grab-the-reins-win-at-lifeThere are times when we have to say enough is enough.

I’m not that person anymore.

You know those times.

When you have to take stock of your life and who you are and adjust everything.

And that’s everything. 

Things like what needs to go, or what could stay, but needs a little tweaking?

Answering questions such as: What’s my true purpose?

Who am I, what do I want and where do I want to go?

That’s what I’ve done.

This is my why

If you just met me recently, say in the last year or so, it’s more than likely you really like me, you’d probably think I’m the nicest person you have ever met.

I’m actually going to go out on a limb here and say that it’s a possibility I could change your life somehow, for the better of course. Yup. Chances are, we would get along really really well. 

Now I’m not saying that because I think I’m all that and a bag of chips. Nor am I saying that because I think I’m the next best thing to come around since gluten free bread (or Nutella).


Not even close. So why am I going on and on about myself like I’m the next Oprah Winfrey? 

Because after a long haul… I’m winning at the game of life.

5 years ago 

You would have run away as fast as you could if you saw me coming because all I did was whine and complain about my problems.

Nothing in my life was going right. I was in a horrible relationship and couldn’t wait for a chance to grab someone, anyone, by the arm to bitch about him.

Everyone had to hear my story dammit. My job sucked, my home life was even worse, my family drove me up the wall. Yup. My life sucked and you needed to hear about it. ALL of it. 

I was an energy vampire.

10 years ago 

I had nothing better to do than talk about everybody

People were stupid. Everyone was stupid.

My parents got on my nerves (yes even in my 40’s they did that) I had an up and down relationship with my sisters, and for the most part, my life had no direction.

And I whined and complained about that too.  I was in your face about something meaningless because I had stories and you needed to hear them. 

I was also vain. Very vain. My hair had to be perfect, my clothes were the best, my body was nicer than yours, if you had something nice I had to have it too but mine would be nicer. I was selfish, greedy and vain. So vain. 

And I was an energy vampire. 

20 years ago

I was just a bitch.

No pussy footing around that one. I was just a plain ole’ bitch. I was mean and ignorant. I wouldn’t do anything for anybody no matter how much they begged.

You could have been dying on the street and I would have walked around you and bitched because you were blocking the way.

I had no time for anyone. It was all about me and my kid and how much I could get out of people, for me and my kid.

I used people for things and money. I was selfish, greedy, ignorant, mean, materialistic, self centred, judgemental (oh how I used to judge). Need I go on? 

Oh how you would have hated me. 


Who is this girl today? Where did she come from? How did she get here? How did she win life over?

I hit bottom. I hit bottom so hard I think I finally knocked some sense into myself.

I had been sucked into a vortex of hate, misery, self pity and poverty; hatred for myself and the person I was.

I was 51 years old and I hated the person I had been, all my life. Inside there was a loving caring and sweet girl dying to come out. How she desperately wanted to come out.  She knew that it wasn’t too late for a better life. For a new beginning. For a new her. 

She wanted to grab the reins and begin winning the game of life.

So I let her, and I began making changes. Big bold brave and courageous changes.

The first thing I did? Leave my abusive relationship.

I had nothing. I had no job, no money, no belongings, no self esteem and little self love.

But it was time to go. I wrote a Dear John letter and never looked back.

The changes that took place after I did that still blow my mind to this day. Why? Because I didn’t think I had it in me. Didn’t think I had it in me to be so ballsy and brave as to grab my life by the reins, win it over and say “Hey guess who’s in charge now?” 

 So you’re probably wondering what on earth did I do? How can anyone change that much and be a completely different person? It’s not possible! Oh but it is.

This is what I did, in a nutshell.

1. Stopped my pity party.

It was so tiring listening to myself whine I could barely stand to be with myself. I wanted to enjoy my own company. In order to do that, I needed to be more grateful.

Grateful especially for the fact that I finally had the balls to leave my relationship and be a big girl.

Grateful that once I did leave, things fell into place so beautifully it could only have been the Universe responding back with a smile.

 2.  Grew, learned and evolved.

It was time. I dove into courses, (and many of them personal development as I so needed tons of help in that department) took on different challenges, flicked fear to the curb and started to…[Tweet “SAY ‘YES’ TO LIFE”]

I paid more attention to people and their needs.

I listened to them, I helped them, I loved them. I told ego to take a hike.

There was a new girl in town and she was kicking ass. 

3.  Forgiveness was a must.

I forgave everyone, especially myself, for all the crap in my life. I forgave all the people who hurt me and used me. I forgave and became free.

Free of anger and hate and resentment, because, let’s face it, I was so full of it. I forgave and I loved and I set my toxic soul free. 

4.  Pulled up my big girl panties.

It was time and I knew that if my life was going to change, no one was going to do it for me. I had a mission, a purpose and a new passion and it was time to unleash it all.

And so I did.

I took a big deep breath, held my head high, shoulders back, stood tall and became a new Iva. Bold, brave, badass and loving, so very loving. 

Slowly I started becoming the person that had been buried inside of me all along.

Sweet, kind, loving and fun. So full of love. I grew and I learned and evolved. I forgave myself for being the person I used to be and embraced the woman I was becoming. 

My heart grew to the size of, well, remember the Grinch and how he was this evil and smelly ugly old soul and then his heart grew so big and he became the hero of Who-ville? Yup, all that happened to me (minus the Who-ville part).

I give, I love, I care, I accept, I respect. Wholeheartedly and unconditionally. 

And I realized, that the happiness I was looking for, had been inside of me all along. Things change, people change. Yes, people change. 

I’m not that girl anymore. 

I’m happy to report I’m not. I am SO not that girl anymore. Today I am a hard core minimalist living in Guatemala helping wipe out poverty, one family at a time. And life is good, life is so good. 

If you hear people from my past speak of me, keep in mind they are speaking of a person they don’t even know anymore.

Everything I did you can do too. You can grab the reins and begin winning at the game of life.


Iva is a freelance writer, blogger and author from Sudbury, Ontario, Canada who now calls Guatemala home.  A lifetime of professional and personal challenges has ignited a passion in her to help people face their fears, chase their dreams and live ridiculously happy lives. Retiring early from her day job as a hairstylist, she now spends her free time volunteering with the less fortunate and wiping out poverty, one hungry belly at a time. Join her on Facebook here for daily inspiration or go to her website and follow her blog. While you're there, why not sign up for her monthly musings and receive the free guide "21 days to a New You".


  1. What an inspiring story, Iva. I would have never guessed. So glad you got this new lease on life. I appreciate all the goodness you’re bringing to the world.

    • Nobody would have ever guessed Sandra ;). I LOVE the new me SO much it’s crazy :). Thanx for your comment and I’m glad you enjoyed my story. xo

  2. Good for you! I am a firm believer in starting over and second chances and creating the life you love!

    • Hi Michele…when you take the risks for second chances…it’s amazing what happens. I just loved reading this from Iva…it was so inspiring.

    • Hi Michele I never used to be until I did it myself! Thank you for your comment and I’m glad you enjoyed the article :)..xoxo

  3. I enjoyed reading how different you were as you moved back in time. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hi Evelyn…it just goes to show that whilst it might not be easy to transform a life…Iva is living proof that it’s possible. 🙂

    • Hi Evelyn thanx for that 🙂 . I look back now and my mind is blown at how much I’ve changed. Glad you enjoyed the article :)…xoxo

  4. I saw a lot of myself in this story, Iva. When we drop the pity party and pull up our big girl panties, life gets much better. It took me 40 some years to get there. Hey, better late than never! So glad I did. 🙂

    • Hey Zeenat thank you so much for your kind words and for taking the time to read the blog 🙂 much love to you xox


  5. Hi, very inspiring indeed ! Everybody deserves a second chance, drop all the clutters and move forward to a better life. Really great!

    • It’s a wonderful story and an opportunity for us all to see what we’re capable of with some courage and determination. Gotta love it Noah. 🙂

  6. hello, I like the wonderful story that I just read in this article I spent moments of sadness, caprice, pride without senses, which one day those bad things that I did completely destroyed my life, I was very sad for many years, Without doing, very disoriented life, one day I also decided to change.

  7. Wow! Thank you for all the information in your article. It’s the list I’ve been searching for. I appreciate your time putting it together. Awesome!

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