We all have good moments and bad.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that out of the bad comes the good.  I’ve struggled through many hardships in my life, and with each one, I can tell you that when I took the leap to move past whatever was holding me back, it changed me.  It made me feel better, and also stronger.  It made me grow.

It’s so essential to keep ourselves open to every experience, because you never know where life is going to lead you.  The first day I walked into Freedom Academy — the high school in Brooklyn, where I’ve been spending several days each week this school year – it was chaotic, with kids yelling and fighting all over the place.  I could have run screaming from the building, but instead, I stopped and looked around me.  I realized that these kids were incredibly bright.  They just didn’t want to waste their time listening to someone who didn’t care what they had to say.  So I changed the way I approached my work with the students, and when they opened up to me, I realized I had an opportunity to make a difference in their lives, to help them succeed.  Now there’s a moment.

The bottom line is that if you’re not open to change, it’s not going to happen.  We can all design who we want to be.  You can be anybody you want, but it’s got to be from your heart.  One way to transform your dreams into reality is to make a written list of your dreams, and every time you achieve one of those dreams, check it off the list.  My favorite moments are the ones where I sit back and smile and say, “I did it.”

Many years ago, I didn’t know what was going to happen to me.  I had two kids, a mere fifty bucks to my name, a dog, and a tractor I didn’t know how to drive.  Today, I know how to drive that tractor.  I know how to earn money.  And my children are grown up. There’s been a lot of adversity in my life, and I much prefer the successes and the joys.  But there’s no denying that the lessons I’ve learned from those challenging moments and experiences have made me who I am today.  Now, I’m finally enjoying the good moments.

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Susanne Veder Berger hid her face for more than 50 years. Now, an amazing surgical procedure has allowed this courageous resident of New York City to show her “true face.” Susanne calls it “Getting Naked.” She’s embarking on a new journey and invites you to join her in confronting challenges, “getting real” and stepping into a fresh, more empowered life.