When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.Viktor Frankl
I am here at last settled into my new house with BMW views (Beach, Mountain, Water). The house faces north so I get the sun all day. I walk to the beach twice a day and am keeping fit, well, and healthy. I am only 30 minutes from my eldest son and his family, and my daughter is also nearby.
Yet I feel a little bit home sick, pining for something, but uncertain exactly what.
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In his ground-breaking book about his experience of surviving the holocaust concentration camps Viktor Frankl describes three phases. The first phase is the shock of first arriving at camp. The second phase is entrenched in life at camp. The third phase is after liberation.
Frankl describes how in the second phase of complete uncertainty, stripped of everything from their former lives, people could still retain the freedom to choose their inner response to the situation. As opposed to feeling only misery, bearing suffering with dignity and finding goals for the future even in the midst of uncertainty, is what “makes life meaningful”.
Whilst I hesitate to compare my situation of divorce to that of a holocaust survivor, it is similar in that there were three phases. The first phase was that of my marriage collapse and being thrown into shock and chaos. The second phase was trudging through the marital settlement which took nearly four years. The third phase was the liberation from that process. Reading books like his helped me cope through many dark days of that second phase, the phase of prolonged suffering, by helping me form a sense of normality during that uncertain period, and an inner peace knowing that I still had choices.
During that horrible place, I got myself into a familiar routine and coped well with grace and dignity through all my suffering. I believe now, in a strange sort of way, I actually made a ‘career’ and new life for myself out of coping with my suffering. I branched out into a long phase of inner reflection and I began writing. I enjoyed writing and I felt I did it well.
When the settlement was finalized, I was free at last.
Since the ending of my trudging through the marital settlement, life has been unsettled as I have been in transition yet doing worthwhile things such as living life, visiting friends and family, sorting out my mothers estate and travelling.
I have now moved into my new home by the sea, ready to settle into my new life. But in many many ways, I have now been thrown back into another era of uncertainty.
What do I do now?
Winding the clock back six years, there was me in the certainty of my marriage, career, and community. I knew who I was and where I was going. The crisis of my marriage ending brought with it a loss of my identity that is now long gone which I grieved.
In my second phase world of trudging through the marital settlement, coping with the suffering and writing about it had become my new identity. It had become my place of certainty. As horrible as it was, my trudging through that mud had become a familiar place and I was safe in its familiarity.
Now life is again unfamiliar to me.
I am finding that I have been through or am going through another “identity crisis” of wondering who I am and who I will become. That identity I had made for myself, of writing about positive aspects of coping with my suffering no longer exists as I am no longer ‘suffering’. Then what will I do with my life? What will I write about?
Now I realize that is my answer.
And write about it.
Welcome back! 💚 Your new home sounds amazing Elizabeth! Surrounded by such beauty will keep your energy balanced. Love love Viktor Frankl. Keep writing and exploring 😉
It is truly a lovely area. Thanks for the well wishes and I hope to be back properly this time and will catch up with you soon. Yes, Viktor Frankl is so inspirational. Take care
Have missed you, welcome back to the next stage of life… the unknown… a time to fully immerse yourself in life and enjoy, feel, explore and discover new. AND write about these new feelings, maybe adding a few photos for your friends to enjoy your new environment too. Much love Elizabeth x barbara x
Thanks Barbara. It will be good to catch up with you soon.
Lovely to see you back and blogging Elizabeth. I always enjoy your pieces, so reflective. I hope you enjoy the process of turning your new house into your home.
Thanks. I am enjoying the process.
A day at a time sounds a bit trite but there is truth in it. Writing down words is an excellent way of self expression and it can be done at any moment of the day or night. You are now free!
One day at a time sound sensible to me. Thanks
I have goosebumps Elizabeth. You are on your own path, exactly where you are meant to be. I look forward to hearing more about your BMW life! 💛
Welcome back! Your new home sounds lovely – especially with your proximity to the beach and to your children of course. Have patience with becoming acclimated; I’m sure in time you will feel better about it all. 🙂
It does take time. for a while I was waiting for the next disaster. Gradually I am realizing that my life is again actually “normal”!
It was great hearing from you.
Don’t be a stranger! 🙂
It is always so hard for us to see from the inside looking out the true beauty of our own circumstances. Through reflection and creating new traditions we settle into a familiarity that helps. I think in the wake of divorce, those most negatively affected tend to get used to the sea of upheaval whether it’s emotions or environments and it is unusual when things finally settle. We become accustomed to the discord. We must relearn to listen for the new harmony and see the beauty all over again. I am so happy to hear you are through the final disruption and are well on your way to peace and tranquility in such a beautiful place where you are sure to make a new reality for the redefined “YOU” that you will become. What a success story you are for others to examine.
Thank you for this perspective. I think you are correct about getting used to the sea of upheaval and the difficulty of not appreciating the calm when things finally settled. For a while I was waiting for the next catastrophe and was extremely hyper-vigilant. thanks also for your positiveness for my story of my journey. I really appreciate it.
Good to hear form you Elizabeth. Love your BMW phrase, I will use that too going forward, as I have such views. Best wishes for this new chapter in your journey, may you embrace your creativity and curiosity to find unexpected joys. Are you in/near Hobart now?
yes, I have moved to Blackmans Bay. i must catch up with you one of these days. Where do you live?
Having watched your journey from afar for so long, I am thrilled to hear about your “BMW” views:). It sounds like Heaven! A new chapter and a blank slate . . .
Yes, it is. And SO excited about that blank slate! Thanks for reading and keeping in touch.
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