Category Archives: friends

Post Divorce Life Hacks You Don’t Need

I recently read an article called, “Life Hacks You Don’t Need”. The author listed things like using coffee grounds to get rid of under-eye bags, hemorrhoid crème to decrease under-eye puffiness, dunking your face into a bowl of cold water to set your makeup and other interesting, albeit a tad crazy, things. I thought about some things I heard after I divorced that are similar to these “life hacks” (not at all interesting, but totally crazy):

1. “Just Get Over It!” Okay, this may not necessarily be a hack, but I heard this from sooo many people! I was married for almost 25 years. One does not just “get over it” after investing that much time in a relationship. It takes time and some good counseling.

2. “We Didn’t Like Him Anyway” Your friends and family may want to be ‘encouraging’ by saying this, but it’s far from encouraging. I may not have made the best decision, but at the time, I thought it was. Can you just keep your opinions to yourself?

3. “There Are Lots of Other Fish in The Sea” What, is there a fishing rod sticking out of my back pocket? I am not a serial dater/marry-er. What if I just want to be alone for a while? What if I just want to step back and take a look at my life and where I want to go? Getting back into the dating pool takes time and courage. Dating isn’t it used to be 30 years ago! Who even says I need to date at all?

4. “What Are You Going to do With Your Newfound Freedom?” Granted, at times it may have seemed to me like I was in a prison. However, I had three amazing children, I home schooled them, and basically had a good life. Ex didn’t beat me or try to control me. I am thankful for that. Give me time to adjust to a new ‘normal’. Let me figure out how to live as me. I can’t just run right out there and jump into a different life.

5. “He Wasn’t That Good (Nice, Handsome, etc.) Anyway” We all have our faults. I was no angel during the latter years of my marriage. Stop passing judgement. He is who he is and now we are divorced.

It has been my experience that people often don’t know what to say when they hear about a particularly rough experience in another’s life. Most people are not that good at being encouraging and tend to blurt out their first thought. The majority of people told me, “Oh, I’m sorry.” I learned to say, “Thank you” instead of “I’m not!”

We need to be compassionate toward our friends who are going through a divorce. If we don’t know what to say, be quiet or say, “I don’t know what to say.” Be there for that friend – listen, take them out for a cup of coffee or for dinner. Don’t pass judgement on them or their ex. Be kind and give grace. Stay tuned . . .

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I’ve Got Sunshine

We’ve had so much rain in Mytown this winter that when we see sunshine, everyone makes a mad dash to be outside. I work on a college campus. It’s warm today and the sun is out. Students, faculty and staff are taking advantage of the beautiful, albeit windy, weather. There are tables and benches throughout campus where folks are eating lunch, studying or just enjoying the nice day before we get another round of bad weather tonight.

I remember the first few months after I got divorced. It felt like months of very bad weather – no sun, rainy, windy and cold. There were days I really didn’t want to get out of bed. Sometimes it seemed like those dark days would never end. I clung to my faith and wrote a great deal in my journal. Thank goodness for my dogs, my friends and Cycle Dude. They all kept me from slipping into a very deep and dark depression. I am grateful for those little rays of sunshine in my early post-divorce days.

Today is glorious! I went outside at lunch and wanted to do a Maria Von Trapp (The Sound of Music) – twirl around on a hilltop and burst out, “The hills are alive!!!”  I remember feeling this way when the bad post-divorce months and years eventually passed. Monday, March 18, will mark two years since I moved in with Cycle Dude.

Sometimes I miss living by myself in the apartment – just me and the dogs. I miss the quiet intimacy of sitting alone in the dark, listening to the sound of my own heartbeat, praying and reflecting on my day. Then I remember the nights of loud music and even louder neighbors’ arguments and I am thankful that I live with Cycle Dude!

I am thankful that those dark post-divorce days are gone. I am thankful for the sunshine that is so prevalent in my life now – the laughter of my oldest grandbaby, the smiles of my children when I spend time with them, the hugs and kisses from the man I love, snuggles from my pups and the warm friendship of old and new friends. The dark days don’t last forever – sunshine is on the way!! Stay tuned . . . .

To Be a Friend

I have a friend who works for the same hospital in Mytown that I used to work for. We didn’t start out as friends. In fact, about two months after I started working there, she called me and laid into me: “I have NEVER had as many problems with your office as I now have with you! I have been here for over 13 years and you have only been here for two months!”

I must admit that I was taken aback by her biting words. Even though I felt like crying, I didn’t. I was determined to be nice to this lady. Over the next three years, whenever I would email her or call her, I would be as nice as possible to her. When I told her I was leaving for another job, she panicked. “I will miss you! You have inspired me to be a better person!” I must admit that I was taken aback by her complimentary words.

She and I got together for dinner about a month ago. When I emailed her to invite her to dinner, she was very grateful. At dinner, she told me, “I am not a very nice person. I was surprised when you emailed me.” I almost cried. I told her, “I can be a pain in the patooty sometimes, too – just ask my children!” I invited her to go to dinner next week with my best buddy whom I have known for over 15 years.

It takes a great deal of effort to be a good friend. When we commit to being someone’s friend, we commit to the seen and the unseen. We commit to them – past, present and future. That’s a very difficult thing to do. What if they have a bad, dangerous past? What if they are extremely needy right now? What if they do something really stupid in the future?

We all have something in our past that makes us vulnerable and maybe a bit dangerous. Your friend could be needy right now because of her past. All she may need is someone to talk to who will show some compassion. I can guarantee you that I will do something stupid in the future – never fails. So will you.

To be a friend we need to step outside of ourselves, to b-e willing to give our best when our friend is at their worse, and to be willing to give abundant grace to others (and ourselves!). My best buddy has done all of that for me. She knows my past, has seen me at my worst, has given me abundant grace and compassion and still wants to hang out with me.

To be a friend is to take a huge risk. I am so glad my best buddy risked it with me. She has been a wonderful friend. Who will you take a risk with? Stay tuned. . . .

 

A Better Person

I have recently shared that I will be leaving my current job for a job at my Alma Mater – just across the river from where I am now.  Earlier this week, I was emailing a colleague in the Accounts Payable Department. She was sad to hear I am leaving. She told me, “You have made me want to be a better person and I’m working on it.” I felt humbled.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man (or woman) sharpens the countenance of his (her) friend.” I told my colleague that one of the signs of a good relationship – personal or professional – is that those involved become better people. There should be people in our lives who “sharpen” us and make us better people.

How does this happen?

Professional: Coworkers, supervisors and business associates should motivate us to be and to do our best. Improper relationships, shady dealings, work gossip and ‘working/cheating the system’ is not our best. Taking advantage of other people in the workplace is not our best.

Personal: Whether the relationship is friendship or romantic, we should aspire to influence one another for the best. Gossip, stealing, mocking, selfishness, any kind of abuse – none of these things is our best. Compassion, integrity, generosity, faith – these things are our best and we should encourage them in those we love and are friends with. If you have personal relationships that are dragging you down, causing an overwhelming darkness in your life or are just plain unhealthy (co-dependence, addiction, abuse, etc.), it’s time to re-evaluate and end that relationship.

I have a couple of friends who have been with me through the good times and bad times in my life. I have been with them through the same. One friend I refer to as ‘My Best Buddy”. Over the past 13+ years, we have sharpened one another. We have also rounded down the edges that have gotten a little too sharp! We know we can depend on one another (like the time she called me at 3am because she had a water pipe burst). Cycle Dude has made me a better person – more at peace, more generous.

Take time to consider if your relationships have made you a better person. If not, seriously consider ending them. Life is too short to waste it on bad relationships. Stay tuned. . .

 

It’s Your Decision

I had a job interview yesterday. I was excited about it and thought I was prepared. However, when I got to the interview, the three people in the room all seemed to be in a sour mood. No one smiled and it seemed like I was just a token interview that no one wanted to do. I almost got up and walked out. But I thought, “Well, I’m here – stick it out.”

I was quite upset when I left the interview and I was on the verge of tears. Luckily, I had planned dinner with my best buddy. She was disappointed that I did not feel good about the interview. I thought, “You know – this is my decision: am I going to feel bad about myself because the interview didn’t go like I thought it would? Am I going to feel bad because my friend is disappointed?” I talked with Cycle Dude about it a little bit, then I decided that I did what I could do and it’s in the past.

I have blogged before about giving other people the power to make you feel bad. Short story – DON’T! I decided not to let those three people or my friend cause me to feel bad about myself. I know my abilities, I know my skills and I know what I do on a daily basis that contributes to my job. Last week I received a phone call from someone at my job. She said she had been to three different departments before she was told to call me. I asked her, “You were told to call this department?” She said, “No, I was told to call YOU, that you would know how to help me.” That made me feel great! (And, of course, I did help her and followed up to make sure she had gotten what she needed.)

Each day we are faced with what a friend calls “life-giving” or “non-life-giving” decisions. Are we going to make the decision to let others speak negatively into our lives? Are we going to allow bad experiences to ruin our day? Each day is a gift and each decision should be life-giving. Sometimes we make bad decisions and things don’t go the way we anticipated. Stand up, brush yourself off and move on. It’s your decision. Stay tuned. . .

 

Medals

One of my siblings lives in San Antonio, TX. Every April, the city celebrates Fiesta San Antonio. Each year, new commemorative medals are issued as part of the festival. There are some people who have been collecting commemorative medals for years. Collecting the medals is like collecting pins from different places and events.

I have my own medals – they are known as wrinkles and gray hair. Yesterday, I went to get my hair trimmed. As the stylist was showing me how much she had trimmed off, she showed me the back of my head. I gasped! There, buried under several strands of dirty dishwater blonde hair was a streak of gray hair! I have gray hairs here and there, but I did not know I had such a big streak. I began to laugh!

I have earned every single one of those gray hairs – three terrible two-year-olds, three teenaged drivers, three children away at college, three weddings, one hard-earned Bachelor’s degree, one $%@# ex, four moves in less than two years and four jobs. Those wrinkles around my eyes and mouth? Laughing with my children and friends, smiling at my grand baby, singing in choirs and praise bands, and loving Cycle Dude with my whole heart.

Am I afraid or ashamed of my gray hair and wrinkles? Heck no! They are reminders that the life I have lived thus far has not be easy and has not always been happy. But I am grateful for these visual reminders that I have not stopped living life, that I am not afraid to share that life with others and that I am grateful to God for this amazing life He has given me. (And yes, I do use sunscreen and always wear a hat when I am outside.)

My wrinkles and gray hair remind me that my life has not been perfect, but I would not trade my ‘medals’ for anything in the world! Stay tuned. . . .

It’s Going to be Okay

Several years ago, I came across a “Survivors Guide for PMS”. I clipped the piece from the paper and put it up on my refrigerator. Some of the tips were things like, “Don’t make any big decisions when you’re PMSing, get plenty of sleep, don’t tackle all the household chores at once”, etc. The one that really caught my attention was for the guys, “Hold her close and tell her everything is going to be okay.”

We all need to be reassured sometimes. When we have that horrible day, when we made that really stupid mistake, when we said the absolute wrong thing at the absolute wrong time, when did something really dumb that we laughed about in others – yup, been there done it all!

A couple of weeks ago I had my review at work –  and the day before was the anniversary of my dad’s death. I cried all the way home that day. When I got home I just went over to Cycle Dude and cried in his arms. He wrapped his arms around me and said, “It will be okay.” Of course, he was right. The next day I was feeling better. But at that moment, his arms and those words were just what I needed.

Do you need to be reassured? Do you need to know that it’s going to be ok? Let me give you a cyber hug and tell you, yes, it really is going to be okay. Your life may not be perfect, but you’ll be okay. Give yourself a hug! Stay tuned. . . .