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  • Writer's pictureNadine Dandorf

My #10YearChallenge

The recent #10YearChallenge on social media is this week's (month''s...who knows) recent craze and got me thinking not just about any visual change (not interested, thanks) but about how my life has changed in the last 10 years.

In 2009, I had been at the only job I'd ever had for 29 years. Crazy, right? Who does that anymore? At that point though, management had become self-serving, advancement and vision were stagnant to non-existent, and the hand writing was on the wall. Still, it served its purpose and allowed me to work and be a mom whenever I needed to. It finally closed in 2016 giving me my wish for time to finish the novel I had started in 2011, but back to 2009.

Our lives revolved around work, our two children, and the myriad of insanity that comes with what seems like simplicity. My husband was coaching travel soccer for our son and his friends for the last season as I did my best to keep the chaos contained and the kids grew closer to being adults. My son would graduate high school and play soccer at a small college in New York State just over the New Jersey border. His 18th birthday was spent playing goalie at an indoor Ironmen soccer invitational tournament at the Prudential Center. My daughter finished middle school with her eye not just on starting high school but finishing it and getting to college and where she wanted to be in life (did I tell you she was born at 40?). My dad's wish for his 75th birthday was to walk the Brooklyn Bridge so that's what we did (pizza at Grimaldi's was amazing). We visited Yasgur's Farm in Woodstock, too, with a friend who had been there when it all happened. That summer was our last trip to Ocean City, Maryland with the band of soccer friends that had become family. In September, I went to my first Yankee game ever and watched Derek Jeter hit his 2,722nd home run. Very cool.

Life was that balance of crazy and insane and remembering all this was my challenge. Like fanning the pages of the book, days blend into weeks then years, and its all a blur. I hit the pause button today, but it took time for those pictures to come into focus and I confess, I had to find an old photo album to remember parts of it.

The years since then and now hold more love and memories. My husband and I have new jobs with new opportunities, I've published two novels (so far), and our nest is empty. Our children have lives of their own in different parts of the country with wonderful partners, and we have a 20-month granddaughter to add to the ever-growing abundance of love.

I don't care about how I looked 10 years ago. We all age, some better than others, and as the saying goes, some are denied the gift. I am grateful. So where were you 10 years ago? I hope your life is richer now than it was then and if not, you are richer and braver and stronger for the challenges it threw in your way. I pray that peace always finds you.



Thanks so much for sharing a few precious minutes with me. As an active member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers Chapter and the Kiss of Death Chapter, I write contemporary stories of suspense with a touch of romance where hope and heart prove stronger than any weapon, and where happily ever after occurs, even if it takes a bloody route to get there.

Strong men and even stronger women are the stars of tales themed around hope and courage after being betrayed by those tasked with keeping the rules. These brave men and women love and laugh and fight to the death like a mother fights for her child, all while trying to balance the professional with the personal. My stories are born on that balance and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have had giving voice to them. All of this sets the stage in my debut novel, Contingencies and my recent release Corrective Measures. All reviews are welcome. Stay up-to-date with new releases via my website with its free newsletter and prologue to Contingencies (along with other giveaways) or follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

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