MY LEMONY SNICKET MOMENT
Around the time I turned 50 a Series of Unfortunate Events (to quote Lemony Snicket) took place in my life and the consequence was that my happiness seemed to gradually drain away until it was almost non-existent. I never expected life to be perfect and I wouldn't say it had ever been calm seas and smooth sailing for any length of time, but those couple of years around my 50th birthday seemed to be intent on sucking the joy right out of me.
I think it started when my husband was made redundant from his job. Quite confronting at the best of times, but then he decided it was the opportunity he'd been waiting for to become a full-time student - studying externally from home. Not my idea of the bread winning 1950's husband who was going to support me while I kicked back and finally quit the job I disliked intensely. No, he was immersed in the world of unpaid academia while I went out to earn a crust for us.
This was followed by both our children getting married and settling in the city, two hours from our country home. It was a joy for them and for us - wonderful partners, great jobs, mortgages and all the paraphernalia that goes with "children" in their 20's........but also the final severing of the last frayed remains of the apron strings tying us together. As a mother I was pretty much redundant - job finished, boxes ticked, but now what? Any hope of the "Brady Bunch family" was completely blown away.
On top of all this, my job was becoming more and more soul sucking - I worked with a couple of narcissists who bounced their drama off each other all day long and there wasn't an end in sight because I was the sole breadwinner for my 'student' husband and myself. So, I was trudging along to work every day (praying to be kind and pleasant) and coming home again, only to turn around and do it all over again day after day after day. On top of that, my boss lost the plot and had a meltdown at my expense one day that completely knocked the stuffing out of me.
The Unfortunate Events crescendo-ed when my husband told me (completely out of the blue, and just after the Big Boss Meltdown episode) that he didn't think we had anything in common and he didn't want to be married any more. WHAT?! What do you do with that and where do you go to try and move forward? He thought it might be best if I moved out because I had an income and could afford to rent. WHAT?!! Needless to say, that didn't happen and after a lot of soul searching, and talking, and crying (by me) we worked our way through and came out the other end and survived.
All of these events and life situations created a perfect storm in my life and basically my wheels fell off. I was working in a job I hated, supporting a husband who wasn't sure if he wanted to be married to me, tucked away in the back corner by my kids, hitting middle age with a vengeance and spiraling down faster than I gave it all credit for.
LIGHT BULB MOMENT
In the end I took myself off to the doctor because I thought it must be menopause (blame it on the hormones and it can all be fixed). Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be) he told me I wasn't menopausal and asked if there was anything happening in my life to make me weepy and flat? Light bulb moment and a real wake up call as to where to go from there - HRT certainly wasn't going to fix the situation - so it was up to me!
Suffice it to say, I did a lot of serious thinking and made some major (and minor) changes in my life that turned it around from a happiness score of about "3" I'd graded myself with to a score of around "9" now days. It wasn't an overnight cure, it wasn't just one change, it wasn't me slapping myself over the back of the head and telling myself to pull up my socks. No, it was a Series of Fortunate Events - where I started to figure out who I was without all the old "tags" (mother, wife, faithful friend, work drudge etc), and I started liking the person who was emerging. I'm a work in progress, but I'm thriving now rather than wilting and weeping - what more can you ask for?
Over the next few weeks I'm going to cover some of those changes I've made, some of the discoveries I've made along the way, and how they turned me around and brought back my Mojo, my happiness, and my self-worth. I hope you'll stop by and read them and share your thoughts because the journey is only just beginning - there's so much more ahead!