In with the new …

ID-10088168Over many years, rather than a list of resolutions of what I would like ‘to do‘ for the year, I had thought of new beginnings in philosophical terms of what I would like ‘to be‘ such as being responsible for my own destiny; developing a strong core of principled values, beliefs, and attitudes; and showing courage, kindness and fairness.

Whilst commendable, that philosophical framework did little to actually move me forward out of the mud of the nearly four years of the marital property legal settlement. For that, practical aims were needed and a return of that dreaded ‘to-do’ list. In that regard, I was buoyed by a suggestion to re-frame the processes for the settlement as steps towards my future, rather than thinking in terms of being stuck in the past. That suggestion was as if a light had come on. My mother, also recognizing I was suffering a dread of pushing through the legal steps rather than an inability to get over emotional aspects, later reinforced this. “You just have to get stuck in and get it all done”, were her words to me. So, even though I yearned for the luxury of starting my new life, in 2014, I had to push aside my emotional pain and set practical goals to get the marital settlement over the line.

In January 2015, the legal papers were finally signed. Even though there would be no going back, the actual processes would still take some time. Because of administrative tasks, I was not yet free. At the time, my mother was also gravely ill and I was sharing in her full- time care. My life was still on hold. However, with the sale of the business, and changes happening around me, I needed a new focus for the year – for me. On January 02, with a lightening bolt of an idea, I decided to focus on my health for a full year. Throughout 2015, while caring for my mother and grieving her death, while dealing with administrative tasks of the legal separation, while sorting out the 600 archive boxes in the shed, I have clung onto that one goal for 2015 as something for me. I achieved that goal. Now, rather than having a feeling of still being stuck because I have not moved on as I am living in the same house in the same town, I have not started a new career, and I have not been on any exciting adventures; I do have an enormous sense of achievement in keeping to that goal. Moreover, my health, weight improvement (and new wardrobe) have transformed me.

Keeping goals makes me feel good about myself and feeling good about myself is good for me. So it seems for two years in a row now, practical goals and the dreaded ‘to-do’ list have actually worked for me. Maybe there is something in my character or personality that responds well to set goals, at least for practical aspects of my life. With that in mind, let me continue and tick a few more things off my list…

Here are my practical goals for 2016:

  1. Sell my home and set-up a new home nearer other family members.
  2. Set my financial goals, including developing a new avenue of income.
  3. Spend time with my siblings in NSW, my son in Canada, friends and family.

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Images.courtesy[StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Out with the old …

DSCN2382I have been somewhat absent from blogging the past few months for various reasons including good reasons (visiting my grand-daughters more often, sharing with my son the launch of his first book, and joyous family times with all children home for Christmas) and a not-so-good reason of my internet being slow and thus I have frustratingly not been able to download / upload the photos I want to complement my writing experience.

HOWEVER …

The main reason for my absence is that I have been making a concerted effort to shed all my past baggage (both literally and metaphorically) in order to move on to my new life.

I have been working on getting rid of the 600+ archive boxes in the shed and I am now down to ~ 150. This has been a MASSIVE task and at times sent me just a little bit crazy!

I have been losing excess weight in my so-far successful H.E.A.L.T.H.plan and, even though I am now down to my ‘healthy weight range’ goal, I am continuing with a new aim to get down to the weight I was at age eighteen. As the plan involves more moving, less sitting, there has been less time available to blog. (Oh, the sacrifices I am making for me!)

I have been continuing with the shedding of emotional baggage – which comes and goes with the sorting of the boxes in the shed and looking at photos, shared projects etc

I will write more in-depth on these achievements at a future date. For now, I simply wanted to let you know that the process of ridding myself of unwanted baggage and leaving behind the last remnants of my past life has left me at the end of this year 2015 feeling that …

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good’ **

Wishing everyone a peaceful and joyous 2016.

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** Quote and Youtube video clip from “Feeling Good’ 1965 Nina Simone
Written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse

Checking in …

 

ID-100127686.africaI have been away from the blogging world for a few weeks for several reasons and thought I would check in briefly to let you know those reasons and what I have been up to.

# 1. I spent two weeks at my mother’s place with my sister, writing return thank-you cards and sorting out some of my mothers things.

# 2. I had a knee injury for a few weeks so could not sit at my desk. All is OK now.

# 3. My internet connection became too slow and it was irritating waiting and watching that swirling little circle. Sending an email with an attachment took forever. Writing a blog-post became frustrating. Uploading a picture became impossible. So for a few weeks I gave up trying. It is amazing all the things I have achieved away from my desk and the internet!

# 4. My son and his wife will be doing house extensions. With temporary accommodation lined up but the building construction delayed, an opportunity arose for me to spend some time in that accommodation for the two months before they have to move in. So two weeks ago – like an excited teenager – I loaded my car (station wagon) with trundle bed, linen, kitchen gear etc and went off on an adventure to Hobart. It was fantastic staying near the grand-children sharing in their daily lives yet having my own space. I will now be spending every second week down there until early December.
Alas! There is no internet connection in the flat and trying to connect via phone hot-spot is too expensive so there will be no chance for me to sign in when I am there either.

# 5. I have been helping my son with some aspects of a book he is writing.

# 6. I closed the company down. That could not be done until all the financial transactions of the company had been completed which happened on 30 September. The company was closed on 07 October. That was the last step of legal separation from my husband.

# 7. I have been clearing out the shed. The 600 boxes are now down to 260!

Most of this has been business records to either burn, dump or archive. This has been a massive task for me and something that I have been putting off. It is the thing that has taken up most of my time over the past two months and probably deserves a post of its own. In summary for now, it has been a positive thing to finally start on this as it represents me letting go of my old life. I needed to do that in order to move on. I am now really wanting to get that task done. I need to get rid of my old life in order to make space for the new. I am motivated. It is the vision of my new life that is driving me to now get this done.

# 8. I have been keeping up with my H.E.A.L.T.H.plan and will up update you soon.

# 9. I have had my hair done, spent time at the library, had some health-checks, started on some early Christmas shopping, spent time with my children, spent time on the phone chatting to people, and spent some time cooking and experimenting with meals.

# 10. I have been doing a lot of reading and research. A lot of this is in preparation for the next chapter in my life. That is where I want to be at the moment – getting ready. How fantastic to have so much time to spend on reading. That is the me in the picture at the top (except I have blond hair). See the smile on my face. That is me in my element.

What have you noticed about all the above points?

They are all NORMAL things.  🙂

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Images.courtesy[Africa]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

feeling intoxicated!

ID-100128413.africaI have been feeling Euphoric!

The taste of what true freedom means is beginning to seep into the essence of my being.
This began after the sale of the business and has continued to grow as I have gradually shut down all work commitments. Since my head has been clear of that part of me, I have been better able to see more clearly what my life will be like. For the very first time, I have been able to see my life as a single person and being able to build that life as I want to.

When I had the business to manage and the marital property settlement to contend with, I grieved not having a partner to lean on in the decision-making process of that period. It was tough going because for forty years I had always had someone beside me for previous big decisions. Having navigated that period by myself and succeeded in my resolve to ensure the business sale proceeded and the property settlement was fair and reasonable, I now have more confidence. I know that whatever event in life I am confronted with, I will have the courage to face it and survive. Moreover, I can climb to the top of the mountain!

With the business sold and marital settlement trudging over, there is now for me a lifting from my shoulders of a large weight and a somewhat delayed but nevertheless euphoric and triumphant ‘I have done it‘ beating of my fists into the air!

I am free. I am on my own and I am free. I do not have to compromise my time any more. I am free to adjust and adapt my time with myself and my loved ones and my contributions to society and my creative projects or whatever else I decide. How I distribute that time is mine alone to choose. And that feeling of being alone and single and being able to control my own time in its entirety is intoxicating.

 

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Image.courtesy[Africa]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

new transitions

1998-105Back on that bridge …

As I wrote in a recent post, I am again on my way from here to there, with life in transition. A transition is moving from one life chapter to the next such as transitioning from teenager to adult or from adult to retiree. We may also transition after a significant life event such as moving house; changing jobs; having children; coping with an illness, injury or disability; and navigating a financial or legal crises. Transitions involve four phases – holding on, letting go, taking on, then finally moving on.

The life ‘chapter’ or ‘event’ I have been through is the end of my marriage and relationship with my husband of 37 years. In my case of late-life divorce, there has not been this one simple life changing event for me. There have been several. The business sale has meant the end of my working life as I have known it and an identity crisis of its own merit. There has been a change in family dynamics, my social networks and community connections. There is my sunken financial situation to consider. I also intend to sell my home, move to a new area and forge ahead in a new career and lifestyle. That is a lot of changes over a few short years. Continue reading

Transmuting anger

“I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power that can move the world” Mahatma Gandhi

ID-10032230 I have written before that I find it difficult feeling, dealing with or expressing anger. I am not inherently an angry person and I hate confrontation. I am generally of a forgiving nature – perhaps too forgiving – and I am tolerant of other people’s up and down moods. However, I tend to put anger in a different category than a simple ‘mood’ and I am prone to associate anger with aggressive, toxic and hostile people.

So if ever I find myself becoming angry, it fills me with angst as I become concerned that I may be turning into an angry toxic person. Then, as I am reluctant to face my anger, my emotions start to twirl around in an uncontrollable fashion.

Having had to deal with a fair amount of anger over the past few years, I have come to realize that the feeling anger has a defensive form and it tends to be this defensive form that is the one that sometimes hits me. Usually it hits me in response to an aggressive action directed at me. In those circumstances my own anger that I feel has actually been the one emotion that is everything to do with defending my values.

Anger is my reactive emotion whenever I have perceived mistreatment, insult or malice. It is the feeling of anger that gives me a sense of justice, and to want to right wrongs. It is anger that leads me on to defend morality. For example, anger is the outrage I feel when I hear about child abuse, racism, mistreatment of women, rape or murder. From a personal perspective, it has been anger that has empowered me to do good in past causes that I have taken on such as the saving of wilderness areas, and fighting for free speech.

Anger is also the feeling that empowers me to become the best I can be. Anger has been the emotion behind my silent protest against what I initially saw as a reprehensible situation, on the collapse of my marriage. Anger planted within me an inner drive to get through the mess, survive and thrive. When I have felt utterly worthless and useless, anger has been the rebellious spirit within me fighting for feelings of self-worth, courage and dignity. Being energy-charged, anger has enabled me to keep going though all the turmoil, through all the mud. When I felt all the values I ever believed in had been violated, it was anger that gave me the drive to fight to maintain my own values, to keep believing in them, and to keep living by them – no matter what. Anger has kept me striving towards a life of moral principles to live by … and to keep doing what I believe is right.

Rather than try and bury anger, which I am prone to do, it is far better that I ask ‘what value do I feel has been violated that is making me feel this way?’ Then with a rightful indignation against the violation of that value, affirm within myself that I will never compromise that value and determine to keep living by that value’s code. Once that value within me is reaffirmed, the course of action out of turmoil into a land of peace and harmony becomes more obvious to me.

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This is a third post in a series on feeling my feelings.
# 1. Feeling my feelings
# 2. Recognizing my own feelings

Image.courtesy[Chrisroll]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have changed my mind

ID-100170157 - master isolated imagesI have changed my mind on a few issues surrounding my divorce.

(Disclaimer: My apologies to all those in happy, healthy, monogamous, caring, understanding relationships with partners who love being together and yet who give each other space to be individuals.)

1. Previous thought: I was abandoned.
New thought: I was set free

2. Previous thought: I have no-one to protect me.
New thought: I have no-one to hold me back.

3. Previous thought: I have suffered intolerable losses of assets and income.
New thought: I do not have to stress about what someone else is spending.

4. Previous thought: I am alone in making tough decisions.
New thought: I am able to make my own choices – on absolutely everything.

5. Previous thought: I do not have a soul-mate to share my life with.
New thought: I do not have to compromise on anything, especially values and beliefs.

6. Previous thought: I am trapped in this prison between past and future.
New thought: I am in this wonderful place of now.

I am free. 🙂

 

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Image courtesy[master isola]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Ok … so now what?

“I am not sure what I shall do, nothing here has worked out quite as I expected”
“Most things don’t. But sometimes, what happens instead is the good stuff”
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

 

ID-10036272.nattavutFor over three years I have been in this place of limbo between my past and future, trudging through the mud of the marital property settlement, waiting for it to be over so that I may begin my new life. Recently I wrote that the settlement agreement had been finally signed. What I did not reveal in that post, is that about the same time, the business had been sold. This sale had meant much administrative burden for me over the previous six to twelve months, and the business itself had consumed my life for decades. I have thus in the past month had this marvellous quadruple lifting of time-related stress. I will shortly be free of the marital settlement, business-sale negotiations, legal work-up on both those counts, and the running of the business itself. Even though there is still some final processes to complete, those changes will happen. Those stresses will be gone.

I must admit that after a day of luxuriating euphoria on signing the agreement, I then went through a few days turmoil. That was the exact opposite of how I thought I would feel. For two days I did not sleep. It was not exactly panic but my head was in a spin with thoughts whirring around as to what my next step would now be. It was almost as if for three years I had been trying desperately to get through this door that had been stuck. Then when I FINALLY walked through it, there I was confronted again with not one but several more doors. And I was at a loss as to which one I should attempt to open first.

Should I prepare my home for selling?
Should I move closer to my mother?
Should I move closer to the children?
Should I stay where I am?
Should I spend more time with my children?
Should I visit my siblings and friends?
Should I join a community group?
Should I begin a course?
Should I get back to my previous career?
Should I go back to university?
Should I start another business?
Should I retire?
Should I become frugal so my money stretches further?
Should I get financial advice?
Should I volunteer for a local charity?
Should I volunteer overseas?
Should I travel simply for the thrill of it?
Should I take up a new sport?
Should I take up a new hobby?
Should I embark on a new project?
Should I get myself fit and active and healthier?
Should I write a book?
Will I be able to continue to live my life alone with grace and dignity?

After a few fitful nights, I woke one morning with my next project ahead as clear as anything. My project – for the next year at least – would be to focus on me.

The truth is, I need to decide on all those things in the list above.
The truth is, some of them will be both difficult and challenging.
The truth is, I will be in conflict within myself as to how best prioritize my time.

That is life.

However, I can also spend some time on me, I can take some time for me.

The key realization that I have come to is that I am in another transition.
I have been through one transition over the past three years and am finally closing the door on that transition period – the ending of ‘we’.
I am now beginning another transition – finding the true ‘me’.
I have concluded that, whilst it is still a transition, that it is an OK place to be.
It is OK to not definitely know the path ahead.
It is OK, even exciting, to try new things and maybe make mistakes along the way.
It is OK, to be me, alone.

And, whereas my transition away from ‘we’ was marked by frustration and me feeling trapped; as I enter this new transition towards ‘me’, I am tasting the delicate flavour of freedom.

 

 

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ImageCourtesy[nattavut]FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Almost there…..

 

ID-100107304.num_skymanIn regard to the marital property settlement I have recently passed through some major hurdles and have almost got the whole settlement across the line. The feeling I have is that I have been lost and alone in this thick dark gloomy impenetrable forest which I have spent three years trying to hack through, seemingly getting nowhere. Then I decided to go a different route, trudging uphill through an area of dense brambles, enduring much pain and suffering to go that way, but by that route I have slowly been edging forward. At last I have come to a clearing. Even though there is still a little way to go, I can at least now see the path ahead. The way to go is easy walking for me now and, just a little bit further down at the end of the road, I can see some light.

I am almost there.

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ImageCourtesy[num_skyman]FreeDigitalPhotos.net

From Trauma to Transformation

ID-100194153.VladoAfter a loss there is a period of grief and then, as described by experts, “acceptance” of the loss and moving on. In regards to the ending of a long marriage, I do not think that it is that simple as I believe the supposed ‘grief’ period is just the first stage of several difficult stages on a journey to a completely different life. These are the stages I went through:

Trauma

Caught up in the sudden and distressing way that it happened, for a long time I was caught in a single moment in time of “when my husband left me”. My whole life was defined by that moment in time. In my life before that moment I had security and trust, and I felt happy. In my life ahead I saw chaos and trauma, and I felt fear. It was too painful to think about my losses, about my life that I had lost, so I didn’t. I could not face my scary future, about my life alone, so I didn’t. My life became the suffering of that single moment in time. So horrific were the effects on me that day, that I had flashbacks to that moment, little triggers that took me back there. In those flashbacks, once again I would hear the horrific words, and I would feel the distress and the pain of abandonment, betrayal and lost love. I was the victim of that moment in time – the moment when my husband left me.

I moved on

Tolerance

I became the survivor of “the ending of my marriage”.
I coped. I tolerated the grief process and I mourned the loss of my marriage. I accepted that it had happened. I survived every hour of every day. I watched the sunrise. I went for daily walks. I paid gratitude for everything good in my life. I learned to live alone.
I was no longer caught in that moment in time.
I became the survivor of that event – the event of the ending of my marriage.

I moved on.

Truth

I discovered the truth. I discovered me. I realized this was “my new beginnings”.
I learned how to be grateful for me, myself, and I.
I looked back and saw that that day had been the beginning of a journey, a journey of discovery to the new me. I began to realize that the ending of my marriage gave me the opportunity to reform myself and to do the things in life that I had always wanted to do.
I began to make choices – my choices – of how I wanted to live.
I began to live by my truth, and I realized that my truth had begun the day my husband left me, when my marriage ended.

I moved on.

Transformation

My life began to be what I made it on this day in the present, at this moment in time.
I found joy in the moments of today, with no sadness of the past, with no fear for the future.
I began to look forward to the times ahead. I began to dream again. I gave myself permission to envision my future as productive, meaningful and filled with joy.
I began to look back with happiness and pride in my achievements in my long marriage.
I stopped being trapped within that moment in time when my husband left me.
I stopped defining myself by the end of my marriage, or by my marital status.
I stopped thinking that I began anew that day as I began to realize that I had been me all of my life, and I had been discovering me all of my life. I resolved to continue to transform myself into who I want to become, this day, every day.

I look forward with eagerness to transforming myself into an admirable person and making my life a wonderful life.

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ImageCourtesy[Vlado]FreeDigitalPhotos.net