Pondering life

Admittedly I still have a few of the jackass’ friends on my Facebook account. Not many, only a few. Lucky for me there is never anything about the jackass on their newsfeed so I’m okay there. But. I do get news of their lives. Today I learnt that one of them is newly pregnant. Fantastic news of course, but I can’t help but think that that was almost me. This particular friend got married three months before we did. I’m pretty sure had the jackass and I remained in our marriage, we’d be pregnant by now too. I’m not sad, I’m just a little melancholy about it all. It’s funny where life takes us.

Instead of nappies or strollers or breast feeding on my mind, I have other things occupying me like planning my next travel adventure. Travel is always on my mind. Lately I’ve been pondering on how I’ll fit in more of the world in my life. It’s absolutely magic that I get the opportunity to travel to different places over weeks at a time. But I’m trying to think outside the box. I’m yearning something a little more than just saying hello to a city for a few days. I’m yearning something more. At this stage, I’m seriously considering a career break, I don’t know, somewhere along the six to twelve month timeframe. I just want to see the world. Immerse myself in a different life. Live outside my comfort zone. Challenge my heart, challenge my being. What better way to do that than to explore beautiful places, learning a new language and living in a different world to what I’ve always known. I’m yearning for more growth, more knowledge, more perspective, more life lessons… I know they’re bountiful, endless and just waiting for me. It’s up to me to go in search for them.

These are just thoughts. For now. We’ll see where I can take them. More pondering to follow. Life is good. I’m happy. I’m well. I hope you are too. Have a wonderful week, friends.

A little conversation

Just the other day, I sat on my sister’s couch with my 7-year old nephew and 4-year old niece by my side. I was wearing a heart-shaped ring and it caught my nephew’s eye. As he took the ring off my finger, this conversation followed:

Nephew: Is this your wedding ring?
Me: No, it isn’t. It’s just my ring.
Nephew: Why don’t you have a wedding ring anymore?
Me: I guess because I’m not married anymore.
Niece: You don’t have a husband?
Me: No, I don’t.
Nephew: Why don’t you have a husband?
Me: I don’t need a husband.
Niece: Why don’t you need a husband?
Me: Well, because all I need is myself… And YOU!

And that was that. Mind you, these are kids who up until 18 months ago, knew the jackass as their uncle. He was all they ever knew as the jackass had been in their lives the moment they were born. For a few months after our separation they asked about the jackass. But then the questions stopped and very, very rarely these days do they ask me about being married. They’re kids being kids – curious and always wondering. After all, they were so much a part of our wedding day. I just wanted them to know that sometimes things happen and they don’t always turn out the way you’d imagine them to be, and that’s okay. That’s life. I want them to know that their happiness is not dependent on someone else. That if they’re happy with themselves, then that’s good enough.

It’s complicated

It’s amazing how much can happen in a matter of a few weeks. I feel like I’m going through a mini-emotional tornado right now. My head is spinning, my heart is slightly aching for the first time in a long time in a very different way. There is a man in my life. But of course, as love always is, or as it always seems to be anyway, it’s complicated. In time, I’ll share more. But for now, I need to somehow figure out where I stand in all of this and what I’m going to do about it. Hope you’re all having a good week so far. Mine is, well, a little crazy.

Snapping out of it

I had a little revelation today. My best friend is going through a tough time. Being a new mother is hard. Being a parent is hard. I don’t need to have borne a child myself to know that. My amazing friend is going through some major post-natal depression right now and I’m doing all I can to give her the support that she needs and to just be there for her. I feel such an intense need to be there for her out of love and loyalty – but it’s hard. I feel extremely helpless. And there are times when I feel like I’m the worst advice-giver in the world. I hardly ever know the right thing to say.

The thing is, she’s in this temporary state of depression and she readily admits that she is irrational and that she needs to get out of this funk. She just doesn’t know how to and then it all tends to spiral downwards. I won’t begin to compare my divorce to this journey she’s experiencing because we are both in completely different situations. But I do know what it’s like to be in a funk so deep that it just seems impossible to climb out of. That was the case for me at the start of it all.

At the start, I would find myself falling into dark emotional abysses constantly. I’d have no idea how to pull myself out of them. How to just ‘snap’ out of it. I knew I had to but it all seemed impossible. There were times I was convinced that I’d be unhappy, depressed and just sad… Forever. But the thing is, I truly believe that the human spirit is a resilient one. We, as human beings, we learn. We adapt. That is, if we let it. If we accept our circumstances for what they are, choose to acknowledge our problems, choose to do something about them, even though there may not be an immediate solution, I think we give ourselves the power to make changes. Positive changes. Time. Sometimes we just need time. To learn and to heal.

Today, I realised that with time, I learnt how to snap out of funks I tend to fall deeply into from time to time. As time goes by, I get a little better at it. I let myself wallow and cry if I need to. I let myself feel sorry for myself, a little, if I need to. I let my heart do whatever it needs to do and I let it feel whatever it needs to feel. And then I start to snap out of it, as quickly as I can. Because I know it’s no place to be. That dark, sad place is no place to be. Time has allowed me to process my thoughts and feelings more quickly whenever I find myself to be in a funk. It has allowed me to learn to be a little quicker in swapping negative and irrational thoughts for logical and rational thoughts instead.

I know it’s tough for my best friend and she’s slowly learning to get herself out of funks. She’s finding it hard to do so but I have no doubt in time, like me, she’ll be thinking rationally and logically again. Life is certainly full of challenges. It’s no bed of roses. I’m just thankful that my own hardships have taught me life lessons that constantly prove invaluable. Sometimes the best lessons are learnt the hard way. And the truth is, I’d rather go through hell and back to learn a great life lesson than not at all.

All is well

Friends, I apologise for my sporadic posts. I still don’t have the internet connected, I’m in limbo – stuck between utter frustration of not having the freedom I used to have with doing things I used to do on the internet like blog, surf for ideas and the less important but still essential things like online shopping and getting used to spending less time on the internet. It’s weird.

Nevertheless I’m here and I’m well. Really well actually. Work is fantastic. I’m in a reasonably new role and I’m making the most of it, learning and developing skills needed to get me where I want to be. I can’t remember if I blogged about this new role I’m in. It’s a six-month secondment within my current team and it’s a huge step for me. It’s been a learning curve but I’m adding things I’m passionate about to my role, like coaching and mentoring, which provides me with great satisfaction as I walk out of the office each day. I’m just grateful for a job I love. Or a job at all, really.

Personally, I’m well too. My emotions are under control and though my divorce still lingers at the forefront of my mind from time to time, I’m okay. I’ve been okay for awhile. I’m still getting the hang of letting go. Forgiveness. That’s a tough one. But I’m learning.

It’s almost the weekend. My weekends have been chilled out and low key – perfect I think. Here’s to another great weekend, making the most of life – living it.

Weddings

I’m still struggling with weddings. I’ll admit it, I strongly dislike going to weddings divorced. Since separating and divorcing, I’ve been to two weddings. The first was sometime last year and I blogged about how that wedding made me feel anger. It brought up anger towards to the jackass that I had obviously been suppressing and compartmentalising.

Last night, almost a year later, I went to another wedding and it just made me feel sad. Plain and simple, sad. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love weddings and love celebrating the love between two people. Last night’s wedding was probably the most beautiful, most heartfelt and most moving wedding I’ve ever been too. The bridegroom had the most amazing speech and though most of my tears throughout and after the speech was a result of his beautiful words for his new wife, I can’t deny that some of those tears were a reflection of the sadness felt in the deepest parts of my heart – didn’t I have that? Why has the reality of my marriage been so far removed from what I’d dreamt for it to be? Why could he not love me the way I thought he could? Was what we had even real? Or was it all an illusion? I just don’t know. I don’t want to believe that the life we built together over a decade simply didn’t mean anything. But I don’t even know that. I don’t know what was real and what wasn’t.

The love I saw last night at the wedding was unconditional, the type of love that could move mountains. It’s hard to snap out of it when I’m being thrusted into the moment, but I just couldn’t help but wonder why. Why wasn’t it to be for me? I want to be loved by a man who has the kindest and most beautiful of hearts. It’s just painful to know that I thought I had that. That’s why I chose him. I thought I had that in a man. I truly believed that he was the one. And it hurts and it kills that it wasn’t what it seemed.

Weddings are still tough, is all.

More pondering

The less busy I am, the more I reflect and the more I think. That can be a good thing but it can also be… well, a little detrimental to the soul. Sounds dramatic, it really isn’t. But, it sure does get those thoughts a-swirling in my head.

You know, initially when the jackass and I separated, though I didn’t want contact with him, I somehow still had that urge to look him up on Twitter or Instagram. I’d go looking at his friends’ Facebook pages. What was I looking for? I don’t know. I guess I didn’t want contact but there was that curious side of me that wanted a glimpse of what the hell he was up to. Eventually that urge to know faded. Pretty quickly.

When 2014 came around, I decided that when my divorce was finalised that any urge I’d have to go searching for a glimpse of him would be shut down instantly and completely. I wasn’t going to tolerate even the mere thought of it. With the divorce finalised, there was absolutely no reason whatsoever to have that little glimpse to satisfy any curiosity I had. Am I still curious? Yeah, sometimes, I’ll admit it. Do I care about what’s happening in his life? Not one bit.

But without even searching for him through social media, I still have my own to worry about – I still have photos of my past life with him on my Instagram feed and sometimes, like tonight, I don’t know why but I choose to take a journey back to that life. A life that once was. I still have trouble looking at those photos without feeling a little sick to the stomach. And those photos, of me and him and the life we built together, sometimes seem like it was all a dream. Did it really happen? Did I really live with him? And we cooked together? We shopped for groceries together? We renovated and poured love into a home together? Sometimes it feels like it all never happened but the photos say otherwise. It’s a strange feeling.

When looking at those photos, I also tend to compare my life then to my life now. What a stark contrast. Back then it was all about us. It was all about planning for the future, worrying about the future. And yes, there is some planning of the future even today, but I am not worried about where this life will take me. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it as long as I continue to feel this way but the greatest gift the end of my marriage gave me was the wake up call I needed to truly be in the moment. To live my life in the moment. How easy it was for me, in the past, to get so caught up with life, to conforming with standards, to planning the future and worrying about things that didn’t matter. And that took away my ability to truly live in the moment. And though I can never say that it caused me to waste time, because I believe that in everything we experience there are great lessons to be taught, it just reminds me that there is no more important lesson than to appreciate all that we have in our lives today and that it is our loyal duty to ourselves to make the most of our lives today.

Deep thoughts, friends. I do apologise. I can’t sleep tonight, so I write. Thanks for reading!

I’m still here!

Did I mention I moved? Yes, I did. And I still haven’t got the internet connected. It’s a long and painful story, so we’ll just leave it at that shall we? That is the main reason why I haven’t posted much at all. I promise I’ll be back with a mother load of updates when my internet is finally connected.

In the mean time, life has been happening. In full swing. I’ve been feeling good. Mostly. My ups and downs have been in control so far this new year, I’m pleased. I did have a few pondering thoughts last night though. Ones that could’ve spiralled into negativity but I didn’t let it. I thought about my ex in-laws. Yeah, weird hey. Or maybe not. I thought about how it’s been over a year since I’ve seen them and yet I remember their faces. Like you always do with family no matter how long you’ve seen each other. Thinking about the jackass’ family does make my heart a little sad – I wonder if they think of me? If they remember the good times? If they remember how much love and respect I had for them? Or have they forgotten it all out of love and support for the jackass? I guess I’ll never know.

I’ll be back with more when I’m connected.

Flashback

So, I’m moving again. In a few days, actually. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere once that moving homes is one of the top five most stressful events of a person’s life. And I don’t doubt that for a minute. Throughout my adult life, I’ve moved twice. And both times were painful. The last probably more so. Going through a separation and moving homes was not fun. And just over a year later, going through a divorce and moving homes is still not fun. I’ve had weeks to get my packing sorted but of course in true procrastinator style, I’ve left it to the very last minute. I’m four days out from moving and I’ve only just started to get a move on. There are boxes everywhere. Crap everywhere. I’m exhausted, I’m emotional. A part of me knows that I’m making this harder than it needs to be – like I could just stop procrastinating and I should just look at the bigger picture and realise just how lucky I am to have a home to move to, a roof over my head. And you know, mostly, I’ve always been a grateful person but sometimes, our weaker side doesn’t let down and it wants to make an appearance, just for awhile, and so here I am amongst boxes feeling sorry for myself, feeling like I can’t truly enjoy all the amazing that should come with new home ownership. I need to snap out of it somehow.

To add to all the emotion, I went through some of my things tonight to add to the ‘get rid of’ pile – I came across my organiser from 2012. As I opened and flipped through it, a polaroid fell onto my lap. It was a polaroid of me in my wedding dress on my wedding night, a smile so wide, I can guarantee I was feeling my highest and happiest in that moment. At the bottom of the polaroid, I wrote “Our wedding night” and a love heart next to it. Wow. Total flashback. What a stab in the heart. I stared at the polaroid for a few minutes thinking about the girl standing in the picture – how hopeful and in love I was then, believing in fairytales, believing in forevers, believing in till death to us part. For the first time in a long time, I questioned myself again, was I blind? Did I not see it? Did I miss something? Did I miss the signs? How could I have gotten it so wrong? It didn’t take long for the truth to come back – I didn’t miss anything. There were no real signs. There was nothing I could’ve done that would’ve changed the situation.

When I’m taken back to moments like tonight where I find myself thrown into the past ever so unexpectedly, I tend to tell myself that that was then. And this is now. That was my life then and it would’ve been a great life had everything panned out like how I dreamt it would. But this is my life now and it’s pretty damn great. My heart tells me that there are no regrets. There is no room for regrets in my life. So the only way to move forward when I’m right in the middle of a flashback is to accept that my past was great at the time, but I am here today and I should live it and appreciate this unique opportunity I’ve been given and that is, a second chance at life. A second chance in creating new chapters of my story, just the way I want it to be.

The year that was 2013

I know, it’s a little ridiculous that I am only now blogging about what 2013 meant to me.  One month into the new year and here it is. To tell you the truth, it was a difficult one for me to write. I didn’t think it would be, but it was, and that’s why it took awhile. Two thousand and thirteen was an enormous year for me in every way, so trying to fit a year of reflection into one post was not an easy task. Nevertheless, here it is! And I’m going to pre-warn you that it is a long one!

Wow 2013! You were everything I thought you’d be and more. The positives, the negatives, the ups, the downs – I anticipated you were going to be one hell of a roller coaster ride and you delivered on it and I don’t regret any of it. Last year was a year of major life lessons and self-reflection. It has been my biggest year yet – from my personal life to my career. Every facet of my life saw big changes and taught me valuable lessons. It was also most certainly a huge year of self-discovery and personal growth.

I found myself to be in survival mode for much of the first half of 2013. Still reeling from the aftershock of my separation, I was just hoping and praying that I’d survive each day – that I’d wake up, that I’d get through the day without crying, that I’d get through the day without the desperate feeling of just wanting to sleep forever, that I’d get through the day without feeling the weight of the world on my heart and shoulders. Those first few months was almost all about focusing on getting through basic life like making sure I was getting proper food into my body, getting fresh air, getting some sort of sleep, making it to work so that I’d still have a job. It was tough. The lows were low. But there were some highs too. In April, I spent a week in Hong Kong with a handful of girlfriends – it was the most fun I’d had in six months. It was also a giant leap for me, with that trip being the first time in ten years that I’d traveled without the jackass. I was doing it purely for myself – I felt extremely liberated. Free. When I returned from Hong Kong, I remember dipping into a low fairly quickly. The six month mark of my separation was a doozy. I remember attempting to go for a run but I just couldn’t do it. Instead, I sat by the foreshore in my running attire, staring out at sea as I texted my best friend saying, “It’s been six months and it’s still so hard. When will it get easier?”. In that moment, my heart felt like it was bleeding. Still bleeding from all the hurt. I was still very lost, still very confused.

The first half of 2013 saw me make some of the greatest progress in my career. The breakdown of my marriage kickstarted my instinct to survive and part of that instinct was to throw myself completely into my career. By that point, I’d been in my job for almost two years and it was a job I loved. A job I still love today. And I work with some amazing people as I’ve mentioned many times on here. Shortly after my separation, in January, a fantastic job opportunity presented itself within my team, a position that I had my eye on for some time. I went through three rounds of interviews but unfortunately missed out on the opportunity. Initially, being unsuccessful at attaining the position got me down and left me feeling extremely disheartened and discouraged. But as soon as I processed it all, accepted the situation for what it was, I took a step back and it gave me the perspective I needed. The experience I encountered through those several rounds of interviews as well as the lessons it all taught me over those few weeks, only proved to me just how determined I am and how it didn’t matter whether I got the job or not – it was the fact that I gave it my all, I fought for it and I did my best, that mattered. I could have easily passed up on the opportunity of fighting for it with the simple reason that I just wasn’t ready to go through the stress of interviews given the circumstances I was in with my marriage. But no, I didn’t let my separation hold me back, I didn’t let it dictate my career path, I didn’t let it stand in my way.

The second half of 2013 saw peace enter into my life a lot more. The bad days seemed less frequent. And there were many, many beautiful moments. There was less mourning. There was less crying. There was less anger. That’s not to say that those emotions no longer appeared. They definitely did make an appearance every now and then. But it was just less frequent. There was a lot more acceptance. The clincher for the second half of 2013, and in actual fact for the entire year, would have to be my travels around Italy and France throughout August and September. They were life-changing for me. Those five weeks taught me more life-lessons than I ever learnt in my 32 years of life. Traveling solo for the first time in foreign, non-English speaking countries, pushed me outside of my comfort zone every single day of the five weeks I spent traveling. Some of the most challenging parts of my travels were eating alone and being alone for long periods of time. I have to say that the eating alone part was difficult at the beginning but as the weeks went by, I think I mastered it. The long periods of solitude were tough. Not because I didn’t like being alone – I would never have decided to travel alone otherwise. I love my own company. But being so very far away from the familiarity of home, friends and family was tough. Being alone made it tougher. But I got through it and I learnt to love it. I wouldn’t change any of it and I’d do it again, for sure.

My ten days in Paris saw me experience some of the most inspiring moments of my life. Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the very first time was a major life moment for me. I saw it on my very first day in Paris and I am pretty sure it solidified and validated every ounce of love I already had for the city that I’d only just met. I didn’t realise it then, but the Eiffel Tower is probably the greatest and most fitting representation of everything that I have endured and overcome since the end of my marriage. Being in Paris was a dream fulfilled – I had never felt more alive, more in the moment, more empowered and inspired than I did the moment my eyes rested on the Eiffel Tower. I looked at her and said to myself, “I did it. I’m here. I can do anything”. It was a powerful moment and may very well be the most powerful moment I’ll ever have. And as if Paris couldn’t get any more inspiring, it did. I had booked myself to go on a photography tour of Paris and it was something I’d been looking forward to for months. When it came time for it, I pleasantly learnt that I was the only one who signed up for it. So there I was in the middle of Paris, on a one-on-one photography tour with an amazing photographer. She was an Irish photographer living in Paris and as we walked the streets of Paris that day, not only did I learn some excellent photography skills, she managed to light the photography spark in me. As we took a break from taking photos and sat in an empty Parisian cafe sipping on hot chocolates, she told me her story – three years prior, she made the decision to quit her day job working with horses to move to Paris to start a course in photography. She had no prior photography experience – the closest she’d ever come to photography was Instagram. She didn’t even own a DSLR. She packed up her Irish life, moved to Paris, completed the year long course and ended up graduating top of her class. A class that started with students very much like herself with the difference being that they had some photography experience. So, the fact that she was top of her class without any experience, made me pretty much fall in love with her. In a non-creepy, non-sexual way. Just to be clear. It was two years ago that she finished the course, and at the time we sat in that Paris cafe, she’d already been doing wedding photography for two years. I left her that Paris evening feeling so inspired to do something with photography myself. She showed me the true meaning of courage, persistence, determination and ambition. She showed me what it meant to follow your dream. To actually do it. To make it happen. There is honestly no greater way to get inspired than to be face-to-face with someone who has genuinely pursued their passion and their dream. I left Paris with a whole new perspective on following dreams and with a greater desire to cultivate my love for photography.

So, what else did 2013 leave me with? It proved to me that I am a survivor first and foremost. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this strong and confident within myself. To know that I could be thrown a curveball the magnitude of what was the end of my marriage and to survive such heartbreak and come out the other side stronger than ever – that is only a testament to the human spirit. To my spirit. And my spirit may have been broken temporarily but nothing could keep it down for long. I spent so much of 2013 finding myself. I worked hard at healing my heart as best as I could, I did my best to listen to what it was telling me. I re-evaluated many areas of my life, I worked on parts of myself that needed work on, I worked on being in control of my hurt and anger. I slowly discovered me again and I slowly learnt to identify myself as myself. Something that doesn’t necessarily come so naturally having been in a long-term relationship. I practised consistent self-love and focused a lot on what I wanted and what I needed. And though I found myself to be extremely protective of my heart and emotions, rightfully so, I also worked hard at learning to let go. Letting go of fear, of hurt, of my past was probably one of the most difficult things I did in 2013. It’s still something I’m working on even today, but as 2013 came to an end, I found myself letting go a lot more. The subject of letting go deserves a separate post on its own, no doubt. The year also taught me lessons in the choices we have when we has human beings are presented with a situation. In my case, I had the choice of going down the dark, destructive path of partying, alcohol, drugs and general misbehaviour – which probably would’ve been warranted to a degree. But I also had the choice of going down the path of light and love, of positivity, healing and moving forward. Which is exactly the path I chose. I acknowledged and accepted the fact that my marriage was no longer to be, and that the only way to go was upwards and onwards – there was much to be gained by moving forward. I had the choice of playing the victim or playing the heroin. I chose the latter. I wanted my story to be that of strength, dignity, self-respect and self-worth. I wanted my story to be that of grace and gratitude. Gratitude. If I had to sum up 2013 with one word, it would be gratitude. The end of my marriage gave me the gift of perspective. And with perspective comes gratitude. Gratitude in turn gave me the gift of being present. Present in my everyday life more than I’ve ever been in the past. Gratitude taught me to be in the moment and to truly appreciate all that I have in my life despite the challenges I face.

Despite the roller coaster ride that was 2013, it was a great year for me. There’s no doubting that. I loved every moment of it. Yes, even the downright difficult ones. For they make me who I am today. Those moments form part of my history, part of my story and part of my journey. I’m thankful for all that 2013 taught me and showed me. And I’m ever so grateful that it took care of me.