Sunday, March 20, 2011

60 & Single: Quotes to live by on the road to recovery

By the time my divorce was final, the kitchen refrigerator was covered with artifacts from my rapidly changing life -- Quotes to inspire me and photos and cards from friends and family. At 60, I'd expected to be drifting toward retirement, basking in the glow of a successful career and marriage. Instead I found myself struggling to understand what happened.
The therapist that I turned to for help explained that older men usually leave long-time marriages for one of two reasons. Either the marriage has been unhappy for a long time, the kids are grown, so it's time to make a change. Or they look in the mirror and don't like what they see. A new, exciting relationship makes all the difference. I'd have to say the latter reason rings true for me. When he explained that he'd met someone new, I was blindsided in a way that took away my breath. It diminished everything about the life we'd shared and generally crushed my heart. A big ball of pain just sat on my chest so that at night I had to leave the TV on to keep from going crazy. Where am I going with this?
While the main content of this blog is meant to assist 60 & Single women with financial and retirement planning, it's also about surviving. It's about working through the pain, the loss, the fear and the heartache of being on your own whether from divorce or the death of a spouse. If you've been married most of your life being alone feels weird, frankly lonely. One way or another you live through it, take charge and move on.
The front of my refrigerator now offers a rather pristine landscape, clear except for a self-portrait photo of Ken and me on a ferris wheel two summers ago and a card from Ken telling me of his love. In the nearly four years since life as I had known it fell apart, I've divorced, grieved, retired and remarried. All while letting go, moving on and building a new life. So far, so good. But it is helpful to look back, to see where I've been and what helped me through it all. In many ways, I'm still on my own. You can't make old friends, you can't be someone's step-mother when they're already grown. That's OK. Below are quotes from the refrigerator:

- "We live in two worlds...the world into which we are born, and the other world that was born within us. Both may be a blessing or a curse. We choose." - Celtic saying.

- "God Loves You," from a brochure handed to me by a street person in Seattle.

- "In the depths of winter, I discovered that within I had an invincible summer," - Albert Camus, French novelist.

- "Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." - Viktor Frankl, psychologist and author of "Man's Search for Meaning."

- "When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves," Viktor Frankl.

- "I learned that true forgiveness includes total self-acceptance. And out of acceptance wounds are healed and happiness is possible again.  -  Catherine Marshall, (1915-1983)  author of "Beyond Ourselves: A woman's Pilgrimage in Faith."

- "You, God, must be responsible. You must have put it there. So what do I do with it now? " - Catherine Marshall, American author.

- "If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?" - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian author.
- "Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age." - Jeanne Moreau, French actress.

- "It is the freinds you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter." - Marlene Dietrich, German-born American actress.

- "If only one could tell true love from false love as one can tell mushrooms from toadstools." - Katherine Mansfield, English writer.

- "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." - Dolly Parton, American singer and actress.

- "Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity." - Oprah Winfrey, American talk show host and multimillionaire.

- "If I'm too strong for someone, that's their problem." - Glenda Jackson, English actress.

- "If you wish to be free, there must be a sacrifice," - Biblical.

- "If I am faithful to God, he will never fail me." 

- Question to actress Catherine Deneuve, actress: "You seem to choose to play women who don't win? Deneuve: "Maybe you don't see them the way I do. I don't think that the one who leaves and makes the other suffer wins, and I don't think the ones who are abondoned are the ones who lose."

- "It's never too late -- in fiction or in life -- to revise." - Nancy Thayer, American writer.

Onward! - Julia


  1. Thanks. You make some wonderful points. I'm so glad I found this site.