Starting Over and Creating Something Better

startingover

It’s not always about

trying to fix something

that’s broken.

It’s about starting over and

creating something better.

Sometimes in life, things are just broken and you can’t fix them.  For me, I can’t fix my marriage which fell apart.  I can only start over while going through a harsh divorce and creating a new life for myself and my kids.  This quote really struck me this morning as I was feeling quite helpless as I think many of us do in chaotic times in our lives.

I am a glass half full type of gal.  I keep trying to see this whole situation as a life lesson to make me stronger, to help my kids through a huge life changing time and to find a new normal.  I look at this as a way to create something better for me and for my family.

I stay open to possibilities, even when I want to just hole up in my home, under the covers and cry for hours.  Sure, I do cry occasionally.  I can’t help it.  But underneath, there’s that gal who keeps forging on to find her way in life.

Possibilities are endless when we allow ourselves to stop living in the past and in the land of lack.  Being present and grateful are challenging at times, but by being in that state, we can begin to heal and to move ahead with our lives.  Gosh, it’s like breaking out of prison and having the whole world at our feet if we choose to think this way.  Opportunities are limitless and we can choose whatever we want again, in our own time.  We can break out of our comfort zones – sink or swim or dog-paddle for a bit- and create a new life for ourselves.

So when you are feeling trapped by your circumstances, step back from the fray and see the whole situation from an observer point of view.  Be grateful for what you have and build on that gratitude.  Think about what you want and go for it!  You can do anything you set your mind to accomplish.  Create a new life for yourself and your family.  Go for it with gusto and without fear.  You have the courage to do it!  Just tap into that part of you – you will survive this time in your life.  You will learn many lessons.  You will grow from the experience.  You will find yourself during it.  You will be happier on the other side.  You just have to let yourself create something better for yourself.

It takes time.  There’s no easy way to go through a life changing time except to forge ahead, feel the pain, release it and put yourself back together.  I know it’s cliché to say everything happens for a reason, but it does.  This opens you up to creating a better life for yourself if you let it.  What have you got to lose?

Come on!  You can do it!  I’m with you and the Universe has your back!

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Put the Kids First in Divorce

putthekidsfirstindivorce

We know we need to put the kids first in a divorce, but sometimes it’s hard when we are dealing with so much emotion ourselves.  However, I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep tabs on how your children are feeling, no matter how old they are.  Little ones, teenagers and adult children all react differently when faced with their parents’ divorce, but they all have one thing in common – they can blame themselves and they can feel bereft when one parent leaves the family home.  It’s not easy for kids to assimilate into the new normal and it takes time to heal, just like it takes for us.

I’m watching as my older teenagers deal with their dad and it breaks my heart.  His distance, both emotionally and physically, is affecting them.  As much as I remind them that their dad loves them very much and that he needs them as much as they need him, it’s his disconnection that they feel most acutely.  The frustrating part is that I can’t fix it, because I can’t fix him.  Just like I couldn’t make him love me or work on the marriage,  I can’t make him keep in better contact with his kids or spend more time with them in meaningful ways.  He’s almost like a child himself.  Sure, he works hard and travels a lot which makes it difficult because he’s not nearby.  But when he is here, he is in his own world.  He doesn’t connect with them easily or with anyone else.  I have tried to connect with him.  I have told him about the kids so that he has good subjects to talk about with them and I always say yes when he tells me at the last minute he wants to see them.  But they feel it.  The worst part is that they remember the dad who was involved in their lives, who was a good dad, who talked and shared with them and they miss that dad a lot.  They simply don’t know how to deal with the stranger who has taken his place.

It doesn’t help that others have gotten involved in the situation.  His mother witnesses the disconnect between her son and our kids.  She keeps telling the kids that she feels sorry for daddy (her son, their father) because he’s all alone and how great he is that he drives to see them every few weeks for an overnight.  The kids resent her interfering and for putting the blame on them for not connecting with their dad.  They came home last night to me all upset because of it.

They kept asking me why Grandma should whine and complain about ‘poor daddy’ when it was his choice to leave?  Why should Grandma make them feel guilty about daddy being alone or driving far to see them?  Why doesn’t Grandma not feel sorry for them when they are hurting too?  Instead, she only feels sorry for her son.

I try to keep a clear head and explain how she worries about her son, just like I worry about them.  I stay centered as I let them vent and ramble about their feelings, holding them close and trying to soothe their unrest.  But it’s anger that is welling up in them that I can’t change and I need to get them to a counselor, even though they are refusing.  They know they can talk with me and often do, but it is a situation between their dad and them that they can’t make sense of at all.  How does someone just not really care anymore?  And yet, I tell them that he cares.  I remind them that he visits.  He texts them sometimes.  He calls about once a week.  Their response is that he never answers their texts and they can’t rely on him.  They answer him, but the lag in getting a response from him can go from hours to more than a day.  I explain that he is busy working.  They say it takes ’30 seconds’ to answer a text and they blame him.  I feel for them because he doesn’t answer me either and it’s frustrating.  I’m used to it now, but they are fed up.  I understand that it’s a different relationship, a different situation for I’m the STBX wife and he can’t be bothered.  But for them, there is no such excuse and they are ready to tell him off.

Their dad was a good father, a good husband and I stand by my decision to have married him so many years ago.  I always tell them that when they are criticizing him.  When they asked for a new dad that they want to approve, I tell them that I did give them a good dad and I remind them of all the good he did when they were little.  Whatever happened with him to have him change so drastically is unknown to me.  I stopped trying to figure it out.  I just let him be and I continue to be the best mom/dad I can to my kids in the meantime, with the hope that he will just snap out of it one day, just like he snapped into this disconnection.

But it reminds me of that song by Harry Chapin, Cat’s in the Cradle.  Kids grow up fast and they need their parents’ attention, to feel special and loved, to be interested in how they think, what’s going on in school and about them.  Not the other way around, although I think it’s good to talk with your kids about your life as well (making sure though that you don’t share too much or make them feel as if they are supposed to make you feel better).  That’s your job.  You are responsible to parent your children, not the other way around.

I understand why Grandma is concerned.  It’s quite evident that there’s a brewing unrest in the relationship between her son/their dad and the kids.  I wish I could ask her to take a different tactic, but that’s not possible.  I admire that she’s trying to get them to connect.  I sympathize with her because she’s having a hard time getting her own son to connect with her.  But to put the blame on the kids (because that’s how they see it), is not helping her to connect with them, nor with their dad.  It’s producing the opposite affect.

It’s difficult enough for kids to watch their parents’ divorce.  My only advice is to try to take the high road and not talk badly about your ex.  Kids are smart.  They can see things that even we don’t realize they understand.  You don’t need to badmouth your ex.  That only complicates life.  Instead be supportive to your kids.  Let them talk with you.  Comfort them.  Help them to heal.  Your ex is still their dad and you chose him at one point in your life.  Be responsible.  Don’t throw him under the bus because you can.  Be the better person.  You don’t have to lie to the children, but you don’t have to make them choose sides by making him out to be a bad person.  Whatever you feel as a spouse, that’s your business, not your kids’ and that’s a separate situation.  Keep it separate, unless of course there’s abuse involved and that’s a separate situation altogether.

Does that make sense?  Have you had a similar situation in your home?  Please share as I feel very alone these days.  Thanks.

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We Need Our Gal Pals

lilacs

These are the lilacs from the lilac bush a friend gave me years ago.  I planted it in my yard and the perfume from the lilacs reminds me daily of her friendship for which I’m grateful.

We need our friends, especially at 50 and divorcing.  There’s something about a gal pal’s understanding when you need it most, when you are hurting and when you just need a friend to listen, to help you sift through all the hurt and to find a way to heal.  I’m lucky.  I have a few friends, all who offer something unique to help me on this journey of self-discovery and in turn, I am here to help them.

I think that’s a universal theme of friendship though, don’t you?  We don’t need a plethora of friends, just a core group whom we can count on when the chips are down.  Each friend brings her strengths to our friendship and we innately know which friend can help us with whatever we need.  And, of course, vice versa.

I have spiritual friends who help me to center my core, to have faith and to open up to go with the flow of the river instead of having to fight for every little piece of control when I’m feeling panicky.  I have friends who are divorced or who are in the process and we can confide and vent when needed about the divorce process, protecting the kids and ourselves and how to remain open to trusting a man again when the time is right.  I have friends who are older than I am, who help to mother me when I just need a mom and who are patient and guide me through, bringing their lifetime of experiences as wisdom.  I have friends who were part of the couples my STBX (soon-to-be-ex) and I were grouped with and they’ve been kind and supportive along the way too.  We don’t get together as couples anymore obviously, but it’s still nice to see their hubbies occasionally because we share that friendship.  I have childhood friends who know me, you know what I mean, right?  Know me, from a lifetime of friendship, and they’re the ones who remind me who I once was before my marriage fell apart.  They’re the ones who bring me back to the little spitfire I was, who loved to laugh, to flirt, to be silly and to feel free to just have fun with life.  Reminiscing with them helps to remind me of the girl I was long ago before life’s stresses pulled me into the abyss.  They bring me back in time in order to heal me now.

What about you?  Do you have gal pals who help you get through the hard times?  Although I have male friends too who have been supportive, there’s something about gal pals who just understand without having to explain it all.  Women have that innate, motherly instinct about them to listen, to help, to inspire, to hug, to hold a hand, to advise or just to take a walk when needed.

So let’s raise a glass to toast our Gal Pals today!  It’s Saturday – woo hoo!

Have a great weekend!  Cheers to YOU!

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Telemarketers Should Be Wary

telemarketersshouldbewary.PNG

I just answered the phone for a telemarketer.  I didn’t know the number, but I figured I would just tell them politely to take me off their list and hope that no other calls came in from them again.  I’m like that.  If I’m in the mood, I’ll answer, just to avoid getting more calls.  I figure we all have to make a living, so why not be nice?  Even though I’m registered on the DoNotCallList which I frankly think is a joke.  Anyway, here’s what happened…

Hello?

Hello, may I speak to Mrs. Leeds?

Who’s calling please?

This is Julie from X Resorts.

Is this Mrs. Leeds?

Yes.  How can I help you?

Hi Mrs. Leeds.  I’m Julie, calling from X Resorts.  We just want to thank you and your husband for staying with us last month at our special resort in X Place.  In fact, we would like to offer you $500 for your next vacation with us.  We have many different locations for our X Resorts and we would like to offer you a once in a lifetime trip to…

Excuse me.  May I interrupt you for a moment?

Uh yes…

I am Mrs. Leeds, but I wasn’t at X Resorts last month with my husband.

Silence…(there’s no script for her to read for this situation and she’s stunned).

Oh, I’m sorry.  Uh…

It’s ok, but I’m going to end our conversation now.

Ok.

Thank you, have a nice day.

Good-bye.

As we hung up, I sat stunned for a few minutes.  I felt badly for the telemarketer, but then I let it go.  Perhaps the next time she calls someone, she will be more wary and maybe she will share the story with her team so that they can think about it as well.  Then again, maybe our conversation didn’t make a bit of difference to her day.

And yes, I realize that I’m on the verge of signing divorce papers, but still, it felt strange and yet a bit empowering to state to someone who assumed I had been with my husband on a trip.  Yes, he travels often for work and I do know he was in X Place during the last month so I know that part is true.  What bothered me was that they called specifically for Mrs. Leeds to thank my husband and me for our stay with them.  Part of me just thinks it was a type of cold call, but why would they ask for me and say we stayed there if he just stayed there alone as he usually does?  I think he may have had a friend with him, a pseudo-Mrs. Leeds who obviously wasn’t me.

After I told a friend who is divorced, she agreed that there was probably another person with him.  She and I worked through my feelings and the whole situation.  I had thought I would be prepared when the time came, but I guess it’s time for another growth spurt in the land of divorce.

Has anything like this ever happened to you?

 

 

 

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You Can Cut All The Flowers

youcancutalltheflowers

I love enjoying cut flowers in my home.  I have various plants as well, but there’s something special about spring flowers that raise my spirits.  Do you feel the same way?

I stopped having flowers in my home when my STBX (soon-to-be-ex) left.  Funds were tight and there wasn’t any surplus money to buy flowers and my yard didn’t seem to have any there either.  Not that funds aren’t even more scarce these days, but I am guessing that’s the way it’s going to be for awhile yet.

But lately for whatever reason, I’ve had flowers again.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve let go and have moved forward.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve envisioned pretty flowers and somehow people have brought me flowers for various reasons.  But right now, I have 2 small bouquets in my home at the moment and I am so happy.

Sometimes it doesn’t take a lot to make us happy, does it?  Just a little mood lifter of cut flowers and viola – it’s spring, rebirth and a new chapter to create!

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Divorce Exposed

exposed

There’s a willingness in the face of divorce to recount all the bad in the past in order to make sense of the present situation whatever it may be.  There’s a flip side to that exposure which comes from being grateful for the good as well.  Few people find the balance in the ending of a marriage when exposed.  You have to take the good with the bad, but it’s human nature to want to expose all the faults of the other party in order to make yourself feel better, to look better in the eyes of others and to bad mouth your partner.  It takes courage to choose the high road and to not berate your partner to everyone you meet, even if he is doing it.  There’s a classy way to end a marriage and a down and dirty way.  It’s your choice of actions which determine it.

My kid and I had a discussion the other day about vulnerability being a weakness.  We differed in our points of view, but it was a wonderful way to see the other side.  I think in the end, because we talked so much about it, we came to the healthy conclusion that it depends on the situation in which you are vulnerable.

I am of the mindset that it takes great courage to be vulnerable.  Others may see it as a weakness, but I see it as inner strength to open oneself up to connecting with others in the truest form.  Yes, I agree that it can be taken as weakness by the opposing party and thus give them a heightened sense of ego and power.  But on the other hand, because I view it as strength, so I know I’m being courageous.  It’s not that in showing vulnerability that I am not self-protecting either, for I am.  But it is in softening anger, hurt, and the resentment that builds in a divorce that I am choosing to connect rather than to spite.  Does that make sense?

Because at one point, in most divorces, there was love, light, hope and connection in the beginning of the marriage.  At whatever point, one or both partners dropped the ball of connection and never picked it back up again which is what causes divorce.  Although I do not choose to remain with my husband and I am committed to going through with the divorce, it’s not that I don’t fondly remember the man I married, to whom I pledged my love and fealty.  I never wanted the divorce quite frankly, but I am years into it and I now fully realize that he is not the man I married.  But again, I’m not the girl he married either.  Our problem was that we disconnected along the way.  Children, work, stress, and family issues took precedence over our connection.  We weren’t a team.  We lost trust and faith.  We disconnected from each other in every way.  Looking back I can see the push/pull of connection, each trying at different times to reconnect, but the other person was never on the same plane at the same time.  We never met in the middle.  It’s a true shame for I never thought I’d be in this position.  I would have stayed married and worked on it more, but he wanted out and didn’t want to ‘do this anymore’ nor try.  He quit and therefore, it was over.

I’m sad today.  It’s been a long, hard road since he left.  I am grateful for the life lessons, but I’ve also paid a price for them.  I feel like I’m getting pummeled by the ocean waves, caught in the surf these days, simply trying to keep my head afloat.  I will survive.  I know this to be true.  I am just hoping for calmer waters in the future so that I can regain my center.

How about you?

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Exposed

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Starting Over Finding the Perfect Home

startingoverfindingtheperfecthome

The divorce is winding down.  Closing date will be here soon and we have no place to move to at this time.  Nonetheless, I am still looking for a new place for my kids and me to live happily, all the while, trying to pack up a lifetime of memories by myself.

Decluttering has never been an easy job for me as I tend to hold onto things because they bring back a memory.  I am starting to take photos of that which I held dearly and then send what can be used along to donate for someone else to enjoy.

But it’s not easy, especially with the divorce looming and still not being settled.

There’s so much on my plate these days and it’s all on me.  My STBX (soon-to-be-ex) refuses to communicate and therefore, I’m doing everything.  On one hand, it’s easier to not have a controlling person throwing my precious things out, but on the other hand, it would be nice to have someone to help along the way.  But again, I know better than to expect help.

So I continue to try to look on the bright side and I encourage the kids to do the same – a new home in which to make memories for us, a new chapter, a clean slate in which to bond without the sadness of divorce and family memories which haunt our present home.  It’s  the only place they’ve ever lived and it was, for a time, a loving home filled with family until he walked away.

I didn’t want to leave our home, but I haven’t the funds to keep it.  So I have no choice in the matter and perhaps it’s good for us to start again.  At least it should be for me.  But it’s hard.  Little tidbits here and there, scraps of memories of happier times flood my eyes with tears.  I never chose this divorce.  But I am working on being powerful now all the same.

I am looking for any advice you may have as to how to make the transition easier for the kids and me.  We have gone together to look at places to rent, but haven’t yet found anything in our price range that is safe or roomy enough.  I have faith that I will find something before the closing date.  In the meantime, I keep my eyes pealed and my ears open for any and all opportunities that come our way.

If you have been in this situation, what helped you?  Any and all help is appreciated.

 

 

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