Tag Archives: divorce

No. I’m Not Over it…But I’m Going Out Anyway

Although the prevailing thought seems to be a long healing process post-breakup, I think something can be said for putting yourself out there as soon as you are finished with your first big cry.

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Here’s the thing, at first I would have been in no shape to date anyone after my ex and I broke up. This is mostly because I was bottling it up so tight to avoid feeling. Sure I put up my old dating profile, but was I dating anyone? No. It wasn’t until I broke through my “feelings barrier” that I could move on. Funny enough it was all started because he left a little drawing of a heart in the cap of a new bottle of coffee creamer. When I opened it, I lost it. The flood gates were opened and I spent days getting it all out.

I also took some time to think about what I could have done differently. I will apply those lessons to the next guy.

Meanwhile, back to dating. I’ve gone out on a couple of dates and it is so striking how different it is when you stop trying to “lock something down” with someone. I know in my heart I am so ready to settle down and build a future with a special man. However, I have to chill when I’m on the dates. I get to know who they are and we have fun no matter what. Meanwhile, I can evaluate in the background whether they would suit me as a life partner. If they’re not a fit, nothing was lost and I got to meet someone new.

I am amused with all the different types of guys out there though. For example, last night I went out with someone who I deeply enjoyed conversing with. He was well read, intelligent, funny, curious about me. He really showed some good character traits, like noticing when a disabled woman was trying to exit the building. He jumped right up and asked her if she needed help. It was just as though I could be in my “natural state” with him. I even found myself taking off my shoes and curling up in the chair at the Starbucks after dinner.

Today I enjoyed an afternoon date with someone who piqued my adventurous side by inviting me to an Indiana Jones exhibit (one of my childhood role models who inspried my travel lust). It was really cool to see fact v fiction. This guy was also funny and creative. However, he kept looking at his cellphone during the exhibit, thought that a paragraph description of a display was soooo much to read that it would put him to sleep, and had no interest deeper than the movie memorabilia.  Then we got to the Nazca lines part of the exhibit and he was so into it because it had something to do with aliens. Ummmm…what now? Did you say that you think aliens created the Nazca lines? His response – yes either them or God. I’m sorry…wtf? So science is not an option then? The Nazca people, not an option? Long story short there were alot of dealbreakers here in a row.

The point is that when you aprroach dating as a curiosity towards someone it is different than judging them. You can just say…ok this is how we differ. Then, you have a choice – can you live with the difference or not?  No need to ruin a date. Just leave knowing there won’t be a second one and if he calls to ask you out again, just be woman enough to excuse yourself politely.  Say something like, “I really enjoyed our date (if you did) and I want to thank you again. I just don’t think we mesh on the important stuff so I’m gonna have to decline and wish you the best.” Done. Simple. Grown-up.

What I notice about dating soon after a breakup is that what I want & don’t want is really very clear in my mind. So, for me it makes dating a more intentional process of weeding out because I am focused. At the same time, my approach is open towards getting to know another person as is instead of simply just checking boxes on my list. Who knows? You could just meet some really great guys that you can call friends. At least this way, you make the most out of your own time and energy.

Do I still love my ex? Am I completely over him? Do I have monents where I wish he’d call and make things right? Yes. No. And Yes.

But he doesn’t feel the same way so I have two options – I can wait for a call that may never come or I can continue looking for someone who does love me as much as I love him and who can’t imagine his future without me.

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So here’s to healing this broken heart while continuing to walk one step at a time.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

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40 Days of Rejection: Could you Handle It?

love-dare

“You never leave your partner! Especially in a fire!”

Fireproof is one of those movies that teach you so many important lessons about what it is to be a decent person. To live right, to love right, to be right in yourself and with others. It is, first and foremost, a movie about what it takes to make a relationship work and though it is religiously based, it doesn’t detract one bit from the truth of the message. Some things are just universal truths.

Some men are so concerned with getting respect and admiration that they don’t realize how little they really give to their partner. They put their time into impressing their bosses and coworkers or buddies. They have everyone’s back but their wives/girlfriends. They often know very little about who their wives/girlfriends even are!

When their relationship falls apart, they think it is out of nowhere; that it is a sudden occurrence. They’ve been ignoring the women in their lives for so long they only notice her at her worst and when everything is at its breaking point.  If they acted towards their bosses the way they treat their partner, they wouldn’t have a job for very long either. You get more of what your put your attention on.

Many men at this point think that the problem is that the woman just doesn’t appreciate them right or they call women crazy. Then without any second thought of the relationship, the person they were with, the time invested, they just move on to someone new and shiny.

Some men are so busy playing the field when they can’t even figure out how to keep one woman happy. It is never their fault.  It is easier to “throw a person away and start over” than to look at yourself squarely in the mirror and fix yourself; to become the kind of man that’s worthy of even one woman.

So many men think if they “just find the right woman”, she’ll treat him right.  He’s bought into this idea that he’s perfect and just needs the “right woman” to recognize it. The mantra of these guys is something like, please don’t be crazy, because after all he does nothing to make her miserable.  She did this all to herself.

It is never his problem, but he’s always starting over again with someone new. How can this be?

No matter how many times he’s seen his relationships fall apart or never really gel, he keeps on believing the false idea that he’s a good guy/the injured party waiting for the right woman.

It is sad really because if most men put in the work and dedicated themselves to one woman they could in fact BE the men they imagine themselves to be and have the lifetime of happiness that they dream of. As it is though, that remains a distant and unattainable fantasy for many men. Too much ego and false pride keep them from true happiness.

Of course, I won’t leave you hanging with a sad story.  There is hope! There is something you CAN do about it to change your relationships and change your life for the better!

The Love Dare asks you to commit to 40 days of challenging yourself to genuinely love someone. In the movie the father gives this book to his son as a challenge when his marriage is about to end in divorce. To whet your whistle for the movie or if you choose to click on the link above and take the challenge, here is the introduction to what you’re about to take on,

This forty day journey cannot be taken lightly.
It is a challenging and often difficult process, but an incredibly fulfilling one.
To take this dare requires a resolute mind and a steadfast determination.
It is not meant to be sampled or briefly tested, and those who quit early will forfeit the greatest benefits.
If you will commit to a day at a time for forty days, the results could change your life, and your marriage.

Again, you don’t have to be married for this to improve your relationship and ultimately your life.  As the preface says, you have to have determination and resolve because, “Love, in its truest sense, is not based on feelings. it is a determination to show thoughtful actions even when there seems to be no reward”….and don’t just follow your heart,  ’cause your heart can be deceived. But you gotta lead your heart.”

So I come back to the beginning of this post, “You never leave your partner! Especially in a fire!” 

In the movie, Caleb was a firefighter and he understood this concept in his job.  By the end of the movie, he understood how this applied to his wife and to his marriage.  Ultimately, by accepting the challenge with all his heart and taking the heat, he did save his marriage and changed both their lives.

Change your relationships. Change your life.

Start here:
Love Dare Movie
Love Dare Book (free)

– with love from aneternaltraveler 😉

You’re Nobody’s Fool: Realistic Optimism

can or cant you're rightIn a culture whose mantra has become, “what you believe, you conceive”, we could use a cold bucket of reality to wake us up every once in a while. While I tend to look on the bright side of things, I wouldn’t consider myself an optimist.  Quite frankly, I think these definitions are too oversimplified to be helpful.

I think we can all agree that being a “Debby or Dan Downer” with things in life can be just as bad as expecting to shit out rainbows for breakfast everyday. Total realism, on the other hand, is like a dry piece toast; edible but not enjoyable. Extremes in any form are not healthy, no matter which way you slice it.

I like to think of myself as a Realistic Optimist which I define as, someone who goes into a situation filled with the hope of a good outcome, but who is realistic enough to know when enough evidence to the contrary says it is is time to walk away.

So, I find promoting the idea that “what we believe we can make true” without any caveatsOptimist-Pessimist-Realist-Quote is both irresponsible and untrue.  For example, no matter how much we may believe and conjure up all our will power, hope, and commitment towards changing someone, we cannot make an individual do something they don’t want to do.  We cannot make them change.  We cannot make someone care. We cannot force love. None of these things are possible through the power of thought.

You don’t need to put up with someone’s crap just because you want to show how positive you are. Or how kind you are. Or how loving. Here’s another newsflash, they are not going to change for you. They are an asshole despite you. You sticking around will only wear you out. It will not cause them to change.

I promise you that they will not wake up one day and say, WOW!! Because she’s/he’s stuck around all this time while I’ve busted up every boundary she/he has, taken all my shenanigans in stride, and given her/himself up for me, I’m TOTALLY READY TO SUDDENLY BECOME (WO)MAN OF HER/HIS DREAMS NOW.

Bengen_optimist_pessimist_realist
Translation: (L-R) My glass is half full. My glass is half empty. My glass is half past eight 🙂 Good German Humor..

It is fine to give someone chances, but have a time limit in mind.  Showing yourself less love will not make someone change unless you want that someone to be YOU. You have not been put on this earth to martyr yourself.  You don’t have to stay in a place that sucks. You can do better. It may not feel like it at first, but being alone is better than having your soul sucked out by someone else who means you and the relationship no good.

What do you think?

with love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Paralyzing Fear

I landed at my destination, proceeded to pick up my checked luggage and make my way to my hotel.  I was happy to have gotten away in pursuit of something I love – the study of language and culture!  While I imagined the possibilites for transforming my life, I was frequently reminded that the torment I held in me back home came along for a free ride too. Only my location had changed.

I was at a point  where I was desperately searching for an anchor in my life. Seeking my purpose.  The point of my own existence.  I felt like I was failing in all parts of my life.  And my pride got in the way of admitting it wasn’t working.

I didn’t know how to make my marriage work, my consulting business was slowing down, and I felt like I was having a hard time holding it all together.

I imagined that if I pursued something I loved while continuing to accept the challenges, everything would magically transform and be all better.

My life became more about accepting and managing my lot as if there were no other choice.  I adjusted myself to make an exception here and then there to my personal comfort zone.  I compromised to make this and that work. Eventually, I was kept busy remembering to perform all the new little rituals I’d adopted.

I believed that if I made enough room for everybody else’s needs, eventually mine would be considered.  Someday, I told myself, we’ll all arrive at some egalitarian utopia of euphoric bliss.  I just have to stay alert and organized and keep things moving.

But I couldn’t keep it up and I was starting to show signs of wear and tear from the stress of it all.

I couldn’t get pregnant for all the trying, but managed to grow a 5 lb. tumor in my uterus that had to be surgically removed.  I had developed chronic migranes.  I couldn’t sleep.  I was gaining weight.  I was crying sporadically for unknown reasons.  I’d have outbursts of anger and resentment.  I stopped wanting to see people, because they always “needed” something from me.

Three weeks into my trip my husband came to visit me for a vacation.  3 days into his stay, he left a “Dear Jane” letter on the bed while I was in class and returned to the USA without so much as seeing my face.

A Paralyzing Fear

And that’s when the earth began to crack and shimmy and shake beneath my feet.  I watched it break apart all around my feet until all that was left was a tiny patch of land at the edge of cliff.   All the muscles of my body tensed up and the last breath I would take, left my chest.  I watched the massive area of land descend in slow motion into the darkness below me.

I looked around and saw there was only sky, birds, sunlight, and the little patch of land beneath my feet.  I could not see what lie below me. I could not walk away in any direction.

So many questions passed through my mind.  What the hell happened? What am I going to do now?  How could I leave this spot? Why is this happening?

Day after day passed while I stood and watched the sun come up and disappear . I stood where I was and waited for a sign. The wind whipped against my body while I worked to keep my balance on my little patch of earth.  

Mother nature went on about her life and walked by me through the four seasons.  And still I waited for the path to return from the abyss so that I could leave.

One day decided to try sitting down.  I had stood for so long that I wasn’t used to sitting anymore and my legs felt uncomfortable trying to get into position.

As I rested on my little spot, I reached my hands below the surface of my seat and noticed that the earth was firm and had ridges in it like little handles.  For a moment I pondered whether I could climb down the stalk.

I quickly dismissed the thought, because I reasoned that I have no idea what lies below.  What if it is much worse than this?

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” ― William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

So I stayed and tried to manage all my affairs while fixed in the same position.  It was uncomfortable, but once again, I worked hard at accepting where I was at.  And once again, I convinced myself that I had no other choice but to do so.

The years went on as I watched the birds come and go.  The sun rise and set. The seasons cycle.  Often I’d reach below me and grasp onto one of the handles.  I’d fantasize about the possibilities of what could be out there.

I remembered when I was an explorer of this world.  Not a spectator.  I remembered when I was afraid, but did it anyway.  I remembered when I was courageous.

These memories and fantasies sustained me in position for a long time.  I convinced myself that at least I had traveled in the past like I had always wanted to.  At least I had been fearless at one time.

As time went on I’d learned to manage, though the clarity of my past adventures began to fade and the urge to leave bubbled to the surface more often creating a different kind of discomfort.

I couldn’t sit still.  The dissonance between my current reality and my curiosity to explore undiscovered possibilities, sharpened into a weapon that stabbed at my mind relentlessly.

serenity prayer

I realized that I did have a choice after all.  Only two, but at least a choice.

1) I could either continue to live what I’ve come to know or 2) take a risk and climb down to see what lies below the stalk.

Both choices require courage.  The first would require the courage to live without passion in favor of perceived stability.  The second, the courage to trust myself and embrace the unknown and the uncertain.

I want to find the courage in myself to climb.  But I am still sitting here only playing with the earth’s handles while being poked at to make a decision.

And so the journey continues as a third choice comes to light.  The choice of making no choice. It sure is painful to sit on a fence for too long…

Have you found the courage to get off the fence or are you sitting there with me?

– With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Distracting Yourself from Your Unhappiness

I was perusing the blogs at Tiny Buddha and I ran across a post called: Create Your Life: Having Nothing Can Mean Having Everything, by . There was this one line she wrote that really stood out to me and made me pause to reflect on my current circumstances:

 Life can get so busy, and often when we don’t like where our life is, we fill it with things to do so that we don’t have to think about our unhappiness.

I thought about how much my life has changed since my divorce,  how dissatisfied I feel with chronically finding myself in ill-fitting jobs, and the fact that I wake up everyday feeling like I’m an actress in someone else’s life.

I’ve poured myself into improving my house because it’s the one area where I feel like I am rewarded for my efforts.

But when I read that line, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I’m almost done transforming my house.  What will I do with my unhappiness then?  Will I continue to find distractions or is the time coming where I’ll have to face it head on and make some serious decisions?

As the questions formed in my mind, I felt the cold knife of fear tear through my chest.  These past few years all I’ve done is react to trauma  in survival mode. I’ve been picking up the pieces, “patch-working” my life together with the scraps I found lying around and losing my faith in hope.

I feel like the romantic I once was is buried under the harsh realities I’ve faced. I’ve experienced major trauma before, but somehow this time it has left me afraid, a little less bold in risk-taking, heavy.  

Maybe my unhappiness stems from feeling like I’m trying to make due with what’s in front of me instead of creating something that’s uniquely mine.  I believe that’s why fixing up my house appeals to me so much.  I start with a vision of what I’d like it to be and take the steps to bring it into reality.

With my house, my vision is clear.  With my life direction, it is not.  And I’m running out of house which means I’m also heading right into the fog that is my life.

It seems like I’m going to be left with only 2 choices: 1) face the unhappiness or 2) find another big distraction.  No matter what I choose, I have a feeling I’m about to arrive at a defining moment in my life.

Have you ever come to a crossroads like this in your life?  Tell me, what did you do?

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Do What You Have to Do….It’s Only Temporary

Do What You Have to Do….It’s Only Temporary

If you’ve ever had to do something you’d rather not do just to achieve a goal, this post is for you.

What follows is a recount of some of the things I had to do to get my house back post-divorce. The point of my whole long drawn out explanation and partial life history 🙂 is to ask you to remember two things in this life when you’re losing hope.   

When my business starting bringing in less and less contracts, I knew I had to come to terms with it and move on to something else. It was tough to walk away, but the market was changing and after a good run for 8 years, I saw the writing on the wall.  My husband and I had talked about whether we could make it work on one income while I found an alternative. Everything was set.  Or so I thought….shortly after he asked for a divorce.

He walked away like it was nothing and left behind a long trail of responsibilities for me.  First and foremost was my house.  A house we’d bought only 6 months prior.  It was a huge sum for me to have to find every month and selling it would have offered me no reprieve since it was when the housing bubble burst.  I couldn’t rent something either because I didn’t have a paycheck anymore and it would have cost me almost the same as my mortgage.  Catch 22.  

To add to the stress, our divorce agreement stated that I had one year to refinance it into my name or my ex- could sell it outright.   Originally, he offered 6 months.  I negotiated for more time.  Apparently a year felt generous to him in a failing job and housing market.  Not that he was paying for a darn thing. Apparently, he just didn’t want to be bound to me in any way.  Who was this man?

No time to answer that one, it was time to put the pedal to the metal and get the heck out of dodge.  

I didn’t have a lot of time to wax longingly about my “dream job”.  I needed money and fast!  I sent out application after application and zero, zilch, nada.  Here I was with a B.S. in Biology and an MBA struggling to find work in anything I was qualified for.  I thought the whole world turned upside down, not just my personal life.

I finally turned to craigslist to see if there was an opportunity.  I interviewed and accepted a job doing face-to-face fundraising for charity.  If you’re not familiar with this, it’s basically stopping people as they walk by and trying to persuade them to make monthly donations to assist less fortunate nations of people.  It turned out I was good at this.  Poverty was something I could really talk about. I’d seen and worked with it so much in my travels. I knew how people’s lives were impacted.  Frankly, I was also pretty hungry to pay my bills too so that was a big motivator.

I tried to refinance with this job and about a month out from finalizing, the company I worked for did a “corporate restructuring” and decided to drop their program.  I explained my situation and expressed my frustration to the loan officer on the phone.  I said, “What do I have to do?  Get a job at the bank that holds my mortgage to finally get this settled?”  

The customer service representative took what I said seriously and asked me about my background.  I explained it to him.  He said, would you be interested in becoming a personal banker because you’d be qualified for it?  I said, honestly if it helps me get my house back, I’ll do it.  He told me to put an application online at the bank website and assured me he’d talk to someone in HR on my behalf. We became friends on FB.  I didn’t expect much to come out of it.

Back to the drawing board.

More applications sent out, only the sound of crickets in return.  Hello again, craigslist.  This time, I scored a job that was freelance. They called it a “unique hair opportunity”.  I thought ok. My mom owned a hair salon.  She taught me a lot.  How bad could this mystery job be???  

Well long story short, I became a trained “Lice Remediation Specialist”.  The company supplied me with everything I needed and I’d get called or texted to go out to a job at someone’s house.  It wasn’t too bad actually.  It helped pay the bills so I was willing to do what I had to do.  I knew that I couldn’t refinance my house with that kind of job though.  So, I cranked up the engine again to find the next step. 

I resolved to get that bank job. In no way did working at a bank appeal to me.  But I was running out of time and money.  I reached out to the loan officer and asked him if he’d heard anything about my application.  He got into contact with HR and I went in for an interview.  I got the job.  

I worked a very difficult 6 day/ week schedule.  I didn’t like the work one bit.  I just kept telling myself it’s for your house. Eye on the prize.  I was running out of time.  My ex- was dialing up the pressure with his not so helpful reminders about the 1 year time limit that was coming to a close.  

I put in my refi application.  Then, the communication seemed to drop dead and no one would return my calls.  When I finally reached someone, it was after I received a letter stating that they couldn’t refinance my house because I’d been in the job for less than 1 year. Everything else was fine. Credit score excellent, no major unsecured debt.  None of this was a problem.  I couldn’t believe my ears. 

I was furious that my employer didn’t mind having me sell mortgages and investments to other clients, but wouldn’t even back me with one that THEY held!!!  

I had heard that this bank was planning to acquire another bank that I was affiliated with.  I figured while I’m on the inside I’ll do some research. I learned that their criteria were less conservative.  So, I thought, let me see if I can get a loan through them before the acquisition.  Within one month, I got the loan and I was at closing.  The house was FINALLY in my  name and for a payment I could afford!

I quit the bank the month after that. I wanted nothing to do with them.  It was hurtful to me to be put in the position to be used to sell mortgages to others while realizing my employer wouldn’t support refinancing my own home.  

I had had so much stress with jobs and this house refi that I wanted something easier and consistent for a while.  I needed to chill and get my bearings.  So, I heard about this gym that was going to open from a friend in the fitness community I was involved in.  I applied for that and got that job.  I’ve worked there for over a year now.  I knew it couldn’t last forever, but I needed a breather before I moved on.  It’s been good to me and served its purpose.

And now I have yet another new job that has some better benefits than the last one….and on and on it goes….where I stop?  I’ll know it when I feel it.

Remember two things as you go through this life and face challenges:

  1. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

  2. It’s only temporary.

When you feel like you’re going to lose it.  Even when you’re ready to tear your hair out.  When you feel like a failure.  Even when no one else has got your back and you feel as lonely as a child in the wilderness. 

Say to yourself over and over again, Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do,__________(insert name). It’s only temporary, _____________(insert name).  

I still have not arrived at a place that I feel completely comfortable in my own life.  And I have to remind myself of this mantra from time to time.  But when I look back I see that despite the fear and confusion and uncertainty, I did carry on.  It took a lot of perseverance and even more patience, but I did reach one of my goals after all. 

Consider making this your daily mantra for all the challenges you face.  And remember, there’s another step ahead of the one you’ve taken.  There will be solid ground beneath your feet.  Just do what you have to do to get through, then take the next step.

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Make no mistake, YOU are a success no matter how big or how small the result.  Let’s help each other out by leaving comments and sharing so we all feel a little less alone in this world.

What kinds of challenges have you had to face where you found yourself doing what YOU had to do to get through?  Share your success stories with us. 

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Uhh…I Thought You Left??

What Are You Doing Here?

Psst..I have a secret to tell you…I’ve been married once before.  Gasp!! Oh the horror 😉  Catch your breath and stay with me…

It strikes me how after a divorce, your exes can have a way of staying in your life and making you feel like you still have a cord connecting your neck to them.  They’re physically gone, but you’re left with physical and financial reminders of when the two became one.

When my first marriage dissolved, I was “given” the choice to pay him alimony or be sued in court.  I offered a compromise – to pay his student loans because it would cost me less.  I’ve been paying his AND mine off through my second marriage and divorce and I’m still paying them off.  BOY oh BOY do I resent that monthly payment!!

My second husband left me 6 months after we bought a house together.  I had put a lot into it and the market was so bad here that I’d have lost money if I sold it.  My business was phasing out at this time, so I basically had no job, no alimony and would have had no place to live. Sweet deal!  Thank you, honey!!

So, I worked my a** off to find enough income to pay the bills while I searched for a way to get it refinanced into my own name and lower the payments.

I wanted to have some kind of stability in my life.  I felt like I was losing so much, I didn’t want my house to be one more loss.  I pulled it off and when I should have been celebrating, I thought, Damn it! No matter what I do this place doesn’t feel like my own.  His memory, our shared dreams seem to live in the walls!@!

Cutting the Cords

So, I have a student loan that ties me to one ex-husband and a house that ties me to another.  It kind of makes me hesitate to want to get into another serious relationship!

I want to feel like I can really start over free from the cords that bind me to them, to my past life.  Right now I still feel like I’m working to pay off debts held in their names while they have had the luxury to escape any responsibility.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is selling my house since the market has improved.  I could proverbially “kill” two husbands with one sale ;p  Student loan paid off.  House gone.  Some money in the bank to start over.

Sometimes, I imagine traveling overseas again.  Using that certificate to teach English as a Second Language to make an income as I travel along. It sounds so cool to think I could just keep exploring and have some kind of income along the way.

At the same time, I struggle with this feeling that I’m acting like I’m a 20-something gap-year kid vs. the 30-something that I am.  I wrestle with this image of a grown-up and I sometimes think that even having these thoughts is an indication that I am not one even though my age says otherwise.

I don’t know if you can relate to this, but often I feel like I’m playing at being grown-up; like a little kid dressing up in work clothes, gym clothes, dating clothes, oh-crap-the-washing-machine-is-leaking clothes, etc., etc. What fun it is to grow up and settle down into a fun-filled life of demands and responsibilities!!  Why did we want to play dress-up so badly, again??

It’s Déjà vu All Over Again

It is darn tough to start over and I’m doing it for a second time around, now in my late 30s.

A major life event like a divorce brings everything you thought you knew into question.  Where once you were so intertwined and perhaps even defined in part by your spouse, you suddenly feel like you’re on a raft in the middle of an ocean without an oar.  Here you are floating aimlessly, scared sh**-less and realizing you’ve got to take some kind of action pretty quickly to survive.  And your brain just wants to go over the why’s and how’s of it all.  There’s not a part of you that doesn’t undergo an overhaul.

You’re never the same again, but WHO are you now?  What do you want?  What’s important to you?  What’s not that big of a deal anymore?  You finally settle things enough to have some order and BAM!! Old dreams come rushing back, new hopes, crazy amounts of fear coupled with an earth-shattering loss of confidence in yourself and major trust issues with others.

So, is it so crazy after all to want to scrap it all and take off?

As I’ve said in other posts, traveling alone teaches you to trust yourself. It is moment to moment. You decide what to do next.  How to react.  It’s the best kind of therapy I’ve ever known.

You could spend years in a therapist’s office working through trust issues or take an overnight bus through Colombia*, like I did, and get stopped by a road block littered with guys carrying guns and wonder whether they’re army or guerrillas asking you to get out. Trust me.  You’ll know how to feel really fast in that moment.  And you will trust your instincts.

I’m still working on what to do and what risks I’m comfortable with.  How about you?  What did you do after going through a major life event?  What kind of risks were you willing to take?  How did it turn out? Share, share, share 🙂

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*(As an aside, please understand this is not intended to be a summary of the beautiful country of Colombia.  Definitely visit if you have the chance.  It has so many wonderful people, tons of beauty, deep-rooted culture and tantalizing cuisine to offer. Just maybe pay attention to warnings about taking overnight buses and other security measures as you would in any country you’re living in or visiting because there are real risks.)

And so it begins…

When I was a child, my mother asked me ‘what I wanted to be when I grew up?’, as parents often do.  I said,

 Mom, I want to learn all the languages and cultures of the world so I can get to know what’s in people’s hearts.  That way someday I can show them how to come together in peace.

Looking back, my mom must have thought I was a quite a handful!  I was always the do-gooder type that wanted to help people around the world.

As life progressed, I loved having the opportunity to travel even if it was only for business.  Over time, I’d seen 20 countries on 5 continents and I lived for over a year in Ecuador.  I never wanted it to end.  I thought I was unstoppable.

However, during the past few years, I’ve gone through some really rough times and my confidence was shaken.  A tough divorce, fighting like the be-jesus to try to hang on to my house, watching the business I’d built phase out, and finding myself taking on two jobs to cover the bills rolling in. That’s not even to speak of the wall of distrust that built up around me which has made relationships of any kind pretty challenging to say the least.  I felt alone and isolated.  I was treading water.

Occasionally, my inner adventurer would poke me and ask, “When are we leaving?” or say things like, “What are you doing here?” I learned to squash that voice for awhile reminding it of our “survival” and my “new found belief in practicality”.

Somehow, I connected the events in my life to being irresponsible and impractical.  Because I didn’t fit into a “proper” box, I should work harder to shove myself in there and work it with a smile from 9-5, damn it!  “Then bad things like these wouldn’t happen to you”, I said.

I told myself to grow up! because that’s what I thought all grown ups eventually did.  They gave up their dreams and settled (down). My whole life I rebelled against this for the simple fact that I never met a grown up who was happier at work than they were at happy hour.

No matter how hard I tried to shut myself down, eventually my mind made me listen to that voice.  I was terrified.  I began to sob.  I knew I wasn’t happier in this cookie cutter life.  I proved that I was responsible and practical and that I could work 9-5.  I could get through a divorce and keep my house. And now what?

I felt like I was trapped in the Matrix and I wanted to swallow a red pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

So, I did and I’m about to find out what’s down there.