What I Discovered When I Took #TheTenYearChallenge Share this...FacebookPinterestTwitterLinkedin Jumped on this #10YearChallenge really fast, without stopping to think about what all’s happened to ME in the past 10 years. Frantically I posted my before and after photo on FaceBook without looking deep enough. I don’t want to glaze over how much I’ve changed, or how much you’ve changed over this last decade of this crazy, beautiful, wonderful, and oh so sometimes painful life we are living. But now I am. Today I am sitting in a hospital room with my husband (as he receives treatment) and it gives me time to reflect— time to think about this journey. When I look at the photo of me from 10 years ago, life was carefree. I hadn’t yet become a mom, and the traumatizing event I had been through prior (I will share at another time) had been softened because I met the love of my life and I was a newlywed. I had a 9-5 office job in NYC. Jordan and I lived in a 2 bedroom apartment, I made a great living, and we were happy. Then the economy struck, and that great job I had, I lost. Jordan decided to leave the financial business world to be in his family’s business. We wanted to start a family, and unfortunately I suffered many losses. Money became really tight, and having enough money for infertility treatments, and everything else was difficult. I went back to graduate school to get my masters degree in Counseling Psychology, and realized financially we were in trouble. I was sleepless during the nights thinking about how I was going to take care of our daughter, and provide more for her. How would I send her to pre-school, and to camp? I was plagued with always feeling like we wouldn’t ever make enough to get ahead. It’s amazing to me the stress I endured during those years. Just thinking about it makes me cry. I realized that if I was going to change our financial situation I was going to have to figure it out. Thankfully I said Y E S to an opportunity that changed our lives. By the time I had our second daughter (5 years ago) I was making a big financial impact in our household and so much more. I had found a group of women who supported me, believed in my dreams of wanting a better life, and held me accountable. I remember thinking how amazing it all was, and that for the first time in a long time I wasn’t scared to get our bills from the mailbox anymore. But I always asked myself, “Why? Why me? Why did I say yes? What does this mean in the big picture?” Well four years ago I had my answer. The unthinkable happened when my husband became sick. He stopped working, and our life consisted of treatments, hospitals, long drives, doctors, very serious decisions, and lots of ups and downs. My days of carefree were long gone. I had a new life. Not only was I mommy, a wife, and caregiver, but also the financial provider for my family. I am not the same carefree girl I was in the picture on the left anymore. I’m just not. In the picture on the right I am happy. I am strong. I am unbreakable. I still love life, but it’s been a really hard road. Today I’m optimistic, and ready for the next 10. I want to hear from you. Post your #10yearchallenge, and tag me in it. Don’t just post the picture. Tell me how you’ve grown, I bet it’s a lot. This is my unique story. Search RF IDS for more info. Rachael Braunshweiger The voice behind Guts & Gloss, Rachael is on a mission to share everything she’s learned about having guts, taking risks, turning obstacles into opportunity — and living with style (of course)!