Friday, 1 July 2016

HOW I LOST MY HAPPINESS ~ AND HOW I FOUND IT AGAIN

the story of how I lost my happiness and how I found it again

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.

FAMILY DRAMA

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.

WORK DRAMA

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.

MARRIAGE DRAMA

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!

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the story of how I lost my happiness and how I found it again

31 comments:

  1. Leanne, so happy for you! Wow, that's quite a turnaround and I can see how happy and proud you are to reach this happy place! It was all within, wasn't it... So all you had to do was follow your heart and soul through the worst of times! It's very inspiring to see the sense of confidence in you... Such s fabulous thought for a Friday post, when I'm looking at making some key changes in my life to get my mojo back! Best wishes Leanne... Hope it only gets better and better from now on! 😊

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    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment Esha - when life knocks you back a few times it's easy to sit there and feel sorry for yourself, but sometimes you have to look at how you can turn it around and get to work on yourself. I hope you pop back to read some of my tips :)

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  2. Happy to hear your mojo is back, work and personal stress at the same time- gosh your're a tough kid! Happy Friday and have a great weekend :)

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    1. Thanks so much Lee - I feel like a completely different woman to the one who went through all that - it's surprising what a bit of positive action can do!

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  3. Leanne, you are one amazing lady for sure! I can imagine what a tough ride it must have been for you, but so happy that you've battled it to emerge with flying colours! Look forward to reading about your saga, I am sure it will be a source of inspiration for many of us.

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    1. Thanks Kala - I've missed you since the A-Z challenge but I have popped over to your blog for a little read a few times :)

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  4. Leanne, this is a powerful sharing! So much I can relate to. I was wondering if you'd consider my posting this is my Guest Blogger series. It would bring more bloggers to your upcoming posts who will be equally inspired. Here's the link about Guest Bloggers. You can respond through Contact in my menu. Thank you!
    https://meinthemiddlewrites.com/2016/05/12/an-invitation/

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    1. That's wonderful Mary Lou - I have sent you my details and my contact info if you want to use this I'd be honoured. I think there are a lot of midlife women out there who have similar stories to tell :)

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  5. Amazing how things just pile up and pile up until one day, we're inundated! What rare strength and courage you have to grab hold and turn it all around when so many the world today would just give a shrug and a 'meh' and move on. So looking forward to hearing about your discoveries!

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    1. thanks Diane - I think it's easy to shrug and say "poor me" but sooner or later you have to put on your big girl pants and work out how to move forward - I'd didn't want to be a miserable old woman!

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  6. I look forward to reading about it. You know, I am convinced that I was blessed with an overload of serotonin. I am probably the happiest person around and euphoric, even at times. I know, lucky.
    Carol
    http://carolcassara.com/daily-ritual/

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    1. If you could distill that seratonin out and share it around the world would be an amazing place Carol - I think it's being sucked out of people faster than they can produce it now days.

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  7. Dear Leanne ...Thanks so much for your post ! Esha my dear friend shared it ! Its a gift I needed so badly right now ! Your story is very inspiring and renews my faith in the fact that it just takes that one moment to turn it all around ! I nurture the fond hope that in the not so distant future I will get my mojo back ! Stay blessed my dear . Loads of love and hugs !

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    1. Hi Aru - when you're in the middle of it all it feels really hopeless and the tunnel seems really long. I hope you find some inspiration from the lessons I learned along the way - and I'd love you to keep me updated on how you go about finding that mojo again (you definitely will if you look for it with determination!) xx

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  8. Leanne, thank you for this amazing post. Wow! You have me hooked! I'll be back to read every Friday!

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    1. Glad you want to read along Shirley - I'm hoping it will be really positive and give the people who read my posts a bit of encouragement and a lift to their day x

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  9. Hi Leanne,

    What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? Bless your heart for overcoming all those traumatic obstacles. I found myself in a similar situation with my hubs a few years back, but another woman was involved. We decided to work on our marriage and have rebuilding ever since. Sending hugs your way.

    B

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    1. There are a lot of us who seem to have had some sort of crack appear in our marriage when we thought we were past the stage of having to worry. I'm so sorry you had another woman to deal with as well (that puts even more pressure on whether to stay or go) Good on you for working your way through it - it takes longer than we think to get things back in balance but it it's worth it to know we did our absolute best. Hugs right back to you xx

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  10. Hi Leanne,

    My wheels came off right before I turned 40. Husband walked out (thank goodness) and a few months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Here I am 12.5 years later and I couldn't be more in love with my life. Pills don't solve our happiness crisis'...we do. Loved your article!

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    1. Wow Peggy! You certainly had a couple of Lemony Snicket moments of your own! I am so glad you got through them and out the other side with a positive and happy outcome - so many let it dictate the rest of their life and live in a way that isn't really living at all.

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  11. Sometimes it really takes moments of shock, sadness and defining moments to wake us up doesn't it. You have come so far and are a strong, beautiful woman of midlife. I'm looking forward to your series. Take care. x

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    1. Thanks so much Sue - it's women like you who I've met through this blog who have inspired me to be the best person I can possibly be. Bad stuff becomes good stuff if we let it motivate us to move forward and grow stronger. x

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  12. I'm so sorry to hear that you went through so many of these awful situations, but glad to hear that you are starting to get your happiness back!

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    1. Thanks Marcia - life is definitely what you make it and I'm so much further down the "happiness" trail than I was back then - and all my lovely blogging friends have helped me get there!

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  13. What a moving and transparent post, Leanne. I've been reading your blog since close to the beginning, and your "happiness score" increase has been evident in your writing. I admit I have been curious as to the behind the scenes life that has contributed to the finding of your mojo, so I'm really glad you are writing your story! :) I hate that you had such a perfect storm of events at once, but I love that you decided to face them head on once you had your lightbulb moment. You were facing some biggies, and in your shoes, I think most people would turn and run. I, for one, am so glad you decided to start a blog! :)

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    1. Thanks so much Wendy - you are another one of the wonderful women who have inspired me to move forward and to celebrate this stage of life rather than turning into a sad sack who nobody wants to be around. This blog has certainly been the most surprising boost to finding happiness because I started with no expectations and I'm so thrilled with the connections and friends I've made along the way. I'm hoping my posts might help others who are stuck back where I was a few years ago. x

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  14. Leanne - those were certainly some "sucky" years. I look forward to hearing "the rest of the story" ! #overthemoon

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    1. Hi Cathy - I guess without the "sucky" years you don't get to appreciate the good ones so much :)

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  15. I'm so happy for you that you figured it all out. You certainly deserve all of the best. Thanks for sharing at the Blogger's Pit Stop.

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    1. thanks so much Debbie - I always love the Pit Stop link up x

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  16. I'm so pleased you managed to turn your life round - it is amazing how life eventually pans out when at the time the walls seem to be crumbling & then like a phoenix you reemerge to become stronger, braver & happier!

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