Just Hold On

I really do embarrass myself when I get so down that I can’t see the bigger picture like most grownups seem able to do. Then I remind myself that I have not had an easy go of it and try to cut myself some slack.

I’m a little damaged. I’m wound too tight. I expect too much from myself. I’ve made a few (many) wrong turns and I’m in a precarious place at nearly 59 years old. When I compare myself to my mythical peers then I think surely I am a failure. I have no partner, no home of my own, no plans to retire any time soon.

But you know it’s all relative, isn’t it? Yes, it is.

I’m relatively healthy. I managed to get a job (at 58) that I truly love, with people I love and admire. My only regret there is that I didn’t find this job 20 years ago. My young co-workers seem to like me. They invite me to stuff and sometimes I say yes. They’re amazing young women.

I’ve repaired my credit score after cheater-ex left me bankrupt. I’ve saved a significant amount of money for a down payment. And I’m poised to buy a very modest house this summer or fall if I’m able to find one I think I can afford.

My relationship with my parents is as good as it’s ever been. We’ve forgiven each other for our youthful mistakes and are making the best of it. I’m grateful for this time I have with them.

I’m not a lush. I don’t hang out at bars. I’m not registered on any dating sites. I’m just living day by day and getting the swing of things and learning that I actually, for the most part, like myself. I’m comfortable in my own skin. I can entertain myself.

I have attainable dreams that make me feel excited about being in my very own home such as getting back to painting. Listening to Bach (loud). Having a treadmill in the living room. Cooking for myself. I’ve never lived alone. I’m excited and scared.

I returned to God and to church, having left it when I was 12 or so years old. When I take the time to remember God, I find him loving and reassuring. It’s my job to try to remember him more often. He’s not a habit for me yet. But when I think of him, I feel that he is there for me, waiting patiently as he has all those years we were apart.

We should really never compare ourselves to someone else — there’s simply no point to it. Comparing myself to school chums who didn’t marry four times and stayed in one home is pointless. My life has been sort of a mess, but which part would I skip next time? Which part would I erase if I had that ability? Very little of it. Apparently I needed the excitement.

Even the eight years I spent with my cheater ex would be hard to give up. It allowed me to live in the outskirts of London, yes, in poverty and despair at times, but being there enriched me beyond measure. I have found that I’m an insatiable Anglophile who goes out of her way to watch British television illegally and watches a documentary about English history every night at bedtime. Something about England clicked with me and it’s now part of who I am at my core. I count the days until I can go back on my own terms and experience it anew.

I’m weird. I spend a lot of money on the few pairs of shoes I own, but very little money on clothes, hair, or make-up. I have no home of my own nor many friends, but I recently purchased eight gorgeous champagne glasses (made in France, of course) at a charity shop and I find it a little hilarious that I would ever have occasion to use them. And I would not have bought them if I didn’t know where they were made. I’m incredibly snooty about certain things. It’s weird. I’m weird. And I’m finding that people don’t mind me for it.

I did see my therapist last week and immediately felt better because she looked at me and more or less said, “Whoa, back up. You’re not seeing yourself as you really are.” And she’s right, I wasn’t. I do that sometimes. More often than I’d like to admit.

So I have made five other appointments with her, one every other week. And I will work on my work/life balance and cutting myself some slack over the fact that I can’t keep up with all the extra responsibilities they’ve given me at work. I will keep my eye on the fact that I will have a raise and a change of position in July.

I may not be able to get out my floor easel and work on large paintings, but I can get out my watercolor pencils and have some fun on a smaller scale.

I can ask my parents if they’d mind if I bought a treadmill and kept it on their patio until I move. I think I’d use it and it’d be good for me. I need it desperately.

I can make an attempt to get out into the beautiful nature that is not far from me here in the Pacific Northwest. A MeetUp hike, for example, or a photography group. I know for a fact that nature makes me feel more calm.

For all of next week I’ll be out of town for a conference for work. I’m so grateful that they decided it would be worthwhile for me to go — it’s another sign that they value me. I’m going to really enjoy being out of the office and I now have very few outward signs that I was sick for the last 5 or 6 weeks.

I just needed to hold on and know that I would get better. Tomorrow I’m going to church for the first time in many weeks. I’ll light a candle to acknowledge that I still have so much to be grateful for.

And the people who read and/or comment on this simple blog are among the things I’m thankful for.

My cheater ex just hated this song, so I’m happy to include it here:

8 responses to “Just Hold On

  1. This is why Moving Liquid is your perfect persona. Without knowing despair how would we know true joy? We are the sum of our experiences from the moment we were born, it flows and changes. Can we erase any part of it and still be who we are? The hard part is accepting ourselves and doing what we need to do to grow rather than wither.

    Oh hell ML, now you have me waxing poetic, you write with power, it moves me, I’m glad you are in the world, keep writing, be weird.

  2. This post literally brought me to tears of joy for you. I have been so sad, so lost at how to make you see how wonderful and beautiful you are. Your blog is probably the first I really caught on. Read from start to finish and have seen you rise from the ashes like a Phoenix. Your recent funk has made me want to send you so much love and this new post makes me feel like you were receiving it in the ether. Because it says the things I have been thinking and saying about you the whole time. You are amazing. And I love you. And your battles make me stronger

    • Alex, I’m so honored that you have seen my entire journey — how humbling that is and I’m blown away that anyone would bother. I do feel your constant love and support, you can bet on that. I’m so grateful for you and love you back! xox

  3. I feel it. I’m so glad they are sending you to a conference. I think you have a wonderful point of view and critical mind. I’m sure you will come away with awesome insights.

    And I can’t wait for you to get into your little house. It’s gonna be amazing. Someday I will make it down to visit you and we will have some champagne with those snobby snooty bad ass champagne glasses.

  4. Hi ML-your post is the first thing I’ve read, here on a sunny Sunday morning in England (!). I’m glad you made it through one of the inevitable dark nights of the soul we all must experience- especially if we’re to learn anything at all.

    I’m 6o this year. Two failed marriages, the last was the cheater speciality. I came to be with my parents after that implosion and they’ve both died in the past two years. I’ve had to have bereavement counselling to unpick the grief. Only this week we talked about how I should ensure I acknowledge what I’ve accomplished- the credit, not the deficit. Leaving the cheater 300 miles behind, managing care of parents ( legal, financial etc.) Funerals. Divorce. I’m still standing. And so are you.

    In the midst, I managed a qualification, and some other learning – just for fun. I’d recommend https://www.futurelearn.com/. There are some great creative arts courses- and free!

    I’m not working- I gave up a job due to cheater, and then my parents’ health but I’m looking to volunteer soon. I’ll be moving in to my parents’ old house soon which is both weird and wonderful. It’s the house I grew up in from eleven onward. There is always good stuff after the bad. Materially and spiritually.

    And talking of TV, I was watching the biopic Shirley- about the singer Shirley Bassey last night. See if you can find that on BBC i-player. Very inspirational as is her singing ‘This is My Life.’ It’s now my latest ‘Gain a life’ song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqxMXlqCFZw

    Remember you’re not just Moving Liquid- you’re moving forward.

  5. Thank you, Mikky.

    We have much in common, don’t we? I don’t mind telling you that I fear I’ll barely get my life together and then will start losing my parents. They were 20 and 22 when I was born, so not as old as some parents of 58 year olds, but still… I’m not ready to lose them — is anyone? I’m sorry you’ve had recovery from your ex and losing your parents one on top of the other. I’m glad you took the time to remember how much YOU have accomplished and endured. We all need to stop and acknowledge that hard shit from time to time.

    That FreeLearn site looks awesome. I can’t wait to have a poke around it. And I believe I’ve seen the Shirley Bassey biopic on bbc iplayer so I will definitely check it out soon.

    I can’t imagine moving into the old family home — I wish I could! I hope living there is awesome for you and I can’t wait to hear about it.

    Thank you very, very much for your support and encouragement. I’m so grateful for it.

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