How I Dealt With a Crisis In Midlife
This is a very personal story. I’m writing about it because I want to inspire and encourage you to keep trusting that the life you want and dream about is available to you…and because if you’re going through a hard time, I want you to know that you are not alone. I’m not suggesting that heartbreak doesn’t happen and that marriages are always savable, but I am suggesting that things can work out and be beautiful again. This has been on my heart for quite some time…
Truth be told, my crisis was a long time coming. The Universe was taking me on a journey and my life was torn apart for a while. To be perfectly honest, I was blindsided at first. I had no idea what was wrong, just that something was. I am of course, talking about my marriage. My husband and I have always had our struggles and I wouldn’t say that he has been the easiest man to live with, but he does have redeeming qualities (like sitting up all night with me when I’m sick) and I have always loved him. Why am I telling you all of this? It’s not that I feel obligated to tell you about my personal life, I do not. This is a story of a journey that two people went through and I hope to inspire you and I will argue that if you love someone and have hope, sometimes the fight is worth it. I always had a vision of what I knew our lives together could be and I held that very tightly.
No marriage is perfect and ours certainly was no exception. When we were married, I was very newly divorced and had a 3 year old daughter. I had no idea about how to create the life I wanted or even that creating the life you want was a possibility. I thought life just happened and I was living day to day, floundering around and wondering what the future would hold. We met at the gym, dated for a short time and then got married. We really didn’t know each other well enough to commit to living our lives together, much less raising three daughters. We had different parenting styles and grew up very differently which definitely caused some problems. I will say that I believe my husband expressed his anxiety through anger, as I think so many men in our society do because men are (were?) discouraged from showing emotion. He worked in a very male dominated industry that expected him to put career over everything and this was an extreme amount of pressure on a marriage. I on the other hand had self esteem issues (I guess anger is also a self esteem issue that is manifested differently), and needed so much validation that I never got. I longed for a romantic relationship that nurtured me.
We were very busy when our girls were younger. To say that my husband travels (traveled) a lot is (was) an understatement. The majority of the burden of raising the girls, paying the bills, cooking, cleaning, etc. was my responsibility because he was gone so much. He did pitch in when he was home and one of his redeeming qualities is that he is very handy and can fix most anything. This came from growing up with a dad who had a construction company. Together, we have lived in 4 houses, 3 of them very old. Our first house which was built in the early 1900’s, needed almost everything…updated electrical, new plumbing, etc. etc. and he did most of that work. After we had been married for about a year, Rebecca, our 2nd daughter was born. We lived in our little house on a circle for 5 years and didn’t have very much money. I got pregnant again, four years later. We only had 1 bathroom for what would be a family of 5 so…we moved again. We moved into a much newer house (1970;s) that needed just as much work and set out to renovate and make it a home. We moved into that home when our youngest daughter was 2 weeks old and it felt like I was camping with a baby. It was hard, but when we finally moved 5 years later, we had created a very livable home for our family. Those years were hard, because I was trying to run a catering business to make extra money and be a mom and exist in a sometimes very difficult relationship. Together, we had just enough “good” in our relationship to make me know that things could be better. I’ve always known that my husband loved me, but he didn’t know how to show me and quite frankly, I think it wasn’t his priority. My self esteem continued to plummet, but I tried to hold it together.
Finally, we began to be more financially stable and were able to move yet again into an another old house. We both love old houses and this one was not quite as much of a project. However, we made it a huge project by almost immediately renovating the kitchen (I still miss that kitchen) and master bedroom. I felt as if I had the house of my dreams, but still not the marriage of my dreams. It wasn’t all bad though. I was busy raising our daughters, I had good friends and life went on. My passion was cooking healthy meals in my beautiful kitchen and learning about health and wellness.
Things began to change for me at this point because I began to be interested in spirituality. I had a bitter taste in my mouth for religion and we didn’t attend church very often. Organized religion never made sense to me but it was comforting to go to church because as a young child, we never missed a Sunday at First Presbyterian. The church was a familiar place to me and full of good memories. The rest is another blog post and a long story, but suffice it to say that I didn’t want to go to church. I always knew that there was something “out there”, a higher power that was comforting to people, but it whatever it was didn’t seem available to me. That was when I found the Emerson Waldorf School in Chapel Hill. Lauren at the time was going to Greensboro Day School, our other 2 girls were enrolled almost immediately…Sarah in kindergarten and Rebecca in 1st grade.
As we got involved with the school community at the Waldorf school, I realized that I had never been around people who thought so differently than me. There were so many different cultures and different socio-economic levels represented yet, everyone seemed to coexist and I soaked in everything like a thirsty sponge. I soon got involved in volunteering and became interested in the philosophy that Waldorf Education is based on. It’s called Anthroposophy. I won’t go into detail, but look it up if you’re interested. My interest in Anthroposophy led me to read books by Maryanne Williamson, Caroline Myss and others. I was searching…for something.
We lived in our 3rd house for 5 years and then moved several blocks into another historic and beautiful home that we still live in today. By then, our girls were older, Lauren was in college and Rebecca and Sarah were growing into young women. I always have trouble moving because houses hold so many memories and I want to hold on to them. Maybe deep inside, I think I can change the past if I just hold on tight enough, I’m not sure.
During this time, my interest in spirituality became deeper and I started reading A Course In Miracles. There was about a year at that time when I can say that I was very very happy. Our marriage seemed better than ever, I was going to yoga, juicing, still heavily involved with our children (as I always will be), and exploring different ideas about life. I started to read about the Law of Attraction and going to Gabrielle Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie Workshops in New York. I was very happy exploring and learning about how to create my own reality. That time in my life, laid a foundation that got me through some very difficult times. That opening of the clouds that I was experiencing didn’t last forever. What I didn’t realize at that point was how my life was going to change. I’ve said so many times before that the only constant is change. It’s how you deal with it that counts. Honestly, I didn’t deal with change any better than my husband did. Things started to spiral downward and we grew apart. I can’t go back a pinpoint a specific reason, but it was a crisis for both of us. I felt unwanted and horrible. I allowed whatever he was going through to affect me more than I should have, but hindsight is 20/20. It’s hard to remain in a relationship that doesn’t feel authentic. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say that I wasn’t the focus of his attention for quite some time. I did know, deep in my soul that our marriage was in serious trouble, but I held out and tried not to give up. As I said before, I held on to the vision of how I wanted things to be. My faith in the God of my understanding kept me going, although some days, only barely.
After 4 years and much heartache, I believe things are better. I feel that his heart is here with me more than ever before and I truly believe that if we hadn’t gone through this hell, we would still be living in a mediocre marriage that probably wouldn’t have lasted. So in a way, looking back, I can be grateful for what we went through. We still have a lot to work on, but we are working, one day at a time. Sometimes a crisis can be the catalyst for a beautiful change. You may wonder why I’m so open about things that are so personal, but telling my story is important to me. I held on because I wanted so badly to have my family and my marriage. Nothing is or will ever be perfect, but I’m happier today than I’ve been in a long time and I’m so glad I didn’t give up!
Just as an endnote…I’ve been struggling with blog topics lately and I hope it hasn’t been to evident. I’ve wanted to speak about my situation, but wasn’t sure it was the right time. My husband, Garrick has been taking a lot of my pictures lately and is becoming more involved in Crazy Blonde Life and that’s part of the reason that I feel this post is timely.
My passions are fashion, food and living every day to the fullest. I hope you’ll continue to come back to see how I’m evolving and growing…because that’s what all of do…every single day!