Tag Archives: starting over

Snowy Day Musings

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blog pic snow day

Isn’t this a perfect day to have a cup of tea and curl up on the sofa with a book?  I think so. In the picture is the last blanket that my mother crocheted for me and I treasure it.  Anyway, it’s great to wrap up in it on the couch and read.  So I took a break from my lounging and Facebook viewing, and Pinterest, to do some writing.

I recently got some news about the ex-husband, good news for him of course, but sad and somewhat depressing for me. I’m not going in to any details but I will say that once again I have to bounce back, “get over it”, and move forward.  So how do I do this?

First, I always give myself permission to cry, get angry, or whatever emotion is welling up inside. I’ve found that holding it back causes my heart to swell, my head to hurt from holding back tears, and there is a hollow feeling in my belly.  Not good.  So I go with it.  And get it all out so I can move past it.  Of course, not indefinitely, but long enough that the pain begins to fade.  I give myself permission to mourn.  And then I work at putting it out of my mind.

Of course this isn’t easy but I take it one day at a time, and usually am able to diminish the effect over time. You see, my head knows that I’m better and happier now; it’s just my foolish heart that still dreams about old love.  (Because we did have many good times.)

Anyway, forward I go. Another strategy that I’ve added is to be grateful every day, to stay positive, to laugh, and to stay busy.  All of this helps.  Time spent alone and brooding is not the way to get back to the “happy place” in my head.

I also have done some reading such as “The Law of Attraction”, “The Secret”, among others, and I try to be mindful of what I’m attracting to myself with my thoughts. Even if you don’t believe in this theory, I figure it can’t hurt.

The last and best thing that helps is talking to my son and playing with my grandson, who is very demanding about MeMa’s story telling. It’s hard to stay sad while he and I are hanging out in the bathroom while he sits on the toilet and I have to tell the story about the hippos lining up to go potty in the jungle, where there is only one toilet….don’t ask for more details, please! He loves for me to make up stories and sometimes the well is pretty dry!  This little boy keeps me happy.  He loves to come in my room and climb on my bed, will still occasionally fall asleep in my arms, and tells me regularly “that’s not fair MeMa!”, something I have thought many times about the ex’s latest escapade as well as some others.

Anyway, the pendulum is swinging back up; I’m getting over it, and life will be fine again soon.

So now, back to my snow watching, as it hasn’t stopped yet, Facebook and Pinterest, and reading my book.  Hope your day is as good as mine!

Things Are Looking Up!

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Things Are Looking Up!

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything so I thought I would post an update so you can see how things have been going for me. Pour your tea and get comfortable cause I think this may be a long one!

First, I’ve left my 12 hour work days behind. In October, I made a job change that had been in the works for a while and though I still have a somewhat long commute, I’m home by 6:30 and have time to actually do something besides work.  The surprising thing about the change was how sad I was to leave the other job and the friends I had made there.  My co-workers, Lynn, Victor, Brandy, Jamie, Denieka, and my replacement Barbara are what made the long days and commute bearable.  And what I realized is that they were really going to miss me too, the “me” I became after the divorce.  I never knew how much I had changed during the marriage, and how consumed I was trying to do everything right, for the wrong man-it changed me a lot.  So I became my true self again and people like that person better!  Very eye opening.  So it was with tears and sadness that I left but I’ll be seeing them all again on December  12th and am totally looking forward to it.  I still miss them. (Update:  We got together and had a great time.  It was wonderful to see everyone.)

About two months ago, my dear friend Victor brought me a wonderful gift-from Peru, his family home. He had sent money to his mother, a jewelry maker also, and asked her to pick out some beads for me at the market and a few weeks ago, the beads arrived via a family member who traveled to the United States, and Victor presented them to me.  So he has revived my interest in making jewelry only this time I will be making prayer beads and Yoga beads, starting over with a new business name.  Of course, I’ll post news about it when it’s ready!  I’m doing research because every religion has different representations and I want to be sure to incorporate these into the beads.

I received some good news! My one year follow up to the biopsy was negative!  I’m so grateful.  It was a terrible scare last year and so many women go through it, and men, and I’m just so glad that it all was clear.  So please ladies, get those mammograms done regularly.  And men should be checked also.  You may not know that men can get breast cancer but they can.

I’ve joined the local gym recently and will be using the pool and work-out room as often as I can get my lazy self over there. I plan on lifting weights, swimming, walking on the treadmill, and cycling.  I recently created a pin on Pinterest called Beautiful Aging and it’s amazing to see how many women age 60 and above look fantastic and healthy.  I’ve been eating very low carb for a while and have lost about 25 pounds, from a tight size 18 to borderline 14, which is a good size for me, not thin but not fat.  That way I can eat pizza or a cheesesteak once in a while!  Anyway, can you say STRONG, HEALTHY WOMAN?!

Another project I’m involved in is going to be called “Shelley’s Closet”, a Facebook store that will feature new and used clothing for women and men, kid stuff, books, and household items. It will mostly be local pickup and delivery (of course at a safe location) with maybe some shipping.  We’ll see.  Anyway, my girlfriend Kathy and I love to go to yard sales and thrift shops, hunting for those hidden treasures, and it’s amazing what people donate and sell.  There are tons of FB groups for selling items so I’m taking my chance at doing this too.  My ultimate goal of course is to create several sources of income, doing things that I like, and ease into working part time, and then retirement.  Well, maybe retirement.  I really can’t see not having a job or something to do every day and I like to be busy, plus having the interaction with different people is a plus, but I think I would just like it to be a bit more casual than now.

Before I go I have to tell you about online dating. I actually dislike it but where I live, there isn’t any place to go to meet anyone, really, and I decided to give it a try.  I’m on two sites and had to create a profile and then post pictures, and then get up the nerve to actually write to someone.  After being married for 30+ years, it was very hard for me to make the transition to seeing myself as single.  I felt like I was “cheating” for the longest time and had trouble even talking to anyone.  Very shy.  Horrors! It was like being a teenager again!  But I stuck with it and have been dating a bit.  In fact, I met a guy right away, first day online, and we went out several times and had a good time but didn’t “click” so eventually just sort of drifted into neverland.  There are a lot of fake profiles on the sites and if you’re paying attention, you can recognize them because they all sort of are the same, so I never give out my phone number or email until I’m sure I’m talking to a real person.  And even then, I’m kind of slow to give it out.  I have met some nice men but part of me wonders if I’ll ever meet someone special because none of them were “the one”!  I did meet two guys who had good possibilities but one bailed when he really understood about the cane and my physical limitations and the other lived pretty far and decided to look for someone closer. It’s funny too that the best looking guys, and the most interesting profiles, are too far away to be practical to meet.  Figures.  And a lot of guys in their 60’s are looking for younger women and 66 is way too old for them.  I think they don’t know what they’re missing but it’s their loss.  I’m happy being single and not sure it will be something I need to change.  We’ll see.

Before I close, I would like to say that starting over late in life isn’t easy. If any of you are faced with this, you’ll get through it as I did, and still am.  I started the blog, in part, to share what I’ve learned about this process and if my experiences have helped anyone at all, I’m happy.  I thought I would never get over my husband choosing to leave, but I did.  I see him occasionally and I always make sure I strut my stuff when he’s around so he can see what he’s missing but seriously, I have come a very long way and have survived.  You will too.  The important thing to remember is to love yourself, do what makes you feel good, and take care of yourself.  Surround yourself with support people, and again I have to thank my son for being there for me, laugh with your grandchildren, stay busy, make changes when you’re ready, and stay positive.

So friends, it was good to talk to you again. I’m filled with gratitude that you’re in my life.  The teapot is empty now so until next time, have a wonderful, family-and-friend-filled Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, yes I said it!, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year.  It’s going to be a great year, 2016!!

Love, Shelley

 

Catching you Up!

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A lot has gone on since my last posting so I’m going to make some tea and then briefly tell you about it.

Ready?…….OK.

First would be work.  I have three jobs necessitated by the full time one paying so little.  The good news, I guess, is that I work four 10-hour days, leaving me time to work somewhere else in the off time.  I have four more years before I can collect my maximum Social Security so I’m using the time to get out of debt, put money aside, and mostly keep up with my living expenses.  Thus, one full time and two part time jobs.  It tends to suck the life out of me, working like this, and I have to add two hours of travel daily to those 10 hours.  I get home by 9:00 PM and want to do nothing. Just veg.

Summer 2015...Life is Good!

Summer 2015…Life is Good!

My retirement plan definitely did not include divorce but I’ve managed to stay financially afloat, with the help of my son.  We’re getting ready to have a huge yard sale so I can finally get rid of a lot of crap that has been hanging around for many years.  When I’m done, I hope to see only necessities, which will of course include books, craft supplies, and more books!

Next, my husband filed for divorce and I just opened the notice today.  I’ve been carrying it around unopened for about a month; couldn’t open it.  Sad, scared, angry….you name it, I feel it, or felt it.  It came about a month before our 35th anniversary, which just passed. But the good news is that I’m OK, pretty much.  I’ll be honest and tell you that there was a brief pain in my heart.  After all, I’ve known the man since I was 21.  But, time has dulled the ache, the tears are mostly over, and I’m fine without him.  Cheers for me!!  Let the “other woman” deal with his habits now, cause he hasn’t changed and is doing his usual, out running around all the time.  So, I’m free and happy to be!

I’ve also been exploring online dating, not my favorite thing, but when all I do is work, how else would I meet someone?  I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for, meaning do I ever want to marry again?  I guess I’ll see how it goes and who does the asking.  The funny thing is that the guys look so old to me, but who am I kidding?  I’m the same age!!  I’ve met some nice but dull guys, written to a bunch, had a lot of phishing since my age group is targeted as old, desperate, and stupid, (do I want to send them money for whatever scheme they have in mind? HA!) and surprisingly have had a lot of really young guys wanting me to fulfill their sexual fantasies of young guy-older woman.  Dare I say Mrs. Robinson?  But I look at my 65 year old self and say NAH to that.  Really not interested.  I recently had a guy start writing to me and after several weeks of messages that sounded really promising, he decided that I live too far and called it off before we met in person.  This was the first time I saw any possibilities but in typical guy fashion, he would have just disappeared with no notice but I called him on it and at least got a message saying “not going to work”.  But, did I tell you that my sister met a great guy online, after several years of looking, and just set the wedding date!  Happy for her.

The next step will be changing jobs to one that pays better so I can work less, join the local Y and begin working out and swimming, save for a cruise to Italy (God knows when I’ll have saved enough for that!) and move onward and upward.  Since I have to work four more years until I’m 70, I want to get the most out of it.  Starting over has been hard, but not impossible, and I’m proud of myself for staying the course.  I’ve gone through a lot since 2008 and will surely go through more, but I’m up for the challenge.

Until next time!

Shelley

My Son

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My son is an amazing human being.  He has been my rock throughout this whole starting over process and I would give him the credit for helping me get back on track and not fall further into the abyss.

My sweet two year old

My sweet two year old

He was born almost 34 years ago and was a beautiful, loving little boy.  I have always felt blessed that he is my son and we went through very little of those “bad” stages as he grew.  No terrible two’s, no mouthy teen!  Of course, he had his moments but mostly was a joy.  He and I were very close as his dad always worked long hours, leaving the two of us together all of the time.

When he was very young, he developed a passion for sports, starting with a baseball card collection, playing his first basketball at the Y, Little League Baseball, high school basketball and then college basketball.  He was a tall boy, athletic, and natural on the court and field, who dreamed of playing for the NBA.  We tried to keep him grounded in reality, but at the same time, encourage him to follow his dream.  He had many noteworthy moments in sports and his proud mom kept all of the newspaper clippings.  His grandfather was a coach, phys. ed. teacher, and Athletic Director and was thrilled to see the success that my son had, generating a bond between them that was wonderful to see.  His dad and I went to every game and sports became our social life.  It gave us a chance to meet new people, travel, and spend hours together as a family. We had a lot of fun and many wonderful, close moments, and totally enjoyed this time.

Just so you don’t think that my son breezed through life and fulfilled his dream, there’s more you need to know.  When he was about 14, he went through a growth spurt.  During that time, he always carried a heavy backpack full of books, usually on one shoulder as we later found out.  And over time, his body shifted and he developed scoliosis which necessitated his wearing a brace for 23 hours a day.  It was under his clothes but you could tell that he was wearing it, a devastating experience for a teen.  It straightened him from armpit to butt, made of stiff, heavy plastic, with indentations in the areas that had to push his body back in alignment.   I used to cry at his distress but he faithfully wore that thing for a very long time.  He still has it, a symbol of winning over adversity, and he managed to straighten out his back without surgery.  I have to also give credit to his school mates because no one picked on him and his teammates were supportive, which I’m sure helped him comply.

Teen

Teen

Fast forward to college and at the end of the school year, he was involved in a situation  which was life-threatening, traumatic, and life changing.  We had to make him come home and deal with post traumatic stress disorder and he lost his chance to start as Point Guard in his last year of junior college.  He would most likely have gotten a Division 1 scholarship to finish his BA, as this school produced a team that all went D-1, but his mental health had to be a priority.  The result was that he met a wonderful therapist but lost the chance at his dream.  There just wasn’t time and resources at the local college and while he continued to play, it did not give him the same opportunities.

So, basketball, playing overseas, his dream-gone.  I worried about him all the time because he just couldn’t find another dream to replace that one.  He worked, went to class, met a girl, but what would come next?  What did he want to do with his life?

B & Sabrina

B & Sabrina

I’m happy to say that my son has finally “found his future”, which coincidentally is the name of the book that he wrote and is getting ready to self publish.  He has come to believe that the things he went through directed him down this new path to become the man he was meant to be.  He is passionate about life, about helping people, and works in two non-profits while working to create his own programs and ideas.  He is positive and believes in the law of attraction, attracting good things to himself.  He is a wonderful father to my beautiful  grandson and mate to my daughter-in-law.  And he is a son who has worked hard to understand his father’s issues and still maintain a relationship with him and who saved his mother from a depression that had me sitting in a chair, not eating, not working, not doing anything for three months.  He wouldn’t let me keep crying and mourning.  He made me get out of that chair and start to live again.  And he moved in with me to help me save my home and keep a roof over my head.  He’s the reason I  started this blog and the reason that I have happiness back in my life.

I love you, Baby Boy!

My son and grandson

My son and grandson

Goodbye to My Husband

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While sitting here thinking, reminiscing about the past, the thought comes into my head that I need to say goodbye to my husband. We have been living apart for a year now, though separated for several years before that, me not moving out because of expense and him not moving, I guess, because he wanted me to. But anyway, we stayed in the home and he did what he wanted while I tried to show him that we were worth a second chance while also trying to find a job and accumulate as much money as I could. Our history goes back 40 years; who would have thought we would end up apart? So here’s the story.

I first met him at about age 21 while at my girlfriend’s house. Her husband brought him home for dinner and I happened to be there. It was “something” at first sight, not sure what, but he had just broken up with someone and had a baby so I wouldn’t get involved even though he chased the hell out of me until we finally went our separate ways. Several years later, about age 28, that same husband of the same girlfriend ran into him and brought him home to surprise me. It was a shock but it also was immediately like cupid’s arrow had hit me in the heart. All of the old feelings rushed back; he was alone and I was alone and within a few days, he proposed and moved into my apartment.

The first year was wonderful. We set the date for our wedding and spent every hour together that we could. He had a business and a lot of my off-work time was spent there, bringing hot meals and hanging out, keeping him company after hours. It was wonderful. And then I got pregnant. Unexpected, unplanned, but we were happy about it and moved up our wedding date. However, little cracks began to form between us. I worked full time in retail, on my feet all day, tired all the time, a little crabby, things not quite right between us, but still good. We thought it was the stress, the baby, the wedding, too much work, etc.

So, we married one weekend and then went right back to work, no honeymoon, saving money for baby, who was born right before Christmas. A beautiful, healthy baby boy. My husband was so proud. He had a son. But he was also a truck driver. So the first year of marriage, the first year of parenthood, he was away a lot, and I was too nervous as a new mother to go in the truck with him and we started to grow apart. And little by little, we grew further apart. I developed horrible PMS, he was diagnosed with PTSD (Viet Nam Veteran and a Marine) and chasms began opening up. A lot of detail isn’t necessary here but suffice it to say, we argued a lot. Being a Marine was a part of who my husband was, and is, and I didn’t have a clue what that meant so that made the struggles even harder. There is a lot of personal information that I will not write about but history plays a huge role here and understanding came too late.

So, I met him when I was about 21 and now I’m 64. I often think that getting together the first time we met would have given us more time to become better friends, to grow together, to learn each other, and to have a better chance of making it, but it wasn’t to be. And a few years ago, he told me that he didn’t want to be married anymore, he still loves me, but he isn’t good at relationships, etc., etc. And, of course there was another woman encouraging him to do what will make him happy, why stay when he isn’t happy, etc., etc. You know. So a little over a year ago, he moved out while I was in the hospital and here we are. Since my son and his family live with me, I see my husband regularly and it has taken me a long time to be able to deal with that. But guess what?

I now realize that I am better off without him, should have left one of the many times I thought about it, and am finally much happier than I was for a long time. It was very wearing to always be trying to prove I was a good wife, to always be putting him first, to always champion his causes, to try to understand what was going on, and to deal with a marriage that was not how I wanted it but feeling powerless to change it. I feel free; I feel happy. And when I see him now, I still think he looks good but I’ve worked very hard to not care and to not long for him. I even got a tattoo to symbolize my broken heart, thinking that the pain of the needle would somehow lessen my heart pain, but of course, it didn’t. Sure, I still have sad moments, like today which is why I’m writing this, but also I can be happy without him. Now he is the other woman’s problem and just maybe she is a better fit for him. He wore me out and I’m glad to be done.

My spirit is lighter and I have come to realize just how much that marriage dragged me down and influenced choices I made. It feels good to do what I want, when I want, and not be responsible for taking care of someone else. Would I like another relationship? Maybe. But it would have to be really special before I would invite that person all the way into my life again. For now, sleeping alone in my own bed is fine, with just Rocky for company and my little family in the other rooms.

Yup, I’m happy. Hard earned but true. Goodbye Bill.

Lessons Learned

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I just poured a cup of tea and I’m ready to talk about things that I’ve learned in life.  Are you ready?

As I struggle to put my life back together after the recent separation, surgery, and job loss, I think back to my life as a girl reaching womanhood in the 60’s and realize how unprepared for anything that I was.

I grew up in a small town in north Jersey and had two loving parents and a good life.  We were financially comfortable and I never lacked for anything, though if you are my age you know that our needs were much simpler and less expensive back then.  I had a typical childhood with plenty of outdoor play, minimal television, and a set of rules that I followed without too much question.  I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher and being one of the oldest girls in our neighborhood play, took the role of teacher, mother, leader, etc. in our games.  I was also the first-born in our family and the “responsible” one.  I knew I would go to college and become a teacher and time spent in high school was geared towards achieving that and getting accepted by my choice school, which I did, in NJ and Texas.  I was not a risk-taking child plus NJ was cheaper so Texas was out and Glassboro (Rowan) State College was my choice, far enough from home to be “on my own” but close enough to visit monthly.  College life was very different then, with dorm curfew, single-sex dorms, no males allowed in rooms upstairs, and no cars for freshmen.

Are you starting to see a pattern here>  Sheltered upbringing to sheltered college life.  Still, I tried to explore and learn new things and managed to do much more in college then my parents were aware of.  But much of it was done on foot and with little money.  During the summers, I worked and deposited the money for the school year spending-money, receiving $5 a week for my pocket and $5 a week for food.  All my expenses were paid by my parents and I got new clothes at the start of the school year, so what did I need money for?  Right?  And for us, spring break simply meant that you went home for  a week.

During those years, my goal was to become a teacher but my “REAL” goal was to be married.  And if I keep it real, I’m not sure the goal was even to be a wife, just to be married. 

So here is where I can tell you about my lessons learned.  In looking back, I remember that I started having boyfriends at a young age, before 7th grade, and of course, back then that was all very innocent.  But I was always “attached” to a boy, receiving friendship rings, high school rings, or some token of belonging.  I never explored who was Shelley Williams, just Shelley, not Shelley and _______!  I went to college expecting to meet my future husband, marry,  teach for a few years, and then stay home with the kids.  And that was the extent of my plan.  Wow!.   Incidentally, I dated my high school sweet heart for 4 years and thought he would be the husband, whatever that meant at that time!

So, first lesson learned was that I put all of my eggs in that “married” basket and didn’t ‘t explore life.  I should have fought for the chance to go to college in Texas and explored more of life rather than the likely husband candidates in NJ.  I should have used my college years to find out more about me and what I wanted instead of just going along with the “plan”.  And because no one ever said to me “what will you do if you don’t get a teaching job?”, I had no fall-back plan.

Now, to be fair to myself, I was able to switch gears and form a plan and actually have successfully reinvented myself quite a few times, but I think I just settled.  I followed a man to south Jersey, to the poorest county in the state, and stayed here because of another man, the one I married 30 years ago and am now  recently separated from.  We actually escaped to Baltimore County for a year and a half but came back because he wasn’t happy in that north Jersey-like environment.  I was!  And, I dropped out of  nursing school to go with him and gave up an offer of a full time Parochial School teaching job to come back.  And did it willingly.  Do you see where I’m going with all of this?

Again, to be fair to myself, I have learned in my jobs that I have strong leadership qualities, rising to positions of authority in just about every one but how much more could I have achieved elsewhere?  Where there is more opportunity for growth and culture, less fast food and retail jobs, room to spread wings! (By the way, I’m not knocking South Jersey, but Cumberland County IS the poorest county in the state.)

So, now I’m about to turn 65, am starting over, have little money, and have a messed up body.  What have I learned?  Follow a dream for yourself.  Don’t always put someone else first.  Believe in yourself.  Think towards your own future and be in control of it.  Don’t depend on someone else for your happiness or to take care of your life but rather work alongside of them while taking care of your own.  Have a dream and make it happen.  So many things I’ve learned.  Too late?  Nope!!  I’ve also learned that I am a strong woman and I’m not about to give up now. 

Some More About Me…..

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First, pour your cup of tea and get comfortable.  And here goes:

I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and have reached the age of 64.  I’m totally surprised to be this age and actually am doing more now than I did in my 30’s and 40’s.  Not physically more, but mentally and more diversely more.

I have many things that I like to do and different career paths that I’ve followed but my primary career path was to work with children.  When my son was a toddler, I began babysitting other toddlers and you haven’t lived until you potty trained 5 kids at once!  I moved into teaching preschool and eventually ended up working for HeadStart as an Education Manager and later as Assistant Director.  I thought I would stay there until I retired but after many years, they did some restructuring and eliminated positions,  mine included.  About this time, I started to see some changes in my health and seemingly overnight, developed arthritis in all of my joints, which led to hip replacement of my right hip, then three years later, re-replacement of the same hip, and then three weeks later that same hip dislocated!  Crazy, right?

During this time, I came to realize that my professional life would have to change.  I wasn’t sleeping well, had lots of body discomfort (pain), did not feel “sharp” anymore, and was feeling mentally distracted because of my physical issues.  So I decided to look at working part time and not being the one “in charge”, and this worked better for me.  I began writing for Examiner.com, created a  chair exercise program for Seniors, took a job as a telephone receptionist for public schools, work as a Behavior Assistant, and started a tutoring business.  This sounds like a lot but it doesn’t add up to the hours I put in before, gives me a lot of flexibility, and also is work I can do primarily from  a chair. And, age isn’t an issue.  There are a few other things I’m trying to put together and if that happens, I’ll let you know.

Now also during all of this health mess, my husband of 30 years decides that he doesn’t want to be married anymore and moved out during my second time in the hospital, leaving me with a mess to deal with.  But, more about that later.

You’re probably wondering what’s the purpose of this blog.  I’m writing it in hopes that other women can learn from my mistakes, my journey, and my successes.  It’s been a hard road but I’m getting there.  And, I have discovered that I really like to write!  I also have discovered that I like the new “me” better than I did the  married “me” and I want to celebrate that.

Until our next cup of tea……Shelley