Author Archives: thegreydivorcee

How to be the Opposite of Lonely

Canva - Trees in the forest.jpg

It’s never Too Late to Begin Again – Reigniting a Sense of Community is the theme of Week Three in Julia Cameron’s book.

By Day Four, I figured I had blown it.

Morning pages – I wrote a measly three. Artist date – none. Walks alone – none. On the last day, it was the memoir part with its remembering tasks and questions.

I looked at the blank pages in my notebook and knew I was a failure.

Failure at growing up, failure at marriage, failure at life. Oh, yeah, the self-pity demon was in full force on that seventh day. Continue reading

It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again – Week 3 – Vhairi


This week’s focus was on Reigniting a Sense of Connection.

Normally, when I write my weekly review, I simply follow the list of questions at the end of each chapter of Julia’s book, It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again. This week, because of two particular elements of synchronicity I experienced, I’m going to change my approach. Continue reading

Morning Pages – Going Deeper

At the beginning of almost every day’s morning pages this past week, I’ve written something along the lines of – I don’t want to be doing this, I’m tired, I’m busy. But once I got going, thoughts flowed onto the page in a torrent of words. Seemingly about nothing in particular, sometimes just lists. And yet…

Somehow, writing about whatever comes out of my morning brain is leading me towards an understanding, I think, of how I ended up divorced at the age of 65 and after almost forty years of marriage.

I loved him with such passion, truly I did. Maybe it was a flawed sort of love, all tied up with an unhappy childhood, self-esteem issues, but does that really matter? It was my love and it was real. I would have done just about anything for him and for his love in return.

We’d been married for almost ten years, had three children, when I learned of his many  infidelities. So many lies, so many other women, some writing letters to him through his work address. And there I was, all tied up in family life, in being supportive, ironing his dress shirts every morning before he went to work! I had no idea. I never saw any lipstick on his collars.

It makes me angry now to think of it, but believe it or not, he blamed me! I was too busy with the kids, with renovating our house, didn’t wear tight leather skirts! I wasn’t fun anymore.

And so I tried hard to be whatever it was he was looking for outside our marriage. Of course, that didn’t work; he continued doing whatever (and whomever) he wanted, and I built a big wall around it all. In that regard, I was just as much at fault as he was.

I have been ashamed for so long now that I didn’t take the children, all under the age of six, and…and what? I had no money, no family nearby, no friends (we had moved across the country for his work).

The “tasks” in this week’s chapter of Julia’s book involved taking a look at the second six years of my life. Seems unrelated, doesn’t it? Yet I find I am getting a sense of who that person was/is who would stay in such a soul-eating situation – kids or no kids.

I’ve remembered the little girl I was – an awkward, shy little girl with a mother who just wasn’t equipped to deal with her. That little girl grew up trying to be someone different because that was the only way she would be loved. Right? Little wonder she entered into marriage the same way. Rejection meant she had to try harder.

Here’s what I learned this week through the morning pages and the tasks: I am not a failure because my marriage “failed.” I am developing an undertanding of who I am, have always been, and that person is valuable and lovable.

Seems like heavy stuff from a bunch of scribbling in an old notebook, but I think the power is in actually sitting down and taking the time, an hour at the most, every day, to really let the person inside come to the top, come onto the pages.

I’m going to continue with the next 10 weeks. It may seem tedious at times, maybe even a waste of time some days, but I owe this to myself. I owe it to that little girl buried deep inside.

– Isobel

It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again – Week Two – Vhairi

REIGNITING A SENSE OF FREEDOM

Overview:

Last week, this process was a breeze. This week, I’ve discovered two things.

  1. It’s actually very time consuming and I’ve not done some of the ‘tasks’ set in the book. Excluding the 40 minutes it takes to write my daily morning pages, I think I’m going to have to set aside 30 minutes a day to keep up with things. But that’s okay, because I want to do this properly.
  2. All this introspection is bringing emotions very close to the surface. I had a ‘bad’ day yesterday – didn’t get out my pjs and lay on the couch watching TV and eating rubbish – but that’s okay too, because I’m getting closer to the heart of things that are important to me.

But the process remains exciting. I’m learning a lot and my creative juices are really beginning to fire. Continue reading

Morning Pages, Memories and Making Myself Do It!

One week into Julia Cameron’s 12-week program from her book “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again.” I’m not a fan of journal writing, maybe because it is so difficult not to censor myself, to just write what’s in my head, in my heart – it sounds dangerous to this insecure, dumped and divorced introvert.

But I’m doing it.

Seven days of writing two pages, longhand, of whatever goes from my foggy morning brain, through my hand numbing from carpal tunnel syndrome and into barely legible words on the page.

Believe me, there is nothing earth-shattering on any of those pages, but I am beginning to find that by putting down in black and white what I feel about everything in my life – from how to get a better night’s sleep to what to do with my wedding ring (yes, I still have it) – I think there are already fewer cobwebs clogging up the old brain network.

There are other things to do too, like the memoir part: remembering things about the first five years of my life. Yikes! I’m 66 years old and can’t remember what I had for breakfast – this part isn’t going to be easy. And dredging up childhood fears, disappointments, traumas like some sort of do-it-yourself psychoanalysis? (Can you tell I’m somewhat skeptical – or at least quite reluctant?) But by the end of the exercises, I caught a glimpse, just a sliver around the door into that core of joy in simply being alive that is born with each of us. It’s still there inside me. And that was a surprise!

So after these seven days, I have no answers to anything or anyone, most especially to myself. But I do feel hopeful. Hopeful that I will come into this this stage of life in front of me with actually more than I left behind.

Hopeful feels good after the past six years of regret, anger and fear – always the fear. It feels so good that I’m almost looking forward to another week of numbing fingers over morning pages, another myopic peer at the second five years into my life story, walks by myself, a “date” with myself. (Okay, that part doesn’t sound too bad!)

Is anyone out there following the same program? If not and you’re hurting, afraid, lost, I recommend giving it a try. There’s really nothing to lose and the whole wide world to gain.

It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again – Week One – Vhairi

VhairiVhari here for my first Weekly Check-in.

How many days did you do your Morning Pages?
Every day! Yayyy! I’ve done Morning Pages before and tend to use them as a sounding board, a diary, a place to brainstorm ideas for the future, or just to rant, and I found myself doing all four of those things this week!

Did you take yourself on an Artist Date?
Chinatown in my city is less than a 10 minute walk from my home, but I’ve only ventured into it a couple of times with a friend who offers walking tours of the area. So, I decided my date would be to wander through the main mall on my own. I discovered some interesting finds – I didn’t realize you could get Green Tea Kit-Kats! – and I was quite tempted by the ‘lucky’ bracelets that promised me good fortune. (If only life was that easy!) I’ll definitely be back! Continue reading

It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again – Intro

We’ve been talking back and forth the past few weeks about how we’re progressing through our post-divorce lives, how we’re feeling about ourselves.

There’s no denying that we were both blindsided when our husbands walked out on us, and the immediate aftermath was terrifying. What were we going to do? How were we going to survive? What had been so deeply wrong with us that our husbands felt their lives would be better without us?

It affected us both physically too. I can remember one time, standing in a Walmart, shaking in fear that I might fall to the floor if I moved. It literally felt as though I was standing at the top of a high-diving board, where the ladder had been removed. The only way down was to jump into the deep water.  As a non-swimmer it was petrifying.

But jump I did… because I had to. I survived the fall, doggy-paddled my way to the side of the pool, and grabbed hold of the railing.

It’s taken a few years for both of us to claw our way back to some kind of normality. Although there are still days/moments when we feel overwhelmed and when our exes take up too much space in our heads, we’ve reached a plateau.  For now, we are financially stable, we’ve discovered great support amongst family and friends, and life is not just okay, but is better than we could have imagined a few years ago.

We’re safe.

And yet… in our own ways, we are still holding on to that rail, unwilling to let go.  I read a quote recently – which of course I can’t find now! – that said something along the lines of, ‘Letting go of something is easier when you have something to go to.’

For everyone that ‘something’ is different.  We’ve been asking ourselves, ‘What do we want to be able to reach for’?

In all stories, Act Three (the last act) is the most exciting one.  It’s where the hero(ine) doubles down their efforts and emerges victorious. But that glorious ending is precipitated by what is called The Black Moment at the end of Act Two – the moment in the story when all seems lost.

For those of us who’ve been betrayed by the men we loved, who’ve had to go through that despair, fear, awful self-doubt and grief, that was our Black Moment. But now it is the time to emerge into our third act.

But how do we DO that?  How do we make our own Act Three one that’s exciting, that has value and purpose?

We recently heard about Julia Cameron’s new book, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond, and it seemed that it might help us discover some of the answers.

The book guides the reader through a 12-week programme of self-discovery, examining the past, present and future.  It involves daily writing, creating a memoir, weekly ‘dates’ with yourself and walking. It’s a three-month commitment to learning how to leave one life behind and head into one yet to be created.

So we’ve decided to go for it. We are both determined to move forward towards something good and creative, a rich and fulfilling Third Act. We are going to let go of the edge of the pool and start to swim!

We decided we would record our journey on this blog, but how?  Usually, we run our posts by each other before posting, but for this, we’re each going to put up a weekly post at the same time and without conferring with the other.

Our next question was… When to start?  Well, sitting in the garden today, we decided we’d start right now!  So we’re putting up this post tonight and will follow up each Sunday night with posts about what we’ve each discovered in the week before.

We hope you’ll join us on this journey. Consider picking up a copy of Julia’s book, find yourself a notebook to write in and see what insights you gain. See what’s out there waiting for you. All we have to do is reach for it.

May ALL our Act Threes be exciting, creative and meaningful.