What does it mean to be suddenly single in your mid-50’s? When the life you thought you had, the future you envisioned is not on the table any longer.
In 2018 my marriage of nearly 30 years ended. There was no one person at fault and while my life changed drastically; I had to learn who I was again. I had been Mrs…. for so long how was I supposed to go back to being Fiona Barr again? Had I forgotten who she was?
When the life we thought we were going to have goes up like a puff of smoke it can be a challenge for sure. In my house we had blue jobs and pink jobs. I have had to learn to do some blue jobs or at least ask for help. Now don’t laugh or get offended by blue jobs and pink jobs, it was how we divided the household chores when I was married. I liked to cook and shop so that was a pink job, I hate housework so that was a blue job. Car stuff definitely a blue job but taking the garbage out could go either way. Do you see what I”m getting at, the jobs were not defined by tradition but rather by what we were good at.
Being single meant that I had to get good at the blue jobs or find someone to help me out. I’m so thankful that I have family and friends that happily step up when I need help. When it was fresh I needed lots of help, I felt overwhelmed by it all.
I had to buy him out of the house, I needed to get life insurance, I needed to buy furniture, I needed, I needed I needed…. The list seemed long and so daunting.
Fortunately I had done a lot of work on myself that some of these things were easily solved and I felt that I was doing great. That was until it came time for the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas and what about birthdays. How were we going to navigate these days. We had spent them as a family for 30 years. Did we need to take a day each or could we be ok to have dinner at one house together and it not be uncomfortable?
We managed to get through the first year of holidays but when the second year came along it was a different story. We were both in a different place and it was uncomfortable and as the holidays start to get closer, yes I know it is only September but time flies right, what is going to happen?
I guess I am lucky as he has moved away and won’t be here for the holidays so our children are spared the thought of having to choose between us. I know that I am fortunate as there are others who are not so lucky. My best advice is if you can be in the same room, be in the same room, don’t let your issues cause problems for your grandchildren or your children on what should be a special day. You are stronger than you know and at the end of the day your family will appreciate that you did this for them.
When we find ourselves with the life that we did not imagine or want it becomes important to learn how to be ok with it. I had to learn how to be single and do all the things on my own. Dating, traveling, society expectations, those things were something I did not think I needed to worry about. It’s’ been 2.5 years now and I am feeling pretty good about my life. Sure I have days where I feel sorry for myself, maybe feel lonely (especially if my physical health is not the best) but those moments are short lived because I found an inner strength I did not know I had and for the person reading this that is where I was, I bet you have that strength as well.
Being single in my 50’s does not have to be the end of my life. I don’t have to become the person who has 5 cats and never leaves my home I can be the person who has pets and travels, and visits with friends and family and dates and yes has sex (that is a topic for another blog). I love my life and I have learned how to navigate this single life and for someone who has never lived alone, I think I’m doing pretty well.
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Peace, Love and Joy,
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