Midway Mindset

Lessons Learned – It's Never Too Late to Take Flight

I met my ex-husband’s girlfriend for the first time a few weeks ago at my daughter’s baby shower – a shower that I hosted for 42 of my friends and family. Dinner and a show. No pressure.

In the weeks leading up to the shower, I might have overthought the situation. It’s in the ex-wife job description. Knowing this episode of “When Worlds Collide” was getting ready to go into production, my head and heart began to play ping-pong. I didn’t feel thin enough, blonde enough, funny enough or anything enough to play a leading role. Who was she? And what would she think of me?
I’d been vowing since November to lose the extra 10 lbs I’d carried since summer. Unfortunately, the more I thought about losing weight and meeting his girlfriend, the more Hershey Kisses I grabbed from the kitchen pantry every time I passed by. Personal best, 13. My palms are small, but I have extremely long fingers. That’s the secret, really. The secret to gaining five more pounds.

Continue reading

My kids all had varying reactions to the news of our divorce. My oldest son,
24-years-old at the time, had always been the practical one. He thanked us for a perfect childhood, said he appreciated the sacrifices we had made and then asked if he could come home the following weekend to get his old toys out of the attic before we sold them. My 20-year-old had a similar take. He was living at home at the time and knew my tears had stained every floor in the house and that happiness had been a lean commodity. He wasn’t surprised and just wanted us to be happy. But, my 22-year-old daughter had questions – heartbreaking questions that came from blurred lines and a rapidly fading family photo.
Continue reading

10733893_10154695436090307_2470662863029310153_oFour years ago, much of my life as I knew it was disintegrating. I’d been diagnosed with a handful of chronic, serious illnesses; my marriage was ending, my kids were grown and gone and I felt like I had little control over the direction my life was heading. I was terrified.

I don’t typically indulge that four-letter word fear, but I had been afraid of a lot lately. Fearful my kids would resent me or my husband for the irreparably cracked marriage. Scared we’d never be a family again. Terrified of being sick. Anxious I’d be too ill to support myself. Apprehensive that no one would ever want me again. Nervous of dying alone. Dreading leaving my dry cleaner. (The struggle was real. I frickin’ loved my dry cleaner.) I was a bundle of tears and fears, desperately looking for a way to feel like I had my feet planted firmly on the ground.
Continue reading

My first “Me, too” experience was in high-school. Straight from central casting, enter the jock boyfriend who used manipulation to try to get what he wanted. When I resisted and said no, I was called a prude, laughed at, made to feel ever so less than. He caused me to question the way I was raised, the things I believed, to doubt what I wanted. And because I had the self-esteem of a gnat, it almost worked. I said nothing. We all know how this one ends. The girl gets dumped when the guy doesn’t get what he wants – and yet he tells everyone what he thinks they want to hear. And it doesn’t matter if you did or you didn’t. Welcome to your first lesson in loss of control.
Continue reading

I spent the last few nights removing all traces of me and my family from my home. I took all of the photographs and turned them around to the image that was there when I bought the frame. I inserted blank pages into the 5 X 7 spaces, leaving even more to the imagination. I color sorted my closet and rid it of half of the shoes and any trace of lingerie because people selling their homes certainly don’t wear too many shoes or have sex. Duh.
Continue reading

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

I understand what Gandhi was saying. The good guys always win. Blah blah blah. Truth and love overcoming evil can be a hard concept to swallow when you awaken to the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history; when morning after morning what happened while you were sleeping doesn’t make any sense; when you lose count of how many days you’ve said to your love, “Oh dear, God. It happened again.”
Continue reading

Dear Baby Girl,

Ever since you told me you were pregnant, I knew instinctively you’d be a great mom. But, when I looked at your face as you heard the whoomp-whoomp beat of your first child’s heart, I realized you already were one. The anxiety and anticipation while your doctor swirled the ultrasound wand went on for so long that my own heart skipped a bit. The joy and relief on your face as this stranger in a white coat assured you the baby seemed healthy and strong was like nothing I’d ever seen in you.

Your eyes suddenly dissolved into puddles of parenthood.

Continue reading

We are all midway through something every single day. It can be our life, school, parenthood, a career, a diet, or something as simple as learning a new skill. When we’re midway through a goal or a stage, we’ve gained perspective, our confidence has grown and we’ve probably earned a few bruises and learned some tough lessons. The flip side to that is that the initial excitement and newness have worn off and we’ve developed that awful thing we call a routine.(And the crowd says, YUCK.) We aren’t quite complacent yet, but we’ve started to take things for granted. We’re getting brave, we’re developing some mad skills, yet, all we can think about is what’s next. We are coming into our own and don’t even take a breath to realize it. We don’t see it. We don’t feel it. Perspective? What perspective? Irritation sets in. Criticism. Impatience. Boredom. We are going through the motions and often dreading every moment of it. We just want to be done and move onto the next phase, (kinda like shoveling in green beans so you can move onto the creme brulee.) When are we going to move on, move up, and get to the good stuff? When do we taste the crusty goodness?

What if we took the time to appreciate our midway points? What if we had the mindset that we are living the good stuff and making magic every single day no matter where we are in the process? What if we weren’t so hard on ourselves and recognized that we’re still learning and growing and that whatever stage we’re in is THE most important part of the process and deserves to be celebrated? What if we didn’t dream about what’s next but appreciated where we are? What if we were authentic and met each other half-cooked with gooey centers and figuring shit out? And where would we be if we then took the precious time to get messy, respect and enjoy that?

It took me a long time for this mindset to set in. I couldn’t wait to get older, to date, to get married, to have a house, to have children. I rushed it all, went through the motions, and I barely remember any of it. And some really bad things happened because of it. I didn’t savor life like I should have. I was so worried about looking ahead that I forgot to plant my feet and look down. Standing still and feeling the grass between your toes is so important.

I am midway through a lot of things in my life right now (least of which is a bottle of Pinot Noir.) Not all of it’s good. I have some serious illnesses. I’m divorced. I’m almost three years into dating a man whose longest relationship was seven years. My career is stalled. Retirement is looming and I seem to spend every spare dollar on travel instead of my IRA. Yet, I am enjoying every moment of it. It’s not always easy, but I’ve learned to accept where I am, not yearn for where I’m going. Having a plan is important, but grace and appreciation for each step along the way are even better. I’m walking barefoot through life and have the Midway Mindset.

I lived in the same house in Missouri from the year I was born until I was dragged kicking and ya’lling to North Carolina when I was 14 years old. My subdivision, Apple Hill, sat across the street from the elementary school and made Leave it to Beaver’s neighborhood look like a crack den. The adults would porch sit most evenings as we launched our Schwinns from homemade bike ramps or played Kick the Can. Once the sun went down we would follow the cigarette smoke and laughter wafting into the trees and join our parents on the hard, brick ledge. In the winter months we roller skated in my basement or Radio Flyer’ed for hours until we ended up in my mom’s kitchen stripping off the wet and slurping tomato soup by the fire. Cue the Bing Crosby.
Continue reading

When I was 16 years old I developed a very rare and typically fatal blood kidney disease. Spoiler alert! (It didn’t kill me.) I did, however, spend much of the first semester of my junior year of high-school in an intensive care unit receiving peritoneal dialysis, plasmapheresis and sporting a breathing tube, a catheter and an oh, so sexy, NG (nasogastric) tube. Not exactly what I wanted to be wearing to the Homecoming dance. No one ever told me I probably wasn’t going to make it past Labor Day.
Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: