Monday, 21 October 2013
8 Lessons Learned in a Year (Ok, probably a few years!)
It's been a year today since my divorce came through and my marriage of 20 years legally ended. I decided to reflect a little and see what I have learned during this past year. Here are a few of my thoughts. I have many so will spare you the abstract, random ones which still occasionally make it into my status updates on facebook.
1. Life goes on. Regardless of what life throws at us; heartache, tragedy, challenges, despite it all life truly does go on and for this I am grateful. It is a privilege to be given each new day on which to leave my footprints.
2. Some days are harder than others. There's often no rhyme or reason to it. There are easy days and others that are pretty tough and overwhelming. It's not that I want back what I had, but more a realisation that I am sad about a future that will not be as I had once envisioned it. These kind of days are usually triggered unexpectedly when an old song comes on the radio or I see something that reminds me of a happy time in my life. So, I take these kind of moments or days and then let them go.
3. Single parenting is a huge responsibility. I'm not just talking about the work load which accompanies the upkeep of four children (Which is enormous!) but the deep seated sense of responsibility I feel for their well being and development. The children have had very limited contact with their father during this past year and so the bulk of parenting has fallen on my shoulders. I do take pride in their successes but also feel the weight of their failings and struggles. And let me tell you, there are ongoing challenges which affect my children daily as a result of all that we've been through but together we will get through them; even if we need a lot of support from family, friends, teachers, counsellors and other agencies.
4. Being alone does not mean being lonely. There is a fear when separating from a long term partner that the overwhelming sense of loneliness will be too much to bear. I've found that it's easier to be alone than to be with someone who makes you feel all alone. The sassy chick, Kelly Clarkson, got it right in her lyrics when she said, 'The bed feels warmer now that you're not here.' In my case, this may also have to do with the fact that my little 4 year old still insists on snuggling up to me most mornings. :)
5. Taking time to get acquainted with oneself is valuable. Having been in a relationship for twenty plus years, I found that I'd lost part of my identity. Our lives had become so intertwined that I wasn't sure what my own thoughts, feelings, likes, dislikes and ideas were. I have enjoyed getting to know myself again and am liking the person that I am becoming. (most days) I am also becoming aware of my own short comings and take my own inventory regularly so that I know what I need to work on.
6. Another person is not needed to make one complete. I am finding that with the help of my Higher Power, I can become a complete person, independent of another human being. I am on a personal journey of completing myself and I assume that this will continue for the rest of my life. This doesn't mean that I don't want to find someone special to share my completeness with but how wonderful would it be if two people who are happy in their own completeness come together without the expectation of needing another to 'make up' what they are missing.
7. Making time for laughter is imperative. Being able to find the funny in life truly is a balm that can ease the hardship of life. I am abundantly grateful for the many friends who keep me laughing despite the challenges of the last few years. So too am I thankful to God that whilst He chose not to gift me with navigational skills, He bestowed on me the priceless gift of a sense of humour. Perhaps He knew that without it, I would be truly lost.
8. Life is a delicate balance of holding on and letting go. The tricky part is knowing which things to hold on to and which to relinquish. Hold on to the good and let go of the bad is the simplest way I can put it. Very few things in life are all good or all bad so it is a case of sifting through the memories, extracting the happy ones and sharing them with my children when appropriate. Letting go is a lot easier said than done and I'm finding that unless issues are dealt with, then it is impossible to let them go. Dealing with issues will not be painless but more of a journey that can transport us to a place where we can let go of hurt, disappointment, sadness, anger and guilt. (For more information on Letting Go, read my previous post on this topic.
These are just a few of the important points that I've come to learn and appreciate this past year. In sharing them with you, I hope that those who need it will be encouraged. We are all a lot more alike than we care to admit at times. In our own little bubbles, we can feel isolated and helpless but together we can support each other and be assured that we are not alone in our struggles. Life will continue to happen and we can learn to enjoy its twists and turns side by side.