How many times did I hear this phrase or ones similar to it: Time flies, Stop and smell the roses, You’ll miss these days, The days are long but the years are short etc. Of course like most people under 40, I just smiled and went on about my life.
I knew my children would grow up. I knew they would need me less and less each year. I was aware as some point in my life I knew I would become an empty nester. Even with all the warnings, I never saw it coming. One day I was making lunches, hauling children to activities, listening to angsty teenagers call from college, wanting an ear but no advice. And for me the empty nester situation had an added layer called divorce. I didn’t see that coming either.
How many times have I thought if I could just do that over? I was much too focused on appearances and what other people thought, to listen to my children as well as I could have. I lost my temper when I grew short of patience. Longing for those days when my children were young and my marriage before it was destroyed by my ex-husband, comes to me in waves. The waves come less often and are not a intense as they once were.
I have allowed myself to heal. A broken heart and regrets take time to get better and to not be painful 24/7. With counseling, a renewed faith in God and his faithfulness, I am so much better. And I do my best to enjoy each day for what it has to offer. I even have an opportunity to be a better caregiver as I have been the nanny to three young children for the past 6.5 years. I’ve mellowed over the years.
I am still growing and changing. Still searching for the motivation to pursue things that brought me joy in the past like writing, sewing, photography lessons, learning a foreign language. When I had all sorts of time, I wasted it. Now I work 10 plus hours a day, coming home exhausted, it has been a struggle but I found a book called Best Year Yet, A Journal for Becoming your Best self by Chronicle books. One of my problems was and still is I can’t think of anything to do beyond what I’ve already done. This book gives me different activities to do focusing on general areas most people would like to improve. I’ve completed January and February activities and I moved onto March. It’s not always easy, I find excuses but having an actual list has encouraged me to push forward.
Not sure how it became 2023. Time really does fly and I should have listened to those who knew and slowed down.
The landscapers came and it is a small beginning in a long process. I found out today that the man who was building my patio cover bailed on me. I am not happy. I must now begin the process of finding someone else and hopefully I can afford them.
The raised bed has no soil so that is my next project. I’ll keep it simple and try tomatoes once I have soil in.
It’s been raining a lot which normally would be a downer but with all my new plants and trees the rain is a blessing.
Some times I think about the what if’s of life especially when it comes to seeing my grandchildren. It is then and only then I wish things were different. And pray that I can retire sooner rather than later.
God is Good! When I found myself divorced 6.5 years ago, I believed I would never own a home again. I couldn’t find a job. I was living off a quickly depleting 401K and felt utterly unrooted and that was the key. It wasn’t that I hated renting, but it gave me the feeling of impermanence. Prior to the divorce, I had lived in the same community for almost 30 years. Now in 6.5 years I have made 5 moves. Never underestimate God.
After trying to qualify for a mortgage a few years ago, I felt it was a lost cause. Then I decided to try again at the first of this year. The mortgage broker with whom I spoke, told me I could NOT qualify. It was heartbreaking. Then a dear friend told me to try someone else so I did. After giving him my information, he said I could qualify!! I couldn’t believe my ears. In fact I am not certain I believed, until I received the CLEAR TO CLOSE email in my inbox. I’ll be closing the end of May and moving in mid-July. I’ll have no help but somehow I’ll manage.
Upon seeing that email, I began to cry. They were tears of joy but my heart was and still is full of so many emotions. Gratefulness, happiness, joy, coupled with fear and sadness. Why fear and why sadness? My daughter and her family are moving 1,635 miles away to the East. My younger daughter lives 1,412 miles to the West. According to google maps they are 2,711 miles apart. And this will be the first time in my entire life, I have lived with no family or close friends nearby.
Being alone, not living alone, but having no one near to call on in an emergency scares me. I’ll be alone on all major holidays except Christmas. I won’t be there when my daughter has her 2nd child in November. With a 50 hours per week job and not a lot of extra money, the ability to travel to see them is and will be very limited. And that doesn’t include trying to see my 82 yr old mother and sister who live 1,242 miles away.
But God is good and I will never underestimate Him again. If this is where He wants me to live and work, then I will accept it and find joy. As I approach my 60th birthday, it is ever more evident that life doesn’t roll along like a slow paced creek, but it rushes by like river rapids. There is no time to waste. I have to get onboard and go for the ride.
When I wake up tomorrow, I will be 59. I can’t believe I’ve arrived here so quickly. One day I went to bed 35 years old and now I am staring down 60. I am grateful for another birthday because growing old isn’t a privilege everyone gets.
It would be nice if the days and years would slow down. I’d like the time to dream again and figure out what I want in my future. In less than a year I’ll have one daughter on the West Coast and one daughter with her family living back East. Due to financial reasons I will be staying behind in central Texas. I pray I’ll be able to afford to take the time off to see those I love so much. My heart breaks at the thought of living here alone.
It is impossible to know how much devastation divorce can cause until it happens to you. It is time to start finding my way again so when 60 does arrive, I’m ready.
When a person is in a battle with depression, most will find they have triggers. Post divorce, my depression was so serious, I spent weeks and months as a recluse. It has been a lot of hard work climbing out of that dark pit, but I see light now and don’t want to wander into the darkness again.
Working with a therapist was the best decision I made but it took going through several before I found the right one for me. He helped me learn to recognize my triggers. This has enabled me to be ready for what I used to think was depression from out of the blue.
Trigger #1: A change in seasons. It’s a reminder of the things my ex and I used to do at specific times of the year. Like now spring is coming and I’m feeling the tug to buy lots of flowers for the yard. Only trouble is I don’t really have any place to plant anything.
Trigger #2: Certain music. Typically if the words remind me my ex put no effort into saving our marriage, I’ll feel down for a day or two.
Trigger #3: Certain scents. I’ve read that scent is the strongest evoker of memories. It never fails when I smell burning leaves I break down. Why? That is a scent I associate with the early days of my marriage.
Of course there are a few more triggers, but before I allow my emotions to take control of me, I have some quiet time and reflect. Asking myself questions to determine why I feel myself falling backwards.
It takes time. And I’ve learned growing old is a privilege not everyone gets. I don’t want to waste anymore days in the darkness.
Say hello to my family. It isn’t exactly the family I imagined I’d have. My husband, the girls’ father isn’t in the picture anymore, literally and figuratively. For a long time after he left, I felt like a failure. It took a few years, lots of counseling, support from my daughters and son-in-law, and loads of prayer to finally understand I wasn’t a failure.
I did spend lots of time being mad at God. I couldn’t understand why He didn’t answer my prayer to save my marriage. Slowly but surely God guided me to an understanding that sometimes He doesn’t say Yes, but He says I have something better planned for you.
I am no longer on the journey to a 50th wedding anniversary and it still disappoints me, but I’ve experienced so much joy in the last few years, I am beginning to grasp God’s plan. I don’t have the power to see into the future so I don’t actually know which direction God will be taking me next. I’ve moved 6 times since 2012 and have gone from living in 4200 sq. ft house with a pool and home theater to a 1000 sq. ft duplex. I live in a town I didn’t even know existed until a few years ago. I live here because I wanted to be close to my daughter and son-in-law.
In less than 18 months, they will be moving across the country to the Northeast. My other daughter lives in CA. Again, having my girls living so far apart wasn’t part of my plan. I still pray God can work it out so we can all live near one another. I will continue to work daily on trusting him,
My life is going in a new direction and I am waiting to see where that leads me.
If you continue to hope someone who continually disappoints you will change, its best to stop hoping. Most people never change. A tiny few will surprise you and change. I know because I surprised my girls and changed.
However my ex-husband (30 yrs of marriage), has for their entire lifetimes, disappointed them. And now after five years divorced, he has sunk even lower. I endured being treated as though as I was invisible and now he is doing to the girls.
How you ask? Always staying focused on himself and his comfort. Handing over gift buying to his live-in younger girlfriend who doesn’t know either of them. And my daughters have no desire to know her. Every time, which is rarely, they see their dad, they say it’s like he’s on something. He’s not himself. He makes odd comments. He doesn’t follow through on promises.
It breaks my heart for my daughters. I asked my oldest if she thought he treated them so poorly because they are also my daughters and remind him of me and all his betrayals? Her response was no. She believed he saw his parents and his own siblings as his real family. She and her sister were just some unimportant extended family.
So stop and think this Christmas season, if you are a person of integrity? Do you make people feel valuable and loved? Are you interested in those close to you or is your focus solely on your own life? Do your children know you love them and they are the most important people in your life? Change is not impossible, but it does take hard work. If you are someone who continues to hope my advice is to stop. Pray you can accept this person as he is and not to allow his problems to hurt you.
An impediment to moving forward. Why do I feel it’s not possible to be happy and relaxed? Is it because I believe I don’t deserve to be happy? Am I not worthy of happiness? Is it I don’t know what happiness is so I don’t recognize it? I know I’ve felt and experienced happiness before but now, for the past several years beginning in 2009, my ability to be happy has eluded me.
I see other people. I can feel their joy. I can sense their satisfaction with life. They are relaxed and have fun. I feel wound up so tightly that it’s impossible to move for fear I’ll break or snap.
Is there a secret? A secret to letting go of the worry, always worried what people think of me? A secret to just enjoy the moment? I know I’ve missed so much since 2009. Time we can never reclaim. I don’t want to waste anymore moments which could possible hold joy and happiness.
I just received a tongue lashing from someone who knows nothing about me or what I’ve been through. It’s so easy to judge someone’s life or decisions when you judge from comfort. How can anyone know what someone else has experienced without asking?
How can someone speak of believing in marriage and not divorce when she doesn’t know the choices you had or the situation you were in? How can someone minimize your struggles or heartache when she knows nothing of your life?
Divorce is not something I wanted. I spent 30 years forgiving and trying to make it work. It takes two people to make a marriage work. And for anyone who believes mental and emotional abuse is less damaging than physical abuse has never experienced it.
So before you give someone a tongue lashing stop. Keep your mouth shut and thank the Lord above you are not in that person’s situation.
I had just said goodbye to my husband (now ex), as he was leaving to go to work. He was in his uniform and heading to the airport. He was and still is a captain for AA. As he was walking out of the door, the plane hit the tower. I yelled at him to come back in.
Needless to say he didn’t go to work that day. Our world was shaken like so many. Two days later I drove him to DFW so he could fly from Dallas-Fort Worth to Oklahoma City. He had one passenger on the flight. The airport was a ghost town. There were no security bars on the cockpit door that day or for many months to come.
What so many people forget is the first lives lost were those of the flight attendants and pilots. Certainly their throats must have been slit as they sat strapped into their seats. Flying an airplane had never been an easy job. Now a new level of danger was added to the already difficult job.
My ex’s mental health suffered after that day and he has never regained what I consider a balanced mindset. Heavy drinking, prostitutes, porn, erotic massage parlors, fear of terrorists, job security as the airline industry suffered all led to the destruction of our marriage. We were just another casualty of 9/11.