Tag Archives: Silver Splitters

What’s in a name?

Deciding to change your name is a very personal decision. Although I loved being a wife and (love being) a mother, my feeling was that if my ex didn’t want me, I no longer wanted to carry his name. Embarking on my own Shirley Valentine quest to try and rediscover the me I used to be, I would do it with my ‘own’ name.

One reaction I got from someone who had only ever known me by my married name was very inspiring.  They claimed my own name sounded like a character from a Robert Louis Stevenson novel and told me to, “Go out and be the heroine of your own story.”

So what does changing your name actually involve?  When I married in the late 70s it was easy.  I had one bank account, a driver’s licence and a passport.  Done and dusted.

Now, 40 years later, it’s more complicated.  Some of it is costly, some of it’s not.  So how do you go about it?

No matter where you live, the most important thing to start with is to collect ALL of your ORIGINAL documents; birth certificate, marriage certificate and divorce certificate.  (Some people are tempted to dispose of the latter.  Don’t!)

After that, it will depend where you live.  I live in Canada, so this is how I proceeded.

  1. Driver’s Licence.  I took along all 3 certificates and got my new driver’s licence at my local AMA office. (Free)
  2. Once I had my driver’s licence for ID, I was able to change my provincial Health Care Card.  I also did that at the AMA office.  (Free)
  3. I then visited the bank with my new ID and all three original certificates and changed all my account info including credit cards etc.  (Free.)  I also have a bank account in the UK, so I needed to visit the bank with all three ORIGINAL certificates to have that changed.  (Free – except for the cost of getting there!)  This applied to my bank, it may not be the same with others, so check out what you need with your branch.
  4. Social Insurance Number.  This is where original documents are so important, especially if you were born or married overseas.  This was done at my local government office. (Free) They assured me the change would automatically be transferred over to the Taxation Agency, but it’s a good idea to…
  5. … contact your Taxation Agency and confirm that has been done.  Especially before you file your annual taxes. (Free)
  6. Passport.  Ironically I needed less ID for my passport than my Social Insurance Number – they didn’t need my marriage certificate.  Fortunately my passport was up for renewal anyway, so it only cost me the normal amount.
  7. House title.  I’ve still to do that, so I’m not sure what the cost will be.
  8. Then come other important considerations:  car ownership, car insurance, house insurance etc.  These were all free and done at my local AMA office.
  9. Then the minor things – library cards, loyalty reward cards, membership cards. Most of these will be free.
  10. Time share property.  I co-own an overseas timeshare property with my daughter – who is also my executor.  They need original documents AND it will cost approximately $300 to change my name on our joint title.  I will do that on our next visit to the property.

There are probably other things which I haven’t factored in, but I believe these are the most common.  In general, it’s not an expensive undertaking, but it is time-consuming, and here I am, two years after beginning the process, still catching things every so often.

Was it worth it?  I have friends who kept their married names and are perfectly happy about their decisions.  But for me, changing my name has helped me move forward.

One of the last scenes in Shirley Valentine is when her husband passes her on the beach.  She calls out his name and he stops, surprised.
“I didn’t recognise you,” he says.
“I know,” she replies. “I used to be The Mother.  I used to be The Wife.  Now I’m Shirley Valentine again.”

 

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

It’s Never Too Late – Week 10 – Vhairi

REIGNITING A SENSE OF VITALITY

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.  JRR Tolkien

Healing

This week there was a lot of productive writing about health, finding balance, self-protection etc., but it was Julia’s section at the end of the chapter that had the most impact on me – using pain as energy.

I’ve been thinking a lot about pain and grief over the past few months.  There’s so much of it going on around me –  not just friends and family who have lost their spouses, but their jobs, financial and family related issues too.

It made me think back to those horrible two years after my husband left me.  How I floundered and wondered if I would ever find stability – let alone contentment – again. Continue reading

It’s Never Too Late – Week 9 – Vhairi

REIGNITING A SENSE OF MOTION

Photo by Arun Thomas from Pexels

One of the things I didn’t quite appreciate when I started Julia’s course a few months back, was just how time intensive it would be.  Morning pages, artist dates, working through the weekly tasks take time and thought. Throw in a holiday and getting a dose of the flu… and time just ran away with me.  I’m shocked to realise it’s now over one month since I finished Week 8.

But it was back to ‘auld claes and porridge’ (as they say in Scotland) this week, and it’s felt really good to be able to sit down regularly with my morning pages and work my way through Chapter Nine. Continue reading

It’s Never Too Late – Week 4 – Vhairi

REIGNITING A SENSE OF PURPOSE

1) How Many days did you do your Morning Pages /MPs?
Most days… but not always the full three pages. Life is complicated at the moment so some days I barely even managed one.  (Which is, perhaps, when we should be concentrating the most on our MPs.)

2) Did you do an Artist Date?
See above for complicated life, but the truth is I didn’t make it a priority.  Hmmm.  Why not? 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.

Travelling Alone As A Single Woman

I’ve always wanted to go to Israel, ever since I read Leon Uris’ book Exodus back in the late 60s. I even dreamed of going to work on a kibbutz when I was in my late-teens, but wars and life got in the way.

And then, this year, I finally got my chance.

But I was scared. Although I’ve travelled with friends and family since my husband left me, this would be the first time travelling completely on my own – albeit as part of a tour group.

So I sat down and went through my fears. Continue reading