Changing perception.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~ Viktor Franklchange

I was working at the Food Pantry the other day.  Well, several of us were sitting around talking because we had no clients, no one who was seeking food.  I hope the fact that we had no clients that day is a good thing, that it means no one in our neighborhood was hungry for at least a day.  That’s my optimistic view of the situation.

We volunteers have some good chats on slow days.  I try not to let my divorced status define who I am, but at the same time, I am very open to discussion of my situation just in case it might be helpful to someone who takes the time and trouble to ask questions.  I usually prefer to assume that the questions are sincere and not prying.

One of the women asked if I mind living alone.  I have to admit I hadn’t thought about it in a while until she asked.  (That’s a sure sign that I’m doing well, don’t you think?)  I considered the question for a moment and responded, “No, not really.  I do have a cat after all.”  I went on to tell her that I missed my husband horribly for a long time but I don’t anymore, that I have adjusted to what is, and am content.  She said, “That’s a really good thing — learning to be happy where you are with what you’ve got.”

I’ve thought a great deal about that statement.  It certainly sums up where I am today.

Back at the beginning of our separation, I read somewhere that it takes a year of recovery for every five years a couple is together.  At the time I had trouble wrapping my mind around that notion, thinking “I don’t have that much time.  Let’s just get on with it!”  I have learned, though, that it has proved pretty accurate in my case.  I wanted to hurry up the healing but I wasn’t able to.  Some things take time.

I no longer think too often about D and our marriage.  Oh sure, things pop up but I don’t dwell on the negatives much.  I have thought about my ex this week because he had a birthday a couple of days ago.  I considered sending him a happy birthday text but then I asked myself, “Why would I do that?”  I don’t hate him.  I don’t dislike him.  But I don’t like him very much either.  And I don’t owe him anything.  I guess I’m idling here in the middle and it’s a pretty good place to be.

Oh, okay.  Happy birthday, D.  Thirty years is a long time and old habits die hard.

People change and forget to tell each other. ~ Lillian Hellman

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17 thoughts on “Changing perception.

  1. I cannot tell you enough how much I love your writing…the economy of words…your candor. I too feel okay being alone. I’m deprived of the one person I long to be with since he chooses to be with someone else and made the decision to just be alone. I never feel bad over it. Could be my age…could be a little stubbornness. Who knows. But being happy where we presently stand is true liberation. A cat helps…but make no mistake, you’re flourishing like the ivy on Yale 🙂

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  2. There’s something wrong with my system because I didn’t realise you had posted again until you popped into my Blog. I must echo what the others have said. It’s lovely to see another post from you. As to being on your own. You are a truly precious and valuable person and the world needs more people like you. It is a shame that you have only a cat to share your dwelling but I am sure that there are many, including myself, who think of you with great affection and value the pleasure of knowing you, either as a neighbour or via Blogging.

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  3. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to get used to living independently again after being with someone for so long.
    What the woman at the food pantry said about being happy with what you have and where you are is so true. And quite a difficult lesson for some people to learn. Once learned though it seems to make life..I don’t know..richer and more interesting because you’re not fighting against everything and just taking it as it comes.

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    • Hi resaz. You’re very wise. “…not fighting against everything…” are the key words, I think. I’ve always wanted to fix situations and people. I have to remind myself regularly that I’m not supposed to do that. My job is to fix ME or at least change how I react to others and their problems. Very difficult indeed.

      Thanks for your comments. They help more than you know.

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  4. Hello Pat. It is great to hear from you again. I always find that you write what I am thinking. Sometimes I think I have travelled forward a long way. Other times I feel I am back at the beginning. So it is comforting to hear from you who is further on time-wise than me and know that there are still ‘moments’. I had heard elsewhere about the time to heal and like you in the beginning I tried to push that away and heal faster. Now I accept that it will take a long time to fully recover. I am OK with that.
    I think AuntyUta is right. You should write more about your life and living alone. There are so many people you could shine your light on.

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    • Hi Elizabeth. Thank you for your comments. In the earlier days I had to remind myself constantly that recovery, healing is never a straight line, If you put it on a graph, it’s up and down. I’ve been told to examine how I am, based on long segments of time, not short ones. In other words, it’s not good to compare today to yesterday. It’s better to look at where I am today as compared to six months ago, or a year ago.

      I can see your growth in your posts. When we keep on trekking we eventually get there.

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      • Or at least the ‘downs’ become less severe.

        I have been thinking of your comment in your post about not wanting to be defined by your divorce status. It is something that I have thought of often. I used to defined as Mrs xx. Now I have become ex-Mrs xx.
        I suppose I really want to be defined as me.
        Not knowing your husband, I see you as an individual not defined by him at all and this encourages me forward. I am continually thinking as to how I can achieve that too. Thanks for your posts.

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  5. Hi Pat, it’s nice to hear from you. Your writing brings to mind, that I or Peter might be a widower or a widow one day. We’ve been married for over 55 years now. We hope we can still make 60 years. But of course nothing is certain. And whoever gets left behind has then to cope on their own. Maybe being divorced is worse than being widowed. But still it can come to every one a time when they have to live without a partner. In our complex of ten houses there are in seven houses single women, most of them are widowed! Two women have jobs, The others are elderly but seem to have a lot of friends and family. Somehow they all seem to keep themselves
    busy. Please, Pat, write a bit more about your life. What things keep you busy? Would be good if you could write a bit more about the food pantry and about other things you do from time to time. I hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day! Any photos? Any walks with your friends?
    Cheerio, Uta.

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    • Hi Uta. Thank you for being my cheerleader. Your thoughtful comments mean a great deal to me.

      I guess I have always known that I would probably eventually wind up alone. Women do, of course, more often than men. I didn’t expect it to be so soon, but no one does, do they?

      I appreciate your “writing prompts.” I’ve been so busy “doing” lately that I haven’t taken much time to write. I must admit I’ve missed it. I’m trying to turn that around. As the hot, humid weather hits soon, I will have to spend more time in
      the house. That should help me to write more. And a little discipline would go a long way too.

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  6. Good to read you again, Pat – always worthwhile because of your honesty to yourself and others. No, don’t let your divorced status define you – apart from the freedom of beng single – you play so many more roles in life that are positive . Focus on those. Blessings.

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