This is the sixth in a series of posts on ‘My Responsibilities’
After food and shelter, one of our primal basic needs is safety, peace and comfort. This can be provided by a place, a person, an activity, or by a combination of these. I wrote about my own need for stability in an earlier post. Previously my marriage provided me with this feeling as no matter where I went, what I did, or whatever adversities befell me; I felt safe and secure. Since my marriage collapsed, I have gained this sense of stability and comfort from my home. From my childhood days of playing ‘house’ to a strong nesting instinct when pregnant, I have always been aware of the comfort my home provides me. I have clung on to my home as my source of refuge, as my relief from distress and turmoil, as my source for solitude, as a means of feeding my mothering instincts with visits from my family. It has been my one constant in the unravelling of my previous life.
Whilst I have been comforted staying in my home since my marriage ended, and initially revelling in living my way within its walls, I have grown to realise that it has actually been living our life, my way, rather than making a new life of my own. Since my epiphany I have been striving to break free to live my life. This will mean a gradual process of selling the business, the commercial property housing the business, then selling my home to release capital for retirement. At that point it will mean leaving behind my one constant, my sanctuary.
For a period after my epiphany, my mind fast-forwarded to where I would be in about 3 years and I resented being where I was. I was coming home alone at night to the cold and dark. It was dreary and depressing. I began neglecting my home. Then the downward spiral began of neglect, followed by being overwhelmed by what it would take to get back routine and order, followed by losing the sense of comfort it previously provided, to seeing only a mountain of work and yet another thing I have to face.
Being uplifted by my daughter visiting last week, the sun coming out this weekend, and early spring flowers beginning to bloom, I have now recharged. In the spirit of my recent posts on responsibilities, I have taken on board getting my home back in order and restoring it as my sanctuary, yet also preparing it for my eventual move. At the same time, I will spend this transition period drinking in the last remaining time I have here, taking in every sunrise, looking at every blossoming flower, watching the moods of the river and valley opposite, reliving every happy memory I have had here with my children, of our previous happy family life. Then, when all that is done, it will be time for me to move on.
Plans to make MY Home MY Sanctuary
1. De-clutter immediate space.
2. Rid the house of ‘our’ stuff.
Note: I had previously rid myself of ‘his’ stuff. It is time for the next step.
3. Go in small manageable steps; one drawer, one cupboard, one box at a time.
4. Pack up ‘our’ stuff. Send it to him for him to deal with.
5. Avoid further clutter by not buying any more ‘stuff’.
6. Have a look around at everything left and decide whether I really need it or not.
7. Chuck out anything I don’t need, anything not used for two years, gifts given to me I don’t really want, clothes that will never fit again, and anything kept ‘just in case’.
8. Enjoy the space and freedom a minimalist habit without ‘stuff’ brings.
9. Revel in the peace and calmness that has taken the place of ‘stuff’.
10. Develop a routine to keep things this way by putting away things when not in use, having a quick daily tidy-up and a proper fortnightly one. Resolve to do an annual clean-up.
11. Look out and enjoy the views to the valley and the river every day.
12. Keep smiling and stay calm.
“I am responsible to maintain my home as a refuge of joy, peace, comfort and relaxation.”
Image courtesy of [amner]: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I believe I am quite a few years your senior, but reading your post I get the feeling I can learn a lot from it. Thank you very much for sharing! 🙂
Thanks for letting me know that you feel that way. It is always great to know that others have appreciated my writing and ideas. 🙂
Hi Elizabeth! I love how you figure these things out. I love your list. The only one the kind of throws me is number 4. Why not just throw it out if you don’t want it?
I was wondering the same thing 🙂
Hello, I have replied to Dianna’s comment
There is some subtle closure within my list 🙂
I say, good for you! Perhaps a bit of number 4 is in sharing the responsibility of cleaning up from the dismantling of “our” life, no? Getting rid of the “his” stuff was probably easy, it was “his”…the “our” stuff is different, and you ought not have to do that by yourself, you didn’t acquire it alone if it was “ours”. Go ahead with your bad ass self, Elizabeth!
Such thoughts are definitely growing in my head!
In my life, vengeance measures are not my style and in my blog I try to leave out vitriolic husband-bashing references and focus on me. Nevertheless there are contained within its pages subtle references. This is one of those. He walked away and I have had to deal with the fall-out. When I leave my home and start a new life, my new space will be empty and the 50 archive boxes of business records required by law to be kept for seven years will be in his possession. This will be my closure.
OK! That is making complete sense to me now. Thanks for expanding! 🙂
That makes perfect sense!
My overwhelming thought as I was reading this was the differentiation between house and home. A house is a structure that when you belong there is your home. But at the end of the day your home is where you, as an essential being, truly LIVE. Well done Elizabeth.
You said it Ian!
You are so perceptive! I did make reference in the first paragraph that one’s stability or sanctuary (read ‘home’) can be a place, a person, an activity, or a combination. You are correct that house is a ‘place’ but ‘home’ encompasses more and may be a person or a treasured activity.
I love how you lay it all out. You really see what is, and you make changes. You’re so proactive in your life, it’s marvellous.
Thanks. I do know that I am pro-active in my thoughts and planning. Taking action is that little bit harder 🙂
I can only try to do my best and eventually i will get there.
What a great list, encompassing so many layers of clearing out and releasing all that no longer serves you. Onward and forward!
Yes, it is a great release to rid myself of things that do not do anything for me anymore.
Then I feel I can truly really leave ‘his’ and ‘our’ way behind, and begin again as ‘me’.
Thanks for your kind comment.
Letting go is hard. Even when you want to.
Yes, that is true. That is why I am giving myself time.
Thanks for your kind comment.
By the way, I am having trouble reading your blog. I can only get into one page of a picture with a heart.
This has helped me immensely – thank you for sharing your wisdom.
I am glad that you found it helpful. Thanks for stopping by.
Another thoughtful post. I love the way you lay it all out in your detailed list. I also love that you haven’t resorted to bashing your ex in your blog, as it would only prolong the difficulty and diminish the focus needed in getting your own life on track. Bravo, Elizabeth.
Thanks for your continued encouragement. I am trying to remain focussed on a positive future and it certainly is uplifting when others boost me along. thanks
Great – I love the way you plan. i followed a similar though less reasoned and more intuitive path, downsized to a place half the size and after 2 years bought a small apartment just big enough for me. I needed the middle stage to deal with getting rid of “stuff” I thought I wanted/needed. My ex-husband stayed in our home with his new wife, continuing with the business we had run together there , until this spring, when he sold it and they moved out. That really has given me closure.
It was difficult in the beginning to know whether to stay or leave. I did not want to leave the memories of the children’s childhood behind. However, I have moved on a bit and I now realise that until I move from the family home, and move onto something just for me, I will not get complete closure.
How interesting to notice the difference between “his stuff,” and “our stuff.” Such nuanced observation is a result of quiet time alone. Yet, without the family who visits us and the flowers that bloom, we can forget the larger life around us. Sounds like you are managing to balance things in a graceful manner.
Trying, trying 🙂
When all said and done, when you have lost trust and truth, any ‘stuff’ that remains – even those things with happy memories attached – no longer holds meaning. Thanks so much for your insightful comment.
A friend of mine somehow stumbled upon your blog and suggested that I check it out. My husband also abruptly left me, also after 37 years! He’s been gone just over 3 1/2 years now. I too have a blog and have found it to be very therapeutic although I go through periods of time when I can’t seem to write at all. I plan to start at the beginning of your blog and get caught up on your story. Thanks for your honest sharing. If you’re at all interested, you can check out my blog at http://mostly-musing.blogspot.com/. I’d love to share back and forth occasionally. Looking forward to discovering how you’re managing.
Hello. Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your kind comment. I am so glad that you have found me. Yes, I will check out your blog and I will keep in touch. It is hard finding someone to relate to that knows the pain in starting out again at this stage in life.I will be back in touch.
Home is a special place. I like the way you describe your plan to make it your sanctuary.
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