Having spent 37 years pouring my heart and soul into being the very best wife and mother that I could possibly be, my purpose in life seemed to end with the ending of my marriage. This happened at a time when my younger two children were spreading their wings. My main two roles in life and the driving forces of my being were suddenly gone.
With my world crumbling at my feet, I found that getting up every day for work gave me a sense of purpose. Having meaningful work to do everyday helped sustain my sanity the first year after separation. It also provided me with my sense of normality, as a link to my previous world, and the comfort of a regular routine.
About a year ago I had an epiphany. I realised in that instant the real meaning behind my work had been to provide for my family and that was gone. I resolved that I would change the direction of my life. The drawback to that decision was that it would take some time to logistically change directions and for a while it became a plodding painful process to keep getting up to go into work as my work no longer held meaning for me.
That turned around when I re-framed this current period as my ‘transition to my new life’ and set myself some goals for my transition. One of my transition goals became ‘dignified management of our business’ while-ever it was retained. In that change of focus my daily work shifted sharply from being something that provided me with comfort and stability to one that provided me with an avenue of contribution. Without realising it at the time, my own needs had moved up from the self-focussed ‘I need protection and comfort’ to ‘I need to contribute and give back to society’. In the period since, I have channelled my days at work into being a fair, kind and balanced leader. In return I have received a feeling of accomplishment and contribution.
Prior to my marriage ending I had been active in the community by voluntary involvement in an environment group. In my distraught state after my husband left me, I resigned from the group and not not returned. During my cocooning period of reflection when reviewing my beliefs, my mind drew a blank when I reached world affairs I had previously been vocal about. I became concerned my underlying beliefs had disintegrated and I was apathetic and uncaring. I now understand that in my state of crisis, I had to focus on my own survival as a priority. I had to heal myself before I could again begin to help other people.
About a year ago, I found that I had begun again to read articles about national and world issues. It was a defining moment for me. Gradually that moved to reading books, exploring websites and contributing by making comments on other’s blogs. That gave me a feeling of making a contribution, even in a small way. This has fed a growing strength inside me of my need to ‘give’ shifting slowly away from my basic need to ‘receive’ comforts.
My new role
One of my prime instincts within me is a need to care for others. This need was satisfied in my roles as wife and mother. The hole left for my nurturing instincts by my marriage collapsing was deep and painful. I felt my very purpose in life had disintegrated. Whilst I have since channelled those caring instincts into being the best mother, grand-mother, daughter, sister, friend and leader that I can be; I know that is not enough. I know that I have to move on to helping people less fortunate than myself.
Last post I wrote “With the best of intentions of picking myself up, fixing myself up and getting back on the bike; I have come to realise that it is not me that needs fixing, it is the bike.”
My old bike (my drive) was being the best wife and mother that I could possibly be.
My new drive will be to find my voice and promote human welfare.
That will become my new bike.
The roles we have in life are in relation to other people. What I am seeing Elizabeth is a new way for you to be in the world. Its more than a role. Its sharing your values and expressing your true self for the good of humanity.
‘More than a role’?
That sounds incredible.
Thank you for that belief in me.
A wonderfully honest post Elizabeth. We all at times need to find a new direction in life from unexpected circumstances. You have shown true courage and strength to make these choices and I wish you every blessing.
Thank you for your kind comment. I really appreciate it.
I haven’t seen your new bike yet Elizabeth, but I’m betting it’s a sleek, shiny model that will be able to drive circles around your old bike! Hugs to you, beautiful and smart lady!
Actually, I was thinking maybe a motor scooter may be a better investment 🙂
I don’t know Elizabeth, there’s something poetic about you powering the bike. ❤
I didn’t think of it that way and, yes, I agree that there is. So another bike it is 🙂
Cheers and Hip-hip-hooray for your choice of bicycle. In my opinion you should be proud (and perhaps energized) to sing along with this song …
Ahh! that song!
I played it three times.
Thanks for that.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Because your cross-continental cyber-space friendship is music to me… , and I thank you for that. 😀
They’ll be lucky to have you:).
Thanks for your belief in me. I really appreciate it.
I think that any way you find freedom of expression, whether figuratively ‘riding a bike’ into the sunset, or literally riding that new bike of yours, is wonderful, Elizabeth. I sometimes think we need new challenges and even though your life has been utterly chaotic and turned upside down, I see an amazingly beautiful and stronger woman: You! Smiles, Robin
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I love the direction your bike is heading. 🙂
Great. I hope I do not get a puncture on the way 🙂
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