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as told by Michelle Frost

It’s strange for me to think that just a few short years ago, I had no ideas or plans of what my future would look like. As I entered my forties, my two oldest children left home and I was left realizing that I hadn’t spent much time at all considering what my life would look like when I wasn’t tending to someone else’s needs most of the time. My youngest was just entering junior high school, so I knew I had a few years before I had to make any big decisions about what to do with myself. I’ve been a stay at home mom most of the time since my kids were born, and we also homeschooled them, so I hadn’t really built a career for myself. I really felt that I had no identity aside from my roles as wife and mother. I felt like a kid graduating from high school with no idea what direction to take in life. So I started looking at some options. I knew that I didn’t want to spend the money to go back to college and get an advanced degree. I also knew that if I got a job, I wanted it to be in a field in which I could do something that felt meaningful.

During this time of soul searching, I was also dealing with the loss of several close family members, including both of my parents and grandparents and battling the depression I’d been dealing with since I was a teenager. At some point I realized that if I didn’t make some drastic changes in my life, there was a good chance depression and grief would render me incapable of making any forward progress in my life, much less in making any of my dreams come true. I simply wasn’t willing to waste any more of my life in being unhappy.

Then in 2014, one of my lifelong dreams came true. My husband and I spent eight days in Paris to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I’d wanted to go since I was a very little girl, and the city was every bit as magical and beautiful as I’d always dreamed. I felt a kinship with the French people and a deep appreciation for their way of life. Almost from the moment we got back, I began to look for ways for my husband and I to be able to buy a small house in the Languedoc region in France for our retirement years. Of course Paris would be lovely, but it’s some of the most expensive real estate in the world and the south of France has its own charms.

After writing a bit about our experiences in Paris, I realized that I really enjoyed blogging. I had done it off and on for a few years, but it was just a side hobby of mine. I had very good responses to everything I’d written, but it never occurred to me that it might just be the answer to my questions about my future! So I decided that I would start a blog and after a lot of soul searching and meditating, I knew what my focus had to be. I’d had so many conversations with friends and loved ones about the positive changes I’d made in my life. I understood that so many of us were suffering depression in silence, not knowing how or to whom to reach out, and often not realizing that we had power within ourselves to affect real change in our lives. I wanted my blog to be a place for people who wanted to learn more about positivity and happiness to be together and share our insights. And so, my website Mama Bear Said So was born!

It’s only been a few months since I started the blog, but already I’m seeing wonderful changes in my life. My days are spent researching and reading and learning all that I can about blogging and writing and mental health and positivity. And that tiny little spark that started with a personal blog is turning into dreams and plans the likes of which I would have never been bold enough to imagine for myself before! Taking tiny steps toward my dreams have made me bolder and more confident and now I have a plan for myself and my future. In addition to running my blog, I plan on offering downloadable products for my readers and then eventually write an e-book and a print book as well. I’m excited at the thought of being able to get my writing to a broader audience and to be able to share what I am so passionate about – overcoming the crippling bonds of depression and living a happy, fulfilling life full of confidence and excitement for the future! My dreams are so real now that I can see them as vividly as photographs. I see my husband retiring early and us in that little house in Languedoc, traveling through all of France and other parts of Europe enjoying the culture and meeting new people. My dream life is all about learning and growing and sharing and traveling and the best part is, everyday I’m stepping closer and closer to that dream life just by believing in the power of my dreams and taking small actions every day to make them come true!

Michelle Frost is the owner of Mama Bear Said So, a blog dealing with positivity, mental health issues, happiness, and parenting. She’s also owner of Mama Bear Tried It , a product review website. Her work is featured in  The Weekly Roundup Newsletter, a weekly newsletter by bloggers. She has been nominated for the Liebster award for new bloggers and is a member of several blogging collectives. In her spare time, she’s also a freelance writer, an avid reader and amateur genealogist. She lives in Ohio with her husband, teenage son and two Chinese pugs.