World Gratitude Day

Practicing gratitude and thanking people I care about is one of my absolute favorite things in my life! Apparently today is World Gratitude Day. My dad used to say, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” I kinda feel like “The harder I thank, the luckier I get!”

Having my life unexpectedly change a few years ago has honestly been one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. Before some of you who hear me (and I do have friends and a therapist who very patiently listen to me) struggle day-to-day to reinvent myself yell “BULLSHIT, Lindsay!”…hear me out. 🙂

If all the stuff that happened to me had NOT in fact happened…

  • I am pretty damn sure I would have been stuck in a rut.
  • I am pretty damn sure I would still have resentment.
  • I am pretty damn sure would still act like a martyr sometimes.
  • I do not think I would be the friend I am today.
  • I do not think I would be the mom I am today.
  • I know I would not have done all the work I have and continue to do on myself.
  • I know I would not be NEARLY as self-aware as I am now.
  • I know I would not have met some of the wonderful people who are in my life now.
  • I know I would not have pushed myself to do better, BE better.
  • I know I would simply not be the version of myself that I am today.
  • And I know for sure would not have been forced to re-emerge like a Phoenix.

This may sound crazy, but I am grateful for my ex and his new wife. I’m not grateful for the way things happened of course. I’m not grateful for secrets and lies and the corresponding trauma and baggage that I’m desperately trying to discard. I’m not interested in spending any time with them. But I’m 100% grateful that my ex freed me to become myself again. I’m grateful to become the mom Tommy has always deserved. I’m grateful that Tommy’s dad seems to have found his happiness. For that, we both will be better parents. I’m eternally grateful how these life changes have brought Tommy and me even closer than we were before. Lastly, I’m grateful I have been freed to find a partner that is better suited for me. (Someday…when the timing is right anyway…I hope.)

Next, I’m grateful for how my ex leaving me has brought me so many new, WONDERFUL friends. These friends have brought out the best in me. They have challenged me in all the best ways — ways to help me grow, ways to keep me accountable. When one door closes, many new ones open for me.

My “new life” has also brought me closer to my long time friends…Closer than I could have ever imagined. They are like sisters to me. I’m truly a lucky woman.

Also, I’m grateful that I have been forced to learn patience. You all who know me well know that I probably struggle with this the most. I admit it — I am not patient! But struggles make me so much stronger. I’ll get there.

In addition, I’m so grateful for the freedom to sell my house and pick out a brand-new one for Tommy and me all by myself (with two AMAZING realtors of course). That level of liberation is so exciting. I spent some time in my new home this past week and now it truly does feel like HOME.

This pandemic has helped me take stock of something that I never took for granted but missed SO MUCH — live music. I cannot believe I get to go see Glass Animals with my friend Rebecca in less than two weeks. I am so excited to see X Ambassadors for the first time in November with my friend Rachel. And I’m always grateful to see Snow Patrol with my friend Jill and Our Lady Peace with my friend Kathy, who we will get to see live in 2022.

I’m beyond grateful for this new chapter of my life. I’m most grateful for a second chance to have the life I truly want.

What are YOU grateful for today?

A New Chapter

I bought a new home today!

Almost three years to the day that I found out that the life I knew was effectively over, I have taken back control of my life. I have done many things I’m proud of since then. I have taken care of my mental health. I have helped my child with his mental health. I have secured my own health insurance, home insurance and car insurance. I found myself a new CPA. I manage a home and care for my sweet child and my 3 pets. I basically handle everything on my own. My ex and I are amicable. (I have no interest in being his friend, but we are able to be friendly in front of our child.) I have made new friends – female and male. I have done and continue to do all the work to heal and not just survive betrayal and abandonment, but THRIVE.

Selling my beloved home and downsizing to a darling, charming, new (to me) home definitely feels like the biggest step in reclaiming my life so far. I love the home I just sold. And we could have stayed in it. But I know downsizing is the smartest financial decision for Tommy and me. It’s the best emotional decision too. I cannot tell you how happy, how at peace, how EXCITED I have been since my offer was accepted!

And while I STRONGLY believe “wherever you go, there you are” — no matter if you move 700 miles away or a half a mile away — I do believe this fresh start is exactly what Tommy and I need. It’s time to make new memories in a house that I alone picked out. This house we are moving to soon has no bad memories.

Tonight I will celebrate with a glass of champagne. Tomorrow I continue packing and purging. I move in 6 weeks. A brand-new chapter begins then. I cannot wait! From this chapter until my last, I’m creating the life I want. I could not be more thankful and more excited.

Gotta Get Back To Miss Positive

Vulnerable post time. (I mean, when are my blogs NOT vulnerable?!)

I wrote this blog last summer. The only thing that has changed between now and then is that I have in fact tried dating apps / sites…both paid and unpaid…and they are a thousand times worse than I imagined. (Maybe sometime I’ll write a blog entry about that.) What has not changed is that I still want my person. Sigh.

I recently had someone tell me, “There are worse things than losing a partner.” OF COURSE there are!!! There are a million other horrible things that can happen in life. I would never not acknowledge that. But I lived my entire adult life (up until the end of December 2018 ) with a partner. I feel a void. And as we all know, it hurts to have someone choose to stop loving you. We were together nearly 24 years. Sue me. 🤷‍♀️

I also recently had others say that if they got divorced or widowed, they would NEVER want a partner again. They would NEVER want to take care of another adult. I also respect that completely. That is also not how I feel. I LOVED the life I had with a partner. Was it perfect? No, of course not. Nothing in life is perfect! But – FOR ME PERSONALLY – I feel that life is easier and happier and more fun with a partner.

(Quick reminder / disclaimer in case you were wondering – I DO NOT want my old partner back. I have made peace with the end of that relationship. I’m over him. I spend no time ruminating about him or what would have been. We are amicable and that in itself is a huge accomplishment given what happened between us. And for the record – I DO NOT want anyone who does not want me as much as I want them. Unrequited feelings suck.)

Lastly, I have had MANY people tell me I’m enough on my own. I also agree! I’m not questioning that I’m good enough. This is not about that. This is about my basic philosophy on life:

I don’t want joy just for myself. That simply makes no sense to me.

And what about this notion that one must feel good enough on their own so if one enters a relationship it is out of want, not need? I think I’ve proved that I can do life on my own and do not NEED a partner. For two and a half years, I’ve done all the adulting on my own. A few examples: I started a retirement plan, managed my life insurance, got myself a new CPA and hired anyone that I needed to assist me with any home improvements and repairs. I hired a therapist for Tommy. I got both of us through a pandemic. And on and on and on. I’m pretty damn proud of what I did on my own. I most certainly feel CAPABLE enough to continue to go it alone. And thank goodness my depression is in no way debilitating. I somehow still do not feel WHOLE on my own though, damnit! Maybe I need more time, more practice.

There HAS to be a way to more happiness.

I keep practicing daily gratitude, acknowledging my positive financial situation, reading the books, listening to the podcasts, exercising, meditating…doing ALL the damn self-help things. I somehow continue to feel STUCK. I believed things would improve after the pandemic came to a close. And yes of course many things have made life somewhat better post-vaccination / post-pandemic. What remains the same is that I am still alone…and it still does not feel “normal” to me.

Another disclaimer: I do not think there is ANYTHING wrong with any of you that are single. So please do not attack me for sharing my feelings. I acknowledge that this is an adjustment issue for me.

So finally…onto some good news. I’m headed back to therapy. As usual, there is no stigma about this for me. And there should not be for you if you go or need to go.

I need to figure out:
Is this just midlife?
Is this as good as it gets?

If so, I need to make peace with that.

I’m overdue in getting back to being “Miss Positive.”

I am so hoping you will weigh in by commenting or messaging me. I know I’m going to talk to a professional again, but I truly value YOUR input too and YOUR life experiences matter to me. Also, please be kind. Please don’t tell me I’m pathetic for wanting a partner (even if you think it). Thank you so much for reading and hopefully commenting. ~Lindsay

Father’s Day 2021

My dad as a baby

I wrote a blog entry for Mother’s Day this year and I would be remiss if I did not write one for Father’s Day too. This day is hard for so many as well. If it is hard for you, please know that I see you. My dad passed away in 2003. I feel your pain completely. My dad been gone so long…almost 18 years…almost as long as the years that he and my mom raised me.

On Mother’s Day, I posted a list of things I was sorry for to help ease the pain of those struggling on that day. None of the examples I used were hypothetical.

Here is my list for Father’s Day.

I’m sorry if:
-You did not get to see your dad today because he died by suicide.
-You did not get to see your dad today because he was murdered.
-You did not get to see your dad today because he died of natural causes.
-You did not get to see your dad today because the border is still closed.
-You did not get to see your dad today because you are not speaking.
-Your kids were not as kind as they should have been to you today.
-You are a single dad, so today felt like every other day.
-You are a dad of a special needs child and are beyond tired.
-You are married, but your spouse did not give you the day you wanted / needed / deserved.
-You are divorced and today is not like it used to be.
-You are a dad and your grown children did not acknowledge you the way you hoped they would.
-You have pets, but desperately want to have a human child too.
-You are a widower and miss your partner terribly.
-You are a dad who lost a child. 
-You have a strained relationship with your dad.

If you are feeling any kind of grief or sadness today, I see you. I’m holding you in my heart. Are you able to give yourself any self-care? Can you watch a movie or sporting event? Binge-watch your favorite TV show? Order some yummy take out? Can you find a way to laugh or smile? Can you do something therapeutic? I hope so. You are in my thoughts.

As for me, I got a good night’s rest. I listened to music my dad loved. I walked the dog. I may go shopping. And I wrote a letter to my dad. I will not be publishing it here. It is too personal. But it felt very healing to get some feelings out. I also have had some truly lovely conversations with dear friends and family members. These conversations were so therapeutic and I’m so grateful. If I talked to you today, thank you. You made my day brighter. ❤

One family member told me today, “Lindsay, the last words he said to me is how you light up a room the minute you walk in. He would be so proud of you of all you have done.” I cannot tell you how much that touched my soul. I never knew he thought that about me. I have never really seen myself in the way that my dad saw me. These words were so comforting and could not have come at a better time.

Take care of yourself today. Sending love out into the universe. ~Lindsay

Play!

Are you having fun in your life? If not, what is holding you back?

“Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good,” Lucia Capocchione

Glennon Doyle’s latest episode of her new podcast We Can Do Hard Things is all about fun. It is entitled “FUN: What the hell is it and why do we need it?”

The standout part of the episode for me was the segment on the science about play. What scientists have learned is that when we are gloomy, rest will not fix us…but play will! Researcher Stuart Brown, MD describes play as time spent without purpose. He believes that play is at the core of creativity and innovation. Play can mean anything that makes us lose track of time and self-consciousness, creating the space where ideas are born. It is voluntary and it is inherently pleasurable.

“Almost all creativity involves purposeful play,” Abraham Maslow

I would venture a guess that most adults have not gotten enough fun and play since the Covid pandemic began. And maybe for some, it has been even longer since they had real, true, pure fun. Thankfully, it seems like we are near the end of the pandemic. I think we all owe it to our mental health to have more fun immediately. We NEED to carve out time for play…now more than ever.

“The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression,” Brian Sutton-Smith

Remember, play means NO purpose. So things like shopping or purging a closet or getting a manicure do not count. These things may feel good. These things might even be self-care. But they have a purpose, therefore they do not count. (Writing a blog, while therapeutic for me, does not count either.)

For me, it definitely looks like these things:
-Concerts
-Live sports
-Weekend road trip / girls’ weekend
-Dance parties in my living room with my kid
-Listening to music in general
-Anything creative, like painting a creation at an AR Workshop or Pottery Night at my kiddo’s school
-Coloring
-Going to a live comedy show (Laughter to me is play!)
-Drag Queen Bingo
-Walking and/or playing with the dog
-Doing a puzzle
-Playing a board game or card game with my son

What did I miss? What does play look like to you?

And how can we have fun together? To my local friends — remember, I am a single lady now. I do not have a partner to goof off with! So please think of me if you have something fun to do. Hopefully I can join you!

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.” -Charles Schaefer

Acceptance

There was no big epiphany. There was not really an ‘aha’ moment. But I recently realized that I’ve finally reached acceptance with regard to my divorce. There is no doubt a global pandemic slowed down my healing. But as the world begins to open up and ‘normalcy’ begins to return, I am aware that I’ve become OK with my “new normal.” With the ability to spend more time with girlfriends, I know my life is enough as is. I know I will be fine.

How do I know I’ve reached acceptance? A few things made me realize I was there.

Lately I have sat through many of my kid’s lacrosse and soccer games with my ex. Not only was the conversation not forced, I did not cringe when I asked about and listened to him talk about his new life. I felt no jealousy. And I didn’t really think about what we talked about afterward. (No overthinking? Hallelujah!)

Recently, when my (former) mother-in-law mentioned her son’s upcoming wedding reception, I also felt nothing. I told her to have a great time. When that day comes, I don’t think I’ll think much of it. It’ll just be another day. There’s nothing to grieve anymore. I do not have the life I thought I would have. OK, I get to write a new ending!

Weekends when my son is with his dad are fine. I miss my sweet kiddo of course, but I don’t dread the time like I used to. It’s just the way life is now. I do the errands I don’t want to do when he he’s with me. I relax. I binge-watch TV shows that are not for kids. I cut the grass. I walk the dog. I see my friends. I work out. It’s all good.

Lastly, when I was watching an episode of TV show that would previously have triggered big emotions in me about divorce and loss, this time it just…didn’t. I did feel sad for a moment (feel allll the feelings always), but the moment passed quickly and I was able to return to the present moment. I was able to remind myself that all is fine.

Maybe most importantly, I find myself numbing less. I find myself wanting to get on the bike or go for a walk or run instead. I’m feeling more balanced. That “love with no place to go” can go to me! I can take care of myself. I can relax more. I’m definitely in a more “whatever will be will be” frame of mind.

I’ve heard that the opposite of love is not hate. It is apathy. I’m there! THANK GOD. Of course I have many unmet goals, but life is a work in progress. I’ll get there when I get there.

Healing from grief and wanting more from life can coexist together.

Letting Go of Shame

I adore Brené Brown. A dear girlfriend recently reminded me to re-visit The Power of Vulnerability. I am so glad I did. I honestly need to listen to this audio book yearly. Brené is a gift to us all. Everyone deserves Brené in their life. If you are unfamiliar with her, she is a qualitative researcher with a focus on shame. Her work is so eye-opening.

How does she define shame? Shame according to Brené means an “intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” Oof. Can you admit to feeling shame? I can.

Getting divorced has been my biggest source of shame. Intellectually, I know I’m not the one who betrayed and left, but often I still feel like a massive failure. I feel this most strongly at drop off and pick up at school. Again, intellectually I know I’m not the only divorced person there, but it does not matter. The emotional part of my brain overpowers the rational part. I’m also such a planner and I did not plan for this. I had my life planned out with the grand kids and everything. I just did not see it coming. I also feel it when I’m around healthy couples. What did I do wrong? How did I get here? I love so big. I forgive. I give everything 110%. Ugh.

I was once told by a couple of well-meaning people to not let what happened to me define me. And I definitely do NOT want it to define me. I am most definitely stronger, wiser and totally OK since I hit rock bottom. I’m NOT the same person I used to be. I mean, I’m still Lindsay, but a more resilient version of her. As Brené calls them, the ‘shame gremlins’ still appear in my life sometimes though. Maybe it is a trauma response. Maybe it is just being human.

So what can I do? Talk about it. Write about it. Get it out there. Let it go.

What do you feel shame about? Your relationship status? Your body? Your career?

How can we let these feelings of shame go?

Brené says we must live wholeheartedly. We must show our vulnerability. That is what I do when I write, when I share my honest feelings with my friends and family, when I’m 100% real.

Another quote from Brené that I adore is “Choose discomfort over resentment.” I’d rather share how I feel and get it out of my system vs. bottle it up. I know plenty of people who chose the latter and have suffered greatly because of it.

So, please leave a comment below or message me. Please be vulnerable. I’d love to hear what you have felt shame about and if you have overcome it, how you did it. Thank you for reading and thank you for hopefully sharing with me.

Happy Mother’s Day?

Ahh, Mother’s Day. This is a day that so, so hard for many. To all of you who had a tough day, I see you.

I’m sorry if:

-You did not get to see your mom today because she is no longer alive.

-Your kids were not as kind as they should have been to you today.

-You are a single mom, so today felt like any other day.

-You did not get to see your mom because of the pandemic.

You are a mom of a special needs child and are exhausted.

-You are married, but your spouse did not give you the day you wanted / needed / deserved.

-You did not get to see your mom because she is in the hospital with Covid.

-You are a mom and your grown children barely acknowledged you.

-You are a pet mom, but desperately want to have a human baby too.

-You are a widow and miss your spouse terribly.

-You are a mom and have lost a child. 

-You have a strained relationship with your mom.

Not one of these examples are hypotheticals. They are all stories of people I know. I’m holding you all in my heart. I sincerely hope you got a few moments of peace today. I hope you were able to take a little time for self care. I hope you were able to hug someone today. If not, I hope you do something…anything for yourself before the day ends.

As for me, my day was alright. Mother’s Day is not the same as a single mom as it was when I was married, but what remains is the love my kiddo and I have for each other and for that I am grateful.

What I have gained

Yesterday when I blogged, I was focused on feeling lost sometimes. I do not like to dwell on the negatives in my life, so I’m trying to strike a balance.

Last night, I was watching the latest episode of Walker (Jared Padalecki’s new show on the CW) and at the end of the episode, his character, his parents and his kids toasted to his deceased wife. He talked about focusing on what the family had gained (closeness, closure, etc,) instead of what they lost…and I figured that was a sign from the universe that I should do the same. So I immediately starting jotting down ideas in my Notes app. I’m sure I can add more, but here is a starting list of some positives since my ex left…

I have gained:

-The ability to not take anyone or anything for granted

-A peaceful home

-Independence / freedom

-Confidence to take care of everything on my own

-Some time to myself

-A blank slate

-No one to answer to with regard to what career I ultimately choose…or with regard to anything really

-Resilience

-Perspective

-Gratitude for all that I have even after all that I lost / will never get back

-An even stronger bond with my son

-Healing, thanks to therapy, meds, meditation, books, friends and doing allllll the work

-Empathy

-Emotional strength

-A greater appreciation of the good times

-New friends

-The realization that nothing lasts forever so enjoy it while you can

What did I miss / what would you add?

Midlife

There are days in my life when starting over in midlife feels exhilarating. The “blank slate” / “fresh start” feels OK. I enjoy the freedom. I enjoy the peaceful home I have made into my own. I get excited about whatever opportunities might come my way. I feel optimistic. I don’t feel scared. I live in the moment and practice gratitude. I feel strong and thankful for surviving on my own and keeping my child and myself safe through an unexpected divorce and an international pandemic. I sometimes even surprise myself with my courage and my ability to be vulnerable sometimes.

Then there are other days in my midlife “re-boot” that are filled with anger, sadness and anxiety. These are the days I feel lost, like I’m not in control of anything. These are the days that feel scary as hell. Today is the latter.

Disclaimer before I go any further: this blog post won’t be one of my cheery ones. If you are having a day similar to mine, you may not want to read on. Or perhaps reading on will help you feel less alone. Either way, you have been warned. “Miss Positive” will not be making an appearance today.

Continuing on…

I truly hate jealousy. I think it is such an ugly emotion and I try to avoid it at all costs. I don’t feel it often because I practice gratitude and know how privileged I am in many ways. However, I would be lying if I said I did not sometimes feel envious of those of you who have your stuff figured out. I’d also be lying if I said I was not sometimes envious of those of you who may not have it all figured out but have a partner by your side.

I wrote a blog last June about how life is not as meaningful if you don’t have someone to share it with. I feel exactly the same way today. I am more than capable of living my life on my own. No question. I get it all done – all the laundry, all the bills, my paid job, my volunteer work, exercise, errands, fundraisers, you name it. I don’t NEED anyone. But it still is nowhere near as fun, nowhere near as rewarding to do this on my own. True, there is no resentment. But also true, it is lonely as heck at times. For some, being on their own feels empowering and many people would probably tell me to feel proud of surviving on my own. For me it generally feels exhausting. I WANT a best friend and life partner. I never signed up to be a single parent. I never imagined it for a second. My kid deserves better. And frankly so do I.

Some things in life I have figured out. First, I know exactly what kind of house I want. Second, I know exactly what qualities I want in a partner (and what qualities I do not want). Third, I know what kind of vacations I want. Lastly, I have a few other personal goals in mind as well. I have the vision / goal board to look at daily.

BUT…what I want currently feels so out of reach and so out of my control. I cannot control what houses are on the market and I sure as hell cannot control who decides whether they like me or not. After what happened to me, I will NEVER beg anyone to be with me. NEVER, EVER again! I did it once and that was one time too many. I know my value. I know my worth. So…I somehow have to surrender the house idea and the partner idea to the universe I guess. Too bad I’m not even a tiny bit patient.

As for the stuff I don’t have figured out, unfortunately it is kinda the BIG stuff. What do I want to do professionally for the rest of my life? My sweet mom means well, but saying “it will all work out” does not really translate to me trying to cobble together a resume after working part-time for over a decade.

I’m not angry with my ex anymore for getting to focus on his career. I stand by my thought that no love is ever wasted. But I am quite angry with myself for selflessly sacrificing my career for his. And for what? So he could throw me away like a piece of garbage after nearly a quarter century together? Definitely not my best move. (On that note, I’m also sick of unrequited feelings. Looking back, I don’t know if I was ever actually loved by my ex. Ugh. Gotta work on getting over that too.)

So…what to do? Maybe I need a career coach. Maybe I need a life coach. Maybe I need a mentor. Maybe I need a kick in the pants. Maybe I need to meditate more. (Maybe I need to add all these ideas to my goal board!)

I hope I can figure some stuff out…and fast. This “intermission” is taking way too long. Maybe I need someone to teach me how to be patient.

P.S. I salute you if you are one of those people who thrives on their own. I 100% do not understand you. But I am 100% impressed by you.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet,” Jean-Jacques Rousseau