Wednesday, November 24, 2010

When the going gets tough, the tough get thankful

This time last year I just wanted to find a big hole, crawl in it and emerge sometime after the new year had started. My whole life had been turned upside down and my future was filled with uncertainty and doubts. I'd never lived alone and there I was, in a new apartment and starting down a new life path.

Fast forward a year and a lot has changed. My divorce became final one week ago today. It's a bittersweet event -- something I really had no other choice but to do, but also something I'd never imagined and definitely not where I expected to be as I slid toward my 60th birthday. Yes, gentle and prodigious readers, I will be 60 years old next spring.

I've become very involved in a divorce and grief recovery program called Beginning Experience (or BE), and one thing I am very thankful for is my therapist who was an absolute lifeline for me in the early days of the divorce process. She also referred me to BE, and it's been one of the best things I've done for myself. Through reading, journaling and discussion groups, I've begun the process of working my way through the stages of grief -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

And now I'm in the 6th stage, which is reaching out and helping others. I'm so grateful to the facilitators who've helped me along the way (and I'm by no means finished with the grieving process) and I'm glad I've been able to reach out and help others cope with the death of their marriages and the end of their dreams for the future.

So included in my list of things I'm thankful for are the Playfriends who've stood right beside me and even gave up a Saturday to help me move last fall, my family members who never once faltered in their support, my wonderful therapist who has patiently listened to me rant and rave and who helped me get through the holidays last year instead of crawling in a hole, the new church I began attending last fall when I felt I needed to fill a missing spiritual aspect in my life, the BE gang both in Huntsville and Birmingham and my new BFF who I met through BE. When I had to have surgery on my foot a few months ago, she took me to the outpatient surgery center, brought me home, fed me and stayed the night to make sure I was okay. Oddly enough her daughter and my son were in the same high school graduating class, but until we met during the divorce process, our paths had never crossed.

A very good friend gave me a card recently and on the front it says "Now when people ask you 'What's new?' you have an answer... 'My life!'"

I have a new and hopefully wonderful life aheadd of me now, and every day is another step in the process of learning who I am now. For 37 years I've been someone's wife or someone's mother and grandmother. I'm still Mom and Grammy, but now I get to figure out who I am.

I'll leave you with two sayings I think sum up the past year's journey.

Do you have any favorite sayings or pearls of wisdom that have helped you along life's way?


PM's Mother said...

The Serenity Prayer has seen me through a lot of situations.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In other words -- pick your battles.

Christine said...

I always hang onto the idea of "it is what it is." Glad you are moving into the next stage and giving back. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with joy.

Angel said...

So very well said, PM. We love you and are so proud of all you've done. Remember, your journey never ends...

Two of my favorite sayings:

Never, never, never give up.

There is no shortcut to any place worth going.


Smarty Pants said...

The hardest thing about change for me is letting go of expectations. Thanksgiving and Christmas won't be like they were when I was a kid. I'm not 7, but I have a sister who is. As much as they include me, my mom, stepdad and sister have this little nuclear family that has developed its own traditions and such. By virtue of being grown with my own house and busy schedule, its evolved without me. And that's ok because I'm supposed to be starting my own family and doing the same thing. I'm just procrastinating. Trying to figure out what the holidays mean to me and what I want to do. Its weird to look at past traditions and say "I don't have to eat stuffing on Thanksgiving, because I actually hate it and always had it because so and so liked it. I can have pizza if I want to. Or nothing but turkey and pumpkin pie." It almost seems like a betrayal of the past. But then, after a few years of turkey and pie, its a tradition of its own. I guess that's half the fun.

At this hour of the morning, I fear my quotes are more silly than poignant, but here we go:

Never give up. Never surrender. - Galaxy Quest

Don't dream it. Be it. - Rocky Horror Picture Show

Problem Child said...

Y'all know my mantra:

"Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should." ~Max Erhman's "Desiderata"

In fact, I love that whole poem.

Maven Linda said...

You don't build muscles by lifting air. You're a stronger person now than you were two years ago. Go get 'em.

catslady said...

Those are some great sayings.

Never say never (or it will bite you in the butt).

You can survive anything if you keep your sense of humor.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Roxann Delaney said...

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

I always hated it when someone said it. Trouble is, it's true.

We are women, hear us ROAR!