Category Archives: Uncategorized

Finding Your Voice

For the first few years after my husband left me,  I felt like one of those plastic garbage bags spinning in the wind, being tossed this way and that.  I felt unheard, as though I had lost my voice. No matter what I said or did, I seemed to have no control over anything.

And then slowly, very slowly, I started to regain – or, in some cases gain – control. Most were baby steps, which I have documented in this blog: my year of saying ‘yes’, divorce negotiations with my lawyer, buying a house for the first time on my own, preparing a new will, changing my name.

But there was one problem I kept coming up against. Continue reading

Aging

Photo by Yogendra Singh from Pexels

My mother always warned me that the very worst time in your life to lose weight was when you were in your ‘mature’ years, as your skin – particularly on your face – never bounces back the way it does when you’re young.

And she was right.

A few years ago, I lost a (ahem) substantial amount of weight!  The health benefits were amazing, but… I discovered that my mother’s caution was bang on.  Proud of my weight loss (it took a lot of hard work!) and the fact I was now healthier than I was ten years ago, I jokingly posted on Facebook that, while it was great that, in profile, my boobs now stick out (marginally) more than my belly, it was a shame about my sagging jowls.

It was as simple as that.  A joke!

But some of the responses startled me, because it occurred to me that my friends thought I was either a) trying to fish for compliments , or b) terribly insecure, because they all responded by assuring me that I looked great/beautiful/whatever.

I’m pretty realistic about my looks.  Even when I was young I would never have won a beauty competition, but I’m okay.  I look fine. Sometimes I can even look pretty great. Sure I could do without some of the sagging and lines, but I’m sixty-five now. Every single line has been hard won and I’m particularly proud of the fact that the smile lines around my eyes far outnumber my frown lines.

But should my external be what really matters? To the world?

To me?

Sitting back and thinking about some of those comments, I realised that I am blessed every single morning I look at my face in the mirror, because I see my mum and dad reflected back at me in my own features.  They were good – good – people, offering me a childhood filled with love and security and values. What a wonderful daily reminder of those gifts they gave me.

Since then – and particularly since my divorce – I have been blessed with so many other gifts.

The love of friends and family.

My health.

Reasonable financial security.

I live in a safe, beautiful city in what was recently declared the second most wonderful country in the world.

Passions in my life including hanging out with friends and family, travel, storytelling of all kinds (watching movies, reading books and writing), learning, cycling, walking, cooking, my home, photography, working on this blog, listening to and playing music.

So, in the realm of things, how much should our looks – or our perceptions of our physical selves – matter?  Sadly in this day and age of social media, selfies and photoshopped images on magazines and billboards, it’s hard not to compare our outward appearance with those of others.

I read something the other day  – can’t remember the exact quote – but it was something along the lines of, “A beautiful woman loses her currency with every day that passes.”

But I look at my list above, and with every day that passes, I realise I am getting richer. My life-just-keeps-getting- better.

I know we all pay lip service to  the idea that ‘looks aren’t everything’, but sometimes we need to step back and really acknowledge, deep down in our souls, that all the other stuff that has nothing to do with they way we look – the real stuff in life – is what truly matters, and be very, very grateful for it. And if we have our health, we are doubly blessed.

 

 

Love in the time of Coronavirus – Part Three

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(contd from Love in the time of Coronavirus – Part Two)

I learned – or re-learned – four major life-lessons from my dinner with – let’s call him – Matt, last Sunday.

1) Safety and Love: The most important reason I decided to go through a matchmaker rather than try and meet someone online was concern for my own personal safety.  I’ve read the horror stories out there, and a matchmaker, I felt, provided me with a element of safety. Continue reading

It’s Never Too Late – Weeks 11/12 – Vhairi

Week Eleven – Reigniting a Sense of Adventure  –  Week Twelve- Reigniting a Sense of Faith

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You are never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream – Aristotle.

I can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve and here I am trying to catch up on the final two chapters of Julia Cameron’s book It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again.  I actually finished the book a few weeks ago, but it’s taken until now to pull my thoughts together.

I’m not going into the details of the final two chapters, but instead will give an overview of how I found making my way through the book worked for me over the past few months. Continue reading

Creating a Sense of Humility

Isobel

Well, I have to say that the whole experience of divorcing after almost 40 years of marriage was certainly humiliating! So on beginning this sixth chapter in Julia Cameron’s book “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again,” I wasn’t sure humility was something I needed to work on anymore – or ever again!

But as I worked my way through the chapter, I found a different way of looking at myself, my marriage/divorce and my life. Continue reading

Being Honest with Yourself after Divorce – Week 5

Along with my blog partner, Vhairi, I’ve been working through Julia Cameron’s book “It’s Never Too late to Begin Again,” posting here what I’ve “learned” from each week of morning pages and self-examination exercises.

All went smoothly until Week 5 – Igniting a Sense of Honesty.

This was a tough one. This involved looking at the years of my life (23-29) when so many big changes happened: university, marriage, moving away from friends and family. This was taking the time to really see myself then, the decisions I made (or didn’t make), what was important to me and what wasn’t. Continue reading

How to be the Opposite of Lonely

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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

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