Flying high

 

ID-100238072.suwatpoJust a short post to keep in touch …

I have been away for two months, visiting my son in Canada, daughter-in-law and my brand new gorgeous baby grand-daughter. I spent two weeks in Vancouver, three weeks travelling (Alberta, San Francisco, Whistler) two weeks back in Vancouver, then some time in Sydney with my siblings before heading back to Tasmania.

After a fairly intensive seven year period, this was a wonderful time for me. For eight weeks I was able to leave my ‘must-be-done’ things behind. I was finally spreading my wings. Even though I have travelled here and there over the past five years, mostly that has been going to or from people at one or the other end. This time, as I could not stay with my son as they only have a tiny place, I spent quite a lot of time on my own; seeing new places; navigating buses, trains, planes, accommodation, tourist events, shops, restaurants, food swamps, taxis, walking trails, and hospitals; and had many new experiences – all on my own.

  • I met some wonderful people including bloggers Ian, Diana, (she posted a picture of me)  and Louise.
  • I attended a stimulating conference in Santa Rosa and met many like-minded people.
  • I had an accident on a bus one day and ended up in Vancouver Accident and Emergency for several hours (but I survived!)
  • I navigated various restaurants and food swamps and – despite my very tricky diet balancing food sensitivities with a determination to have healthy food – I did manage to find foods to eat wherever I went. I came home the exact same weight as when I left.

Now back in Tasmania, my feelings about what I call ‘home’ are mixed.

I am soon to be moving on as I have purchased a house near two of my children in the Hobart environs. I will be relocating there in the new year. Hopefully with faster internet connection, when I move there I can return to more frequent blogging again.

I do miss you all.

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Transitioning to my Transition!!

 

ID-100294809.StuartMilesNo I am not moving (yet).

Later today I will be moving those business documents (that need to be retained for five years) into an official storage facility. They will finally be out of my head-space.

Yay!

With my old life packed away, I will be able to transition to my transition – that world where I will be on my way to my new life.

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ImageCourtesy[StuartMiles]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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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My life in transition # 3 – Resistance

“Resistance is a powerful motivator precisely because it enables us to fulfill our longing to achieve our goals while letting us boldly recognise and name the obstacles to those achievements”
Derrick A Bell.

ID-10026543.jscreationz

It is two and a half years since my husband left me and I am still stuck in a transition world between my old and new life. Resistance has been a factor with obstacles that have either kept me stuck in my old world or sprung up to hinder my progress.

These are the steps I am taking to overcome resistance:

(i) Clarify my motivation for change.

(ii) Write down my resistance voices.

(iii) List clear obstacles to progress.
This is a summary of my voices and practical considerations.

(iv) Prepare a comeback to each level of resistance.

(v) Seek out supporters.

(vi) Monitor progress.

(vii) Keep going

Resistance factors

This is the list I came up with as per (i) to (iii) above and my comeback for each:

1. No motivation to change.
Clearly change motivation has been difficult as change was thrust upon me.

2. Clinging to my old life.
In my old life I coped well in a crisis. I would focus my energy on recovery, integrate whatever change was required into my life and quickly bounce back to normal. The crisis of my divorce was different. My normal was gone. I craved normality. I coped by blocking out the reality of my changed situation by clinging on to as many remnants of my old life as I possibly could. In particular, I deliberately deferred some major decisions that would require major changes to my life.

This deferral was necessary to allow me time and space to process the emotional impacts of what had happened. In this time and space I grieved the ending of my marriage.

3. Fear of the unknown. I survived my grief period and in time learned to live with the level of discomfort that was now my new normal. Living with discomfort became easier than facing the unknown. Those deferred decisions remained in the “to be done later” box.

One day my fear of living in continued discomfort outweighed my fear of change. I had an epiphany. In a single moment of time I decided that I wanted to start a brand new life. This in itself overcame my first resistance. I had regained control over my choices and hence my motivation to change. My motivation is now simple. I want to make my own new life.

4. Fear of identity loss. My decision to change plunged me into an even deeper mourning period as I faced the reality of what the changes meant. I would need to strip away the rest of my identity by giving up my home, my work and my community.

I still have my inner core of my values and beliefs. That is my real identity. I can take that with me, wherever I go, whatever I do.

5. Fear of not being strong enough. “I can’t do it” is a loud voice together with.voices that give me reasons for not doing things, for putting things off, or for why I am struggling.

Yes you can. It will take courage, perseverance, and belief in yourself but you can do it

6. Legal and financial constraints Moving from my home, changing my avenue of work, and moving away from the community are all major steps, which will require careful financial consideration after I am legally able to begin those changes.

This is where I am up to. I am leaning on professional advisors to assist me through.

7. Practical considerations All these changes do and will continue to require a lot of physical, emotional and mental stamina yet I am tired, so tired.

Then rest if you must, but do not quit.

Writing this post has proved two things.

Firstly; the crisis of divorce is different from any other crisis I have faced before as it is not simply a change within my life, it is a change to a new me. I cannot bounce back. I must bounce forward.

Secondly; I am not stuck. I am through five of seven very difficult steps.

I continue to work on a clear vision for a new me and a new life and progress towards that.

“People don’t resist change. They resist being changed.” Peter M Senge
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