starting over

Starting Over Later In Life

It's perfect timing whenever we are starting over in life! I often hear from people that they think it is too late to meet the love of their life, to create a new business, or to find a new path with meaning and purpose. Not so! My grandmother married the love of her life at 75, showing me that we are never too old to have our dreams fulfilled. It is only too late if you have given up on the possibility of fulfilling your life dream or purpose. But life has never given up on you. If you have the courage and the willingness to take a risk - anything is possible when it comes to feeling a heart of love and joy. Join me as I spend time with two courageous women who are embarking on new life adventures. They share the inner work it took to get to the place of saying Yes to life!

Loss, Grieving and Letting Go by Dawn Holland

My last Focusing Inward writing was about starting over in my new life. The purpose of that writing was to share my experience of moving forward using the skills and techniques I have developed and acquired over the years. These vital skills support my transition from where I was before my transition, into a new way of living. This lifestyle is so very different and a major life adjustment. I am ready to share another important aspect of moving forward. There is a deep experience of loss and grief as I let go of the past, embrace the present and plan for the future.

Many people think of grieving as something that is done when there is a death of an individual, especially someone who matters in our lives. That certainly is one of the times we grieve. But the aching feeling of loss that I am now experiencing has to do with a different kind of death or loss.

kahil g quote

For almost 20 years I had a dream, a belief of what my life was and would be. It was something that seemed (at the time) unshakeable. My husband was my best friend, my mentor and the love of my life. Whenever I imagined how my life would move forward, the one constant was that we would be together, that we would solve every problem and grow our lives as a couple. Now that dream, that belief, is shattered and I am experiencing a deep and profound sense of grief. There are so many aspects to this feeling of loss that I can’t even fully understand it. There is the realization that he will no longer be by my side or a part of my future. There is the loss of a business we shared and loved. There was the sacrifice, on my part, of a home and friends I adored, in a place that soothed my soul. My reality was built around the life I used to live and the person I shared my life with.

Now all of that is over.

Now I am in a whole new world with new people. No matter how loving and supportive they are, and believe me they are wonderful, they cannot erase the loss I am going through, they cannot take away my pain; they cannot heal me overnight as I wish they could. This is a process that must unfold, as it will.

Yes, I am using all my self-soothing and self-care practices which do help. And at the same time it is only with the passage of the hours of the day and the days of the weeks and months to come that I can fully engage in this new life, while kindly, gently let go of my old life. Frequently the patterns of response I have to my new life situations are what I used for the way I once lived my life. They don’t always work now! That leaves me feeling lost and confused at times. It is a very emotional period in my life and I must respect myself as a multitude of feelings and emotions rise up inside me.

I am blessed to be in situations, most of the time, where I can allow the tears and sadness to be released freely. There are also times when I want to shut down because I simply don’t want to feel, at all. I need a break. And thankfully there are times when I feel fine and can move through the hours with a light heart. It is a roller coaster that I cannot predict. When will I rise up with joy and excitement? When will I dip with sadness and pain? Treating myself with patience, kindness and love are the best remedy. Sometimes it is hard to remember to do that because I am used to being there for others, not being there for me!

It is time to change. I must change my old patterns if I want to move on in a happy and healthy way.

I wish I knew how long this grieving will take. I wish I could clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t and I can’t. But what I do have is self faith that at some point in any moment I will find myself at peace and know that I am reaching my new normal, that new balance that is already out there waiting for me.

Anxiety and Financial Responsibility by Dawn Jepson

Anxiety and financial responsibility can go hand-in-hand until we feel powerfully able to provide for ourselves. My life is an example of this presently. It frightens me to death to think of having to support myself financially, without any help from anyone else. I have never done it. From birth to 38 years old I had someone else make sure my bills were paid, my parents or a husband were my resources. I worked teen jobs as most of us did - a burger joint or two, retail, babysitting. But that was pocket money. I didn’t have to pay for college, accrued no loans and accumulated no debt. I married right after I received my first college degree and became a housewife (no children for awhile). In fact I married and divorced two times until, briefly single, I finally began to attempt to support myself. Child support payments and a part time job as a companion to my grandparents began my experience of being somewhat financially independent.

This time of my life was both scary and exhilarating. I made ends meet, but just barely. As things got tighter and credit card bills became harder to pay I noticed anxiety making it‘s presence known more loudly than ever before. Combined with the onset of menopause, anxiety blossomed like a flower, and not one that smelled the least bit sweet. I had to ask for financial help but it didn’t feel like a big deal. I was comfortable letting myself be helped by others.

I was never afraid to be physically alone, without someone by my side. I was never afraid I wouldn’t have a life for myself when my daughter left. I always knew I would have friends to confide in. But I was anxiety ridden over having to make the money I needed to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. I was scared I would lose it all and be homeless. I just wasn’t prepared to take care of myself financially. No one told me that financial independence might be my responsibility one day. No one warned me that my career choices might cause me a problem because they might not provide enough to pay the bills. I had no plan because I was never warned that I would need one.

Many of the wise financial gurus of today recommend people have a savings account, at least one retirement fund, an extra 3, 6, or 9 months of salary stashed away in case we find ourselves out of work. At 57 years old I am beginning where someone who just graduated from college might start. Wow this is scary!

Financial anxiety is torturous. It has triggered all my worst nightmares. How did I let myself get to this point? Why did I bury my head? And what could possibly be the lesson in all this?

As I have shared in previous writings, for me anxiety paralyzes. If I become paralyzed then it becomes hard to do what is necessary to begin to build financial security. Believing in myself and that financial independence is possible comes first. Believing this is hard to do when I am stuck in fear.

What I have learned through all of this is to use the tools I have acquired and use to help my clients. The other important step for me has been to ask for wisdom and ideas from people who are financially successful - find out how they got there.

As I now put these tools into action I am finding moments of calm. It is easier to shift my thinking from lack to abundance. But it does take persistence and patience. Old habits and behavior/response patterns don’t always let go easily.

What really excites me is that it is never too late to change. Life is an adventure! We truly never know what is around the next corner!!! My anxiety around becoming financially independent eases as I remember to send myself positive messages every day about what I want to create in my future.