I’ve found a new companion. He’s totally adorable! But getting him home was quite an adventure.
I was invited to enter a pumpkin contest. I didn’t realize pumpkin carving could be pretty fun (and messy). Not bad for my first try though. Check out my masterpiece! I call it the Crazy Sexy Pumpkin.
I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. That’s what I’ve been telling myself every day. It may not be where I want to be, but there are lessons to be learned, and blessings to be had here.
I’ve had no luck finding a full-time job. But I have received some responses.
“Sorry, the position has been filled by someone whose resume looks much better than yours, and requires a lot less money than what you’re asking for anyway. We wish you all the best in the crappy journey of finding a job. And we’re so glad we’re not in your shoes.”
Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what the responses have said, but that’s what they sound like in my head.
I hate looking for a job!
After high school I had the opportunity to intern at a radio station, and I knew immediately that that was exactly what I wanted to do. So, to the disappointment of my family, I quit college after about a semester and passionately pursued radio instead. It didn’t take long before I got my first gig, and things quickly took off from there. One job just naturally led to the next. I hardly ever had to go out in search of my next job. I’m not saying that it was always easy, but it was always fun. I was good at what I did, the money was great, and I was having a blast! What could be better?
Then about 20 years into my radio career, I was let go from a station I had been at for a decade because of a format change. For some reason I decided it was time to look for a “grown-up” job. (You know, one of those with a desk and a phone, in a cubicle, where your boss is watching the clock to see when you come in and when you leave.)
Maybe it was that gnawing voice in the back of my head that kept popping up after every one of my accomplishments saying, “…yeah but you dropped out of college, so you’re not really that great.” I felt like I needed to prove to myself, to my family, to the lingering spirits of past teachers, that there was so much more I could do than just turn on a microphone and talk.
I dabbled in a few things since then – jobs I considered to be “grown-up” – and I did well. I got promotions, I got raises, I got bonuses, I was even voted “employee of the month” a couple of times. But I was never happy. I had sacrificed fun, creativity, and a wonderful quality of life for a mundane 9 to 5.
All because I needed to prove to the world that I was good enough? That’s nonsense!
I’m realizing now how important it is to be true to myself. I knew since high school that college wouldn’t be for me. But teachers tried to convince me that without it, I wouldn’t get very far. Thankfully I had enough faith in myself to venture out into the rocky terrain regardless of their assumptions. It wasn’t until I started giving other people’s opinions more weight than my own that the struggle began.
It’s a wonderful lesson to learn. (A painful one nonetheless.) I’m starting to see that being grown-up has nothing to do with a job. It’s about having faith in yourself and respecting your own journey. It’s about having the courage to say, “I appreciate your opinion, but I know what’s best for me.” It’s about making choices out of love, and having the faith that they’ll lead you in the right direction.
I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.
I can’t remember the last time I took my truck to the car wash, but it desperately needed a good bath!
I was out running errands over the weekend and as I walked by the shaving cream aisle at Target, I reached for my phone to send my husband a text asking, “need anything from the store?” When it dawned on me that he’s now my ex-husband, I immediately felt as if I was dropping hundreds of feet from an amusement park freefall ride. I walked out of the store empty handed and sat in my truck for a while, just crying.
Time and time again, I’ve also sat in the living room, in the same spot where we made our decision to go our separate ways, in tears imagining a different outcome. What if he chose us instead? What if it was just a blip in our marriage that we looked back on years later as a defining moment in our relationship? What if it was just an obstacle we overcame that brought us closer together and made us a stronger couple?
But that’s not what happened. I remember feeling like someone took a serrated knife to my stomach and extracted my guts out the moment I knew it was over. I was empty – completely hollow inside – and didn’t have the energy to pick up the mess before me. Instead I fell to my knees and gave up. I quit my job. I slept in. I stopped answering the phone. I stopped cleaning the house. (And anyone that knows me well, knows that I’ve reached a catastrophic level once I’ve given up cleaning!) Nothing mattered anymore.
I got married later in life, and I thought that in doing so, I had a better chance at a long-lasting happy marriage. I knew marriage would be life changing, and going into it, I was willing to give up whatever might get in the way of our future together. Despite, that romantic and naïve notion, I remember telling him, “I don’t want us to lose ourselves in this relationship.” But I did lose myself. I gave up relationships. I gave up hobbies. I gave up anything that took me away from him. And I justified it by telling myself that I was doing it for us – for our marriage. Worst of all, I convinced myself that he would do the same for us, if it ever came to that. Regardless of my distorted expectation, my heart was completely severed when I found out that wasn’t the case.
A friend asked me the other day, “what makes Mini happy? What do you love doing?” I couldn’t find an answer. It’s been a long time since I asked myself that. If you had asked me six months ago I would have said, “making dinner for my husband, running errands with him, going on a road trip with him…” Although we weren’t together for very long, I can hardly remember who I was before we got married. And it hurts so bad to face the fact that I have to close this chapter now.
I am aware that people around the world are experiencing pain so much worse than what I’m going through. After all, I’ve spent the majority of my time recently watching the news to hear about the latest on the hurricanes around the country, the earthquake in Mexico, the mass shooting in Las Vegas – not so much to be in-the-know, but to run away from my own pain. The pain I’ve been trying so hard to avoid since the divorce. I finally decided to shut it all off and face my own demons instead.
There is no way to prepare for any kind of pain, but I know that the only way to get through it, is to just be with it. I’m hoping that in doing so, I can find what makes Mini happy again too.
I am loving this Phoenix weather! This is the reason people come visit. Finally got to enjoy a nice hike this week.
Monday was National Cheeseburger Day, but since I’m not currently working, I asked a buddy if he would treat me to In-N-Out (Wimpy the Moocher style).
I get so much junk mail every day – coupons, credit card offers, political fliers – but I had no idea there was a divorce mailing list out there too, and I happen to be an exclusive member now. So suddenly I’m getting letters from local attorneys offering their services at a discounted price. Seriously?!
The only unsolicited contact I welcome these days, regarding my divorce, is a friend or family member inquiring about my well-being. And I’ve been so blessed to have such wonderful people reach out recently. But when they ask if I’m OK, I don’t know how to answer sometimes, because that depends on the day. Or even the time of day. I can go from peaceful and thankful to wretched and sobbing as I walk from my computer to the fridge. And if I start playing Gummy Drop on my phone during a moment of self-pity, things can quickly spiral into a full-on “woe is me” extravaganza.
I understand that the grieving process is not linear. So unfortunately, I can’t just go down the list of emotions and mark them off as I go through them. Instead I’m realizing that I continuously have to release the anger & pain, forgive, move on, and in some cases, do it all over again the next day.
I love to read books, and I’m so glad that immediately following the decision my ex-husband and I made to go our separate ways, I came across The Good Karma Divorce, written by Judge Michele Lowrance. She has seen many couples tear each other apart in her courtroom, hurling insults and blame back & forth in an attempt to release the unbearable pain they feel inside. (Of course, that never works, and only causes more pain.)
So I decided early on, that the moment I started feeling any anger or resentment I would remind myself of the kind of person I strive to be – compassionate, forgiving, loving, and kind. And in doing so, I am reminded of the reason I chose to get married in the first place – because I once found this person worthy of being a part of my family. He was the person I chose to put all my trust in. For a short while, he was my best friend.
Just like we collect pictures, birthday cards, and travel souvenirs, we also collect memories from past relationships. And I choose to collect the ones that make me smile. The ones that remind me of the wonderful human beings we both were when we were in love.
So I may or may not be OK at this very moment, but I will be OK in due time. Just bear with me for a while.
Yes, I named my bike. Her name is Blair. And today we’re heading out for a ride…
It’s easy to get down about yourself when you don’t have a job, and you’re having no luck finding one. But I think gratitude can change everything. So I practice it every day to remind myself that not everything is so bad. I started keeping a notebook by my bed, and I fill an entire page with all the things I’m thankful for before I go to sleep.
It’s interesting to see what’s at the top of my list these days. So many intangibles I used to take for granted before. Like being able to smell the sweet aroma of incense burning in the living room. The sound of Norah Jones playing softly in the background. Being able to read the wise words left behind by Maya Angelou. Cooling down with a cold glass of water after a long run. My health and well-being.
It’s not that I didn’t appreciate these things before. The difference is that my senses have been elevated to a new level in this situation that has made me realize nothing is guaranteed. After all, when you have so much at your disposal, it’s easy to miss the small things – in some cases the most important things. But life always has a way of getting you to refocus, and puts it all in perspective for you. For me, it only took divorce and unemployment.
I don’t know what’s ahead, but for the first time in a long time, I’m not all that scared. My fear and anxiety about the future has decreased significantly. And I know it has everything to do with that fact that I’m focusing on gratitude. Because when you pause to say thank you for each and every single blessing that comes your way, it keeps you pretty busy, and you don’t have time for much else.
I wish you many blessings!