Today I got to spend four hours with GW law students– it is truly one of the greatest honors in my career to be able to return to my alma mater and lecture about family law, something I am so passionate about around the clock. The best advice I could give them today, however, had nothing to do with family law, but rather something that has recently become apparent to me about life. Having an open mind is truly an invaluable skill, let me explain why.

If someone had told me in 1998 (the year I graduated law school) that I would be a legal commentator on national radio or tv, I would have thought they had lost their mind.  If someone would have predicted that I’d be a divorce attorney by day and love blogger at night, I would never have even understood what they were talking about– blogging did not even exist back then. And if someone would have told me I’d be running my own law firm instead of being part of a larger, already established firm, I would have believed it. It was never my intention to do any of the things I currently do, all of which I love beyond explanation.

In my personal life, if anyone had told me I would be a divorced, single mom at this point I probably would have burst into tears. I was raised by a single mom, who I am sure did her best during very difficult times, but following in her footsteps was my biggest fear and the last thing I ever wanted for my own life. Funny thing is, it is precisely my divorce that has made me famous– my ability to understand it, write about it, and teach others from my experiences has made me who I am today, and being able to confront my greatest fear has made me a much stronger person than I ever could have imagined.

A year ago this week, I went to Miami in search of my family. With an open mind, I entered their homes and found the most amazing individuals full of warmth and kindness. They have given me the unconditional love I always craved, and because of them I am so much more complete. When I am with them, I feel so at ease, so loved and so grounded. The void I felt for years is gone now, and I am at peace because of them– yet no one would have or could have ever predicted this outcome. It was the unexpected gift of a lifetime.

Finally, with respect to dating, let me be very candid as to why online dating has never worked for me– because one small typo, one bad picture, one wrong anything will have someone’s profile/email/wink whatever deleted in a nano second. The chances of someone meeting all my ridiculous criteria online are so miniscule that a snowball has a better chance of surviving in hell.  But I have learned through my organic dates that sticking to a stringent list of “must haves” and “can’t stands” doesn’t work well.  With an open mind, I have expanded my horizons regarding age differences, geographic proximity and professions.  Just don’t compromise on core values.

Life doesn’t always work according to our plans and things do not always happen according to our timeframes, but if you can just let go of the outcome and enjoy the journey, I think there are a million beautiful surprises along the way that will make it worth your while.