viewing my struggle as the victim, and half looking for ways to learn and grow from it. The times I chose despair were some of the loneliest months of my life. I could hear the people around me getting bored with my constant rambles of being "barren". Even I was getting sick of saying the same things over and over again. I could see the effects that my voice to be the victim was taking on the people around me, my marriage, and myself. I wasn't happy. I needed a new perspective. I remember crying to my mother (once again) telling her that I didn't understand why I had to go through this. I had to stop mid-sentence. I couldn't believe that this is what I was doing AGAIN. I needed a change.  

TJB: What did you do that changed it all for you? 
Bergen: I decided from that moment on that I was no longer going to be the victim. I would CHOOSE to be happy no matter what. So what if I can't get pregnant? There are so many worse situations to find yourself in. I knew I would be a mother someday. Maybe not in the way I wanted, but it would happen. As soon as I accepted this fact, everything seemed to change. I'll admit that at times I would occasionally backslide to the victim point of view, but I tried my hardest to see the positive. Making this choice helped me in ways that I couldn't even imagine. I had no idea the tension this was bringing to my marriage, and the close relationships with my family. I could instantly see a difference. I could feel the joy that I had been denying MYSELF all this time. It seems silly to think that I wasted all that time feeling miserable. I learned a valuable lesson through this struggle, and that is that I am in control of my own joy and happiness. I know it sounds corny, but for me that is the key, to make a conscious choice to be happy everyday. 

TJB: So, to sum it all up, what would you say dealing with infertility has taught you? 
Bergen: This trial was to show me that even when what you want the most seems out of your reach, you can still consciously make the choice to be happy. It's all about a paradigm shift. How else can I view this experience? I could choose to let it make me miserable, and fill my soul with hate and blame, or I could choose to view it as an opportunity to progress personally. 

You'll all be happy to know that Ms. Bergen is expecting their first child this year. Woo hoo! 

Thanks so much for being willing to share that with us, Bergen. I can see that you really learned important life lessons through that infertility. Choosing joy isn't always easy, and sometimes it really takes a hard lesson to teach us, doesn't it? At least that is how life is for me. Struggle and struggle and struggle, until I run smack into it and can't see around it. 

If you have any comments or questions for me or Bergen, please share them below! 
Also if you have any thoughts on this, please feel free to share them below, as well!

SPECIAL NOTE: Because these lovely people have bared their souls to me, been willing to share their struggles publicly, and because this blog is about happiness and joy, I absolutely will not tolerate any negative comments of any kind. Each of us struggles in our own way, and it's personal. Even if you deem their struggle as something trivial to you, it is not to them. We all have our own paths to walk. What is hard for you is easy for others, and vice versa. Anything rude, will absolutely be censored.

Join the conversation!

  1. Lovely interview! I love the idea that joy is in our control.

    1. Thank you for stopping by. I totally agree, sometimes it's harder to control it, but we have a choice of what we'll do with each day.

  2. I really need to read this today, thank you so much for sharing! Very inspiring!

    1. So glad it was here for you today then. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. So agree with Ms. Bergen: Joy means making the choice every day to rise above the craziness that is life - I have to make that a choice - if my mood is bad, I know it's a choice and I don't like that choice for myself - so glad to here they are expecting now! YAY

    1. Yes it's very exciting for them now! Thanks for reading!

  4. Thank you for sharing your heart Bergen! Congrats on your soon to be little one! It's so easy to play the victim (I'm guilty of that a lot).

    1. I feel like that is a very human thing... WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME? It's harder but better to not be a victim. If only I could perfect that skill!

  5. Love this idea of joy interviews and congrats to Bergen on her new baby! Very exciting times!


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