I am woman

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start”.
Nido Qubein

Since the separation from my husband I have reflected often on who or what I am.

Having been with him some 40 years, having had 4 children together, and having worked and synergized together on so many worthwhile projects;  I had previously seen myself as half of a couple living in tandem; and in the roles I fulfilled as a wife and mother. With my husband gone and my children grown, I felt lost as to who or what I had now become.

It took me some time to see myself as an individual, rather than as half of a couple. In reaching that point, I came to the realisation that for many years – in the commitment I had made to my marriage – there had been for me an overwhelming feeling of responsibility for the happiness and needs of my husband. I was often caught up in seeing all life episodes through the lens of the effects on him. At times, I even I began living my life through his values, standards and priorities. These were not necessarily wrong. They were just not always the same as mine. As such, and with my quieter personality, I often went unseen and unheard with my real self melting away.

Now I have the opportunity to live by my own true self and to become the person I have always wanted to be.

Who is that person?

I thought in answering that question, I would begin with who I am right now that I cannot change. Then I can take a look at who I am inside me that I can change if I want to, or not if I do not want to. Then with the strength of that inner core, I may take myself on a wonderful journey of discovery as to who I would like to become.

This is who and what I am now that I cannot change. This is the point from which I will start the next part of my journey:

  • I am 58 years old.
  • I am an introvert.
  • I am a woman

I Am Woman
-Artist: Helen Reddy. -Words and Music by Helen Reddy and Ray Burton

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
’cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
’cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
’cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul


I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to I can face anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman
Oh, I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong

I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman

I’ve learned

I’ve Learned
by Omer B. Washington

I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you.
All you can do is be someone who can be loved.
The rest is up to them.
I’ve learned that no matter how much I care,
some people just don’t care back.
I’ve learned that it takes years to build up trust
and only seconds to destroy it.

I’ve learned that it’s not what you have in your life
but who you have in your life that counts.
I’ve learned that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes.
After that, you’d better know something.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t compare yourself
to the best others can do, but to the best you can do.

I’ve learned that it’s not what happens to people,
It’s what they do about it.
I’ve learned that no matter how thin you slice it,
there are always two sides.
I’ve learned that you should always leave loved ones with loving words.
It may be the last time you’ll see them.

I’ve learned that you can keep going
long after you think you can’t.

I’ve learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done
When it needs to be done,
regardless of the consequences.

I’ve learned that there are people who love you dearly,
but just don’t know how to show it.
I’ve learned that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry,
but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.
I’ve learned that true friendship continues to grow even over the longest distance.
Same goes for true love.
I’ve learned that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to,
doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

I’ve learned that no matter how good a friend is,
they’re going to hurt you every once in a while
and you must forgive them for that.
I’ve learned that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.
I’ve learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken,
the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I’ve learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are,
but we are responsible for who we become.
I’ve learned that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.
And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.

I’ve learned that sometimes you have to put the individual
ahead of their actions.
I’ve learned that two people can look at the exact same thing
and see something totally different.
I’ve learned that no matter the consequences,
those who are honest with themselves go farther in life.
I’ve learned that your life can be changed in a matter of hours
by people who don’t even know you.
I’ve learned that even when you think you have no more to give,
when a friend cries out to you,
you will find the strength to help.

I’ve learned that writing,
as well as talking,
can ease emotional pains.
I’ve learned that the people you care most about in life
are taken from you too soon.
I’ve learned that it’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice
and not hurting people’s feelings and standing up for what you believe.

I’ve learned to love
and be loved.
I’ve learned…

My gratitude list

Yesterday marked 52 weeks since my husband left me. I spent the day at home by myself. Friends were concerned this was not a good idea, that I may spend the time feeling sad about my losses. Not so. Any losses are his – not mine.

I realised I have gained so much, especially the realisation there is so much in life for me to be grateful for. I decided to mark this occasion by listing them.

  1. I am grateful for my four beautiful children, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter; for their support and love, for their optimism for my future, for their enthusiasm for their own future.
  2. I am grateful for my 85 year old mother, my three siblings and their families, and for the values instilled in me by my family of courage, determination; and of doing the ‘right thing’.
  3. I am grateful for the opportunity of being able to see my extended family and families more often.
  4. I am grateful for those of my friends who provided a shoulder to lean on, a helping hand when required, flowers, cards and someone to cry my heart out to.
  5. I am grateful for those of my friends who didn’t, for you have taught me tolerance.
  6. I am grateful for being able to agree on a peaceful property settlement.
  7. I am grateful for the opportunity of spring-cleaning the house and property.
  8. I am grateful for ridding myself of truckloads of “stuff” as it holds no meaning to me.
  9. I am grateful for all the space in my life where “stuff” used to be as in its place now is clarity and purpose.
  10. I am grateful for the opportunity of now living a life rich in meaning every day.
  11. I am grateful my love of living a life of meaning has not been crushed from my soul.
  12. I am grateful for the opportunity to watch the sunrise beckoning me with hope and new beginnings every single day.
  13. I am grateful for my valley, for the mist in the mornings, the kookaburra’s laugh, the birds songs, the trees and the flowers.
  14. I am grateful for my good health and current level of fitness.
  15. I am grateful for the determination – when I apply my mind to it – to improve my level of fitness to that which ought to be.
  16. I am grateful that I still have no grey hairs.
  17. I am grateful to the policeman who dropped my licence demerit points lost from 3 down to 2 when caught speeding in the early days post separation when I was driving the four hours to see my children.
  18. I am grateful for being stopped because I was quite distraught and really should not have been driving. It was a wake up call that when driving – no matter how bad I am feeling – to focus on my driving.
  19. I am grateful to the man in the supermarket who gave me some small change when I had not taken enough cash to buy veggies for my soup. On the lowest of my low days, you touched me with your kindness.
  20. I am grateful for the tradesmen who assisted me in the clean-up of the house surrounds and the refurbishing of upstairs.
  21. I am grateful for the refurbished pine kitchen table rescued from the top shed replacing the trestle table used for the past 11 months.
  22. I am grateful for the memories of family life around the kitchen table.
  23. I am grateful for the opportunity of making more memories around the table.
  24. I am grateful for now being able to live my life the way I want, rather than by somebody else’s standards and values.
  25. I am grateful my own standards and values have not been compromised.
  26. I am grateful for being able to write in my journal and in my blog.
  27. I am grateful for all the blogging friends I have made, for the support and encouragement shown to me.
  28. I am grateful I have come this far in seeing myself as a single identity, and no longer as half a couple.
  29. I am grateful that I have survived my first 52 weeks alone.
  30. I am grateful for the courage instilled in me to embrace my life going forward as an adventure in discovering me.

New family order

I am now back home having thoroughly enjoyed my time with all four of my children together again. It was the first time we had all been together for two years. We had five days together at home, a few days together at a wilderness lodge, and then some time in and around where my eldest son and daughter both live. It has been fantastic having them all around me and we had a great time. We enjoyed laughing with each other by remembering their activities and pastimes of their childhood. We enjoyed doing some favorite walks. We enjoyed preparing and sharing meals together and just generally being together. These have become my new happy memories.

It was a little sad saying good-bye at the airport to both my son and his girlfriend on their way back to Canada; and to my daughter who is off on an adventurous six months in Europe. On her return she will be taking a position interstate and stationed further away from me. So it was also good-bye to a way of life together we had both enjoyed.

Let me rephrase the first sentence in that last paragraph.

It was emotionally overwhelmingly difficult for me saying good-bye to two of my four children and – despite my resolve to hold it together – I completely lost it at the air-port and sobbed and sobbed in their arms. I was crying with happiness for the times we had just shared together. I was crying with happiness for their childhood that was now gone. I was crying with happiness that they were such wonderful children and I could not ask for any better. I was crying for their happiness, that they have made in it in the world and are now on their way to live exciting lives and I had always wanted that for them. I was crying for me because I miss them so much when they are not with me and we would now live apart from one another. I was crying for the unspoken words regarding the separation that we had all determined would not intrude on our time together and yet just the same was still a monster lurking in the background. I was crying for the change in family dynamics, not for what had become, but rather for the unknown of what we would become as the family continued to scatter in all directions.

It is natural for me to cling onto the old ‘order’ of the family unit of the parents as a central reliable unit and with the children gravitating back to that unit. I am still clinging onto the concept that our new family ‘order’ should become myself at the centre of this family unit and my children gravitating back home to me. For so long this has been the very essence of my being – me as the mother hen at the centre of my flock of chickens. Gradually I am coming to realise that in reality the new ‘order’ is a family in transition, with my twenties-something children spreading their wings and my thirties-something children setting down their own roots elsewhere. Gradually I am realising that the new family order will be me texting, phoning, emailing, and driving or hopping on a plane to visit my chicks wherever they may be.

And whilst this will lead on to new adventures for me in the visiting of each of them, I am as determined as ever that it will include me taking within me the traditional family values I treasure and imparting those values of love, support, encouragement and togetherness to them wherever they may be.


New memories

My son currently based in Canada is home with his girlfriend for the next two weeks. The other children have come from near and not-so-near to spend time with us.

I have been busy the last few weeks getting the house ready for his arrival so that I am able to once more accommodate 8 people.This included a sudden idea to revamp the room upstairs that had gradually taken on a mausoleum-like appearance and gathering of dust through its complete non-use. The room I am referring to of course is ‘THE’ bedroom. Whilst earlier on after the separation I had prided myself in my decisive action of spring-cleaning and ridding myself of meaningless ‘stuff’ and any reminder of the past that caused me pain, my call to action and my I-am-a-survivor spirit had only gone so far. The what-am-I-doing-here-in-this-big-empty-house reality took hold of me over the winter where I had in fact retreated into three rooms of the house with me sleeping in the guest room. I could not sleep in ‘THE’ bed or ‘THE’ bedroom upstairs. Long story cut short – with all the children, girlfriends, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter coming home suddenly I was in the throws of getting a builder in to change a door around, replacing carpet and blinds, painting, and buying a new quilt cover and other small items. After three weeks – thoroughly exhausted – I had a complete new room. Although my son and his girlfriend will stay here initially, this will become my new room. The bed (not ‘THE’ bed) is now looking in a different direction out to the valley and I have a little writing studio, claimed from what was a balcony, set-up for me to indulge my new-found passion of writing.

Yesterday the valley, across to the east and down to the river, put on quite a display with the wattle all ablaze in vibrant yellow against the backdrop of greenery and the sun providing warmth and comfort.

We all had a fantastic afternoon and evening re-living some happy memories and making some new ones, telling favourite stories of the past, laughing and sharing our thoughts and dreams for the future. I went to bed last night feeling contended and at peace.

I have been so excited because all the children and I are now together again. I do so miss all the family times together and I am going to enjoy every moment with them while I can. My ‘new beginnings’ blogging will have to take a back-seat for a little while so I can indulge in some living and making for myself and the family some new happy memories ….

Be back soon……….

I am a survivor

My way forward – this song says it all …

Survivor by Destiny’s child

Now that you’re out of my life
I’m so much better
You thought that I’d be weak without you
But I’m stronger

You thought that I’d be broke without you
But I’m richer
You thought that I’d be sad without you
I laugh harder

You thought I wouldn’t grow without you
Now I’m wiser
Thought that I’d be helpless without you
But I’m smarter

You thought that I’d be stressed without you
But I’m chillin’
You thought I wouldn’t sell without you
Sold 9 million

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’na make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’ make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

Thought I couldn’t breathe without you
I’m inhaling
You thought I couldn’t see without you
Perfect vision

You thought I couldn’t last without you
But I’m lastin’
You thought that I would die without you
But I’m livin’

Thought that I would fail without you
But I’m on top
Thought it would be over by now
But it won’t stop

Thought that I would self destruct
But I’m still here
Even in my years to come
I’m still goin’ be here

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’na make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’na make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

I’m wishin’ you the best
Pray that you are blessed
Bring much success, no stress, and lots of happiness

I’m not goin’ blast you on the radio
(I’m better than that)
I’m not goin’ lie on you and your family
(I’m better than that)

I’m not goin’ hate on you in the magazines
(‘m better than that)
I’m not goin’ compromise my Christianity
(I’m better than that)

You know I’m not goin’ diss you on the internet
‘Cause my mama taught me better than that

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’na make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’ make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

Oh (oh) oh (oh)…

After of all of the darkness and sadness
Soon comes happiness
If I surround my self with positive things
I’ll gain prosperity

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’ make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

Spring is here!

This blog – transforming my life from ‘we’ to ‘me’ – began in the Australian autumn. With summer ending, with the approaching darker colder days of winter, with my waning spirits, my blogging helped me focus on the spring that would follow winter. Spring would bring me hope with the birth of new flowers, warm days, and blue blue skies. Spring would see me moving forward towards a bright new future as ‘me’.

As time drew closer to spring, I wondered whether I would make it to my goal. It was not easy to put behind 40 years of coupledom. It took me 40 weeks before I felt I could say I had finished that very first step – the ending ‘we’. It was forty weeks before I finally saw myself as a single identity, a unique person.

Now I was beginning to think – is that the only progress I have made in my journey? Is that the only distance I have come? Not only did I still not know who I was, in my somewhat befuddled and mushy brain that accompanied my own grief, I felt that I had on occasions let others down. As I crumbled in the times of deep emotional pain, I felt my own values of courage and resilience had somehow been swept aside. What had happened to me? What had happened to my prophetic declaration “I want to keep my own core beliefs, hold onto my dreams and not let what somebody else chose to do drag me down as a person”
What happened to my becoming the captain of my soul?

Then this morning – the first day of spring – I opened my word-press page and was brought to tears by a tribute paid to me by a fellow blogger. In her blog ‘Talk to Diana’ I was described by her as someone who ….. ” courageously shares her deeply personal journey …… it is my hope that her courage has helped countless others who have lost relationships”. Moreover she described me by one of my own favourite quotes of Theodore Roosevelt.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”  Theodore Roosevelt

To Diana, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. The compliments that you paid to me today has given me the courage that I needed to keep striding forth on my journey. Those words above in bold that you describe as me are some of those values that I thought that maybe I had somehow lost. Now I know they are still there inside me. In fact they are what keeps me striding forward – despite the set-backs and shortcomings that do at times accompany me on my journey. Thank you for helping me see that. I consider you an inspiration. Those who have never ‘met’ Diana and her blog, I encourage you to visit her now – you will not be disappointed.

To all the other bloggers who have given me words of encouragement over the past 3 months and at the same time have provided insightful words in your own blogs, I am most grateful to you all.

To all of you who may be in the depths of your own winter of despair –
remember just around the corner …… it is almost spring. In spring, the rain will stop, the sun will shine, the flowers will bloom, and the hope of a new beginning will turn into reality.

I share with you all the first day of an Australian spring.
This day marks the first true day of my new beginnings as ‘me’.
I wish peace, calmness, hope and courage to you all …….

Spring is everywhere ……..

Down at the river

Up my driveway

Down my driveway

In front of my home

Behind my home

Across the valley

Spring is everywhere!