Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Woman's Guide to Starting Over

I found this on the Over 30 Divorced Moms group at Cafe Mom. I think I'm going to try to follow these ideas. I've kind of lost myself over the last few years and it's not only going to be about reinventing myself, it's going to be re-finding myself.

A Woman's Guide to Starting Over

Nothing can knock a woman off her feet like the loss of the man she loves, but a contented life after such a loss is possible. One method that has proven successful sounds deceptively simple. It’s a slow, tedious process punctuated by occasional moments of great joy—and it offers a huge payoff.

The method is this: the gradual reinvention of oneself. Reinvention doesn’t mean abandoning your heart and soul. It means discovering parts of yourself you may not have known existed and exposing yourself to new experiences.

Keep in mind that:

Reinvention can begin whenever you’re ready.
Reinvention happens in stages that can bring periods of discouragement, backsliding, even stalling out.
Reinvention happens over a period of years, not months.
Reinvention doesn’t require abandoning memories or long-standing loyalties.
Reinvention doesn’t mean grieving must stop.
Nurture your "self."
Become your own best friend. Here's how:

Once you stop insulting yourself and start making yourself smile or snicker when you would normally curse, you will instinctively become more patient with yourself.
If you are very angry about your situation, limit the extent of time you let yourself feel angry. Characterize it as disappointment instead.

Avoid exposing yourself to certain pain. Don’t listen to songs that remind you of special times with your ex. Stay away from restaurants, parks and museums that were favorites during your relationship. Store CDs and movies that evoke heart-breaking memories.

Value your “self.” Don’t eat stale cereal or wear panties with holes. Allow yourself to have toast and ice cream for dinner if that’s what sounds good. Stop watching the news if you want to. Avoid people that give you heartburn. Evaluate your surroundings.

During the first stage of your transformation, the goal is to lighten your heavy emotional load. These suggestions are less about redecorating than changing your outlook. (Attitude follows behavior.)

Starting in your living room or bedroom:

Survey the room and decide what objects stir up unpleasant or painful memories—an item from your in-laws, a birthday gift, something you gave to your ex, a photograph, a souvenir—and either get rid of them or store them, even if only temporarily.

Replace them with items you accumulated during happier times, like photos of high school friends, something your child made for you or a treasure from your grandma. Everything within your view should trigger positive thoughts.

Budget permitting, get rid of some of your furniture and buy things you want, things that give you positive emotional energy. Or simply trade items with your sister, liven up a worn-out wooden table and chairs with paint, buy a new bedspread, slipcovers or throw pillows.

Consider changing styles; if you have always been traditional, maybe go with a more contemporary look.

Make personal changes.
When you look different, you feel different. Change something about your appearance:

Try a new haircut or color from a professional (no do-it-yourself projects; you can’t set yourself up for failure).

Ask a department store cosmetics pro for new make-up ideas and clothing color advice.

One piece at a time, get rid of clothes that carry painful memories and try something new—a leather jacket, an uncharacteristically colorful sweater, red high tops or polka-dotted underwear.

Learn something new.
There is probably something you’ve had an unfulfilled interest in. When you feel ready to be around a group of strangers:

Volunteer to do something meaningful to you that uses your talents, and that you can make a commitment to once you know you like it.

Take a class; for example, photography, art, landscaping, knitting, computer or cooking.

Pick up a few college credits if that appeals to you.

Learn to swim, play tennis, play bridge or scuba dive.

Join a group charter traveling to a place you’ve never been.

When you have progressed through your transformation, you can look back and say, “I liked who I was then, and I love who I am now.” Despite occasional skepticism, you persevered. And now you’re not just surviving, you’re thriving.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


When Claire was born, everything she did was a source of fascination for me. She's focusing on my face! She likes ceiling fans! She's smiling! Oh my goodness, she LAUGHED!!! Even as she became a toddler, the stuff she did was thrilling. Climbing up the stairs, climbing back down the stairs. Finally talking (they really do mean "explosion" when they refer to a "language explosion") and learning all of her letters around the age of 2.
I really, really hoped that I would be just as fascinated by Natalie. And for the most part, I am, because she and Claire are quite different. As a newborn, Natalie was really mellow and content to watch her world from my arms or her carseat. But then she realized that she wanted to be like Claire and Alair (my 4 1/2 year old sister). Once we moved to Mom & Dad's house, Natalie's desire to be one of the big girls really spurred her to achieve independent movement much earlier than Claire did. Natalie was crawling backwards around 7 months, finally getting the hang of forward gear about a month later. And by about 9 months, she was trying to pull up on furniture. Now she cruises around the furniture and wants so badly to be able to walk by herself. She likes getting into everything she can. She's already contemplated climbing the stairs. She loves going down to the playroom and being with the big girls. Natalie's world is meant to be explored! The big girls get to do all kinds of stuff, so Natalie thinks she ought to be able to, too. She smiles so big when she "gets away" with things like opening a drawer and getting stuff out.
I really hope both girls stay so fascinating for a long time yet.