This is the third in a series of posts on ‘My Responsibilities’
At a time of crisis, say after a flood or earthquake, people’s needs return to those very basic needs of food, water and shelter as they begin to rebuild their lives. The ending of a marriage is similar to such a crisis, especially if it is unexpected and sudden. It rocks the very foundation of your life; your self-esteem, relationships, your emotional and financial security. As everything comes crashing down, to cope and survive you cocoon yourself by living in the moment of waking, eating, walking, eating, and the comfort and security of a warm bed at night. You are thrown into a survival mind-set of fulfilling these basic needs because everything else is gone. In the early days post separation, in a state of turmoil, I was comforted by focussing on my basic needs for some months by following a healthy diet, engaging in a gentle exercise programme, and restoring routine and order back into my daily life. Then my initial enthusiasm wavered. Why?
- Reason # 1: I became overwhelmed by the ‘big-picture’ changes required of me. I did not have the time, energy or inclination to focus on trivial daily activities.
- Reason # 2: I did not see who would benefit from what I was doing.
- Reason # 3: I was focussing on short-term gains rather than long-term outcomes.
- Reason # 4: Doing the right thing seemed like deprivation (eg dieting, budgeting).
Pep talk to self:
These are all just excuses.
– It is time to stop blaming the divorce and its emotional upheaval for my lack of inclination to do what is right for me.
– Having spent all my adult life putting my family first, it has been difficult to put myself first. I have to keep reminding myself that the person who will benefit from all this effort is me. I am important enough to make that happen. Moreover I can only be good for others if I am strong and healthy and calm myself.
– When short-term goals (eg: weight loss) are the focus, rather than long-term outcomes (eg: good health), enthusiasm wavers at times of stress or when a short-term goal has been achieved and then discarded.
– After a while, if habits are formed and results are seen, the effort will no longer be seen as deprivation but just how it is.
– Keep going, you are worth it.
So lets begin……..
I have listed here aspects of three basic needs that I will be taking responsibility for, together with a long-term desired outcome for each and the first steps to take to get there. I will be posting brief progress reports on the side panel of my blog in each of these areas; and over the coming weeks will outline the plans in more detail.
My desired outcome: To remain independent, fit, healthy, and active into my old age.
- Follow a healthy eating pattern one day at a time.
- Engage in a regular exercise programme for at least 5 days a week.
- Spend some time each day in a relaxing activity.
- Keep up with my annual medical checks
Home and Routine
My desired outcome: Simplification of my life to reach a state of calm
- Get into a daily and weekly routine for my activities
- Achieve a balance of work, home, and leisure.
- Simplify and de-clutter my surroundings
My desired outcome: Financial independence
- Set a budget. Cut down discretionary spending. Stick to the plan.
- Plan for a secure financial retirement
- Take control of personal affairs.
Message to self:
“I am responsible for my own health, sense of calm, my home and my finances”.
Image Courtesy [Digitalart] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Wishing you good health and that you should get some joy out of everything that you are doing. I hope some like minded people will come your way that you can be friends with. Can you perhaps invite a few friends to have lunch with you? Something like this so you get the chance for a bit of conversation. Just because you are single doesn’t mean you cannot have a social life, does it?
I went through a phase earlier on after the separation of trying to ‘socialise’. Then I found I wanted and needed time to myself to heal. He was a very gregarious person with a strong personality and tended to crowd me out. I must admit that I am actually now enjoying the peace and quiet on my own. I am able to shine.
Re-kindling friendships or making new ones will come to me in time.
Thanks for your kindness.
I thank you for your lovely reply. I can relate to this very much, wishing to have time on my own used to be very much my desire at some stage in my life. I think I am also more introverted than extroverted. I like to have just a few friends, knowing them on a level I can relate to, rather than too many casual friends whom I never get to know very well. Some friends I can accept immediately as friends if I feel they have to communicate to me something. Even if I seldom hear from them or maybe never hear from them again, their views are still important to me. I think it has more to do with feeling rather than with being ‘clever’.
Wishing you all the best and that you may eventually get much joy out of life by re-kindling friendships.
Sincerely, Uta in NSW.
I agree with everything that you said. Thank you very much for your kind reply.
You are a very smart lady – you should run a business!
Aah – I do – but not one where my heart is – hence the re-thinking of my direction.
This is a logical and thoughtful plan for anyone to follow. I’m looking forward to your future posts as you outline with more detail. Wonderful!
Thanks for your encouragement.
I LOVE your plan, and I look forward to watching you continue to make your dreams come true. You’ve got this, Elizabeth!
Thanks, I hope so.
I love how you are accountable to yourself and for yourself. Once you identified the desired outcome, you were able to figure out what you needed to do for that result. So clear cut. So simple. And yet, I’ve found that it’s easier for me to help others, not only in my lawyer profession but in my personal life. It requires self-discipline for me to stay on track. It’s so easy to be distracted by another’s welfare. Thank you for the post, a reminder for personal welness.
I love how you are accountable to yourself and for yourself. Once you identified the desired outcome, you were able to figure out what you needed to do for that result. So clear cut. So simple. And yet, I’ve found that it’s easier for me to help others, not only in my lawyer profession but in my personal life. It requires self-discipline for me to stay on track. It’s so easy to be distracted by another’s welfare. Thank you for the post, a reminder for personal wellness.
You are correct, the tugging by another’s welfare is difficult to let go of. I found it difficult in the first instance to let go of that caring instinct to my husband, even though he had hurt me. It took me a long time to even think of my own needs, let alone put them ahead of his.
Your posts on children of divorce are insightful as having adult children I tend to want to lean on them and I have to stop myself because of the grief it causes them trapped in the middle. Focussing on my health and other things unrelated to the divorce helps steer me away from that temptation.
Good for you 🙂 I think you’re doing the right thing… and I know you can do it! 🙂
Thanks for your encouragement
GOOD ON YOU.
I think, well I know, health brings you joy.
I think that it does. I am also trying to focus on that to distract myself from the big picture things that are a bit harder to change.
I have still no interest (7 years divorced) in eating much alone… I am the “social” one and wish for the kids, grandkids, or friends at dinner time. I do eat a nice snack in a.m. and p.m. with coworkers and my “big” meal of the day for lunch. Things are different, adjustments are made. I may have shared this with you before, but we may be 2 peas in a pod, I make “lists” for everything! Liked your post!
Thanks. I am finding that making the list is the easy part.
Actually doing the things on the list is much harder.
This is such a self-empowering way to look at things. Great stuff and good luck!
Thanks for stopping by and your kind comments.
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Lists help us – doesnt it? – why a divorce pushs us so much out of our way? I for myself discovered – now after 2 years of divorce – I forgot totally who I am. And the more i read here abt females who went thru the same – it seems we all gave up – no – forgot – our dreams, hopes, wishes for ourself. After all those years I am asking myself if we will ever be able to be who we were b4 marriage – I mean happy as a single. So lets keep making our lists – as its something we can hold on. I also love lists 🙂 and renew them again and again 🙂 .
Your posts always encourage me and make me feel better as it shows me that i m not dealing alone with such situations. Thx for sharing this with us.
Yes, we do forget who we are underneath…..our own true selves. We need to work at getting that back.
Lists do help a lot
Write them, read them, do them…. again and again…. Until we KNOW they are true, because they are.
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