*Are you happy at the moment?
Happy with myself! My garden needs weeding, my kitchen needs updating, and I have other concerns on my mind. But they are just things to do, not things taking away from happiness.
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
Be braver than you think you can possibly be. Don’t let anything keep you from trying harder. The challenges of high school really will end as fast as the fun parts. So don’t focus on the hard parts. Listen to the guidance counselor when she talks about college options. Smile more. Help your mother more. Take the advice of adults. They’ve been here longer, so they just might know more than you, even if by accident. Stay away from people who bring you down. Put your best foot forward always. Don’t compare yourself to others, compare yourself to your best self. Join clubs, even if your friends aren’t in them. You might find out that other friends are.
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
I can still learn something new every day. Life’s lessons never stop.
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I want to grow my business faster, and finish writing my books.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
I look to myself, spirituality, and health to be happy. That leads to happiness in work and family, and continues outward.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Walking and stretching every day.
*What’s your biggest regret?
I handled a relationship badly when I was 20. I know I was young and immature, and it’s not all on me, but I would love to go back and apologize for my part.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
To be and love yourself.
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
Putting myself last in some relationships.
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
My professional career, where I amicably serve couples who have decided to end their marital relationship.
*When were you happiest?
When I have been strongest, which is always today.
*What ten words best describe you?
Happy, loving, professional, warm, sharing, fair, communicative, compromising, honest, helpful. These apply to me in marriage, motherhood, family, friendships, and my job.
Joan Fradella is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and the co-founder of Divorce thru Mediation, Inc. (www.divorcethrumediation.com). She has a BBA in Public Accounting, and a MBA in Quantitative Analysis. She has worked for Defense Contractors, a Security Firm, and several CPA firms doing Tax and Forensic Accounting work. She has been married for 30 years, and has one son. She is one of 12 children. She was diagnosed with Epilepsy when she was 34, which ended up being the gift that taught her to have compassion for others.