Thursday, October 14, 2010

Puzzle Pieces

The week before last served as a kind of catharsis for me. I knew there was stuff going on at the time, but now with a week between and a chance to look back, I can really see the significance.

The week started with that crazy toe injury suffered by my oldest, that required a 2:00 a.m. ER visit. That made me reflect on health and deal with the tiring "only parenting" issue. The importance of my own health which has been an issue of late is all tied up with that too.

After that incident, I went out later in the week to apply for four jobs in my field of social services within nursing home settings. This was a major accomplishment for me because I think I am still suffering from lowered self-esteem due to my divorce and loss of home. Anyway, despite not being able to find my good dress shoes, I put on my interviewing outfit (nice pants and classy jacket) and hit the pavement. And I dealt with the shoes I found hoping no one would really notice my feet. This all relates around work, employment, financial security and redefining my purpose in the world.

One of the days I was out on the job hunt, the HR office was closed for lunch and I hit a local yarn store near the area to kill an hour. This is a store I used to frequent on almost a weekly basis and I became quite friendly with the owner. But I haven't gone in for about a year due to the house sale, lack of funds, and so on. The owner implored me to stop by again soon for more chatting whether or not I want to purchase some yarn. So this event relates to the area of friendship and personal interests.

Now what gets interesting is that while I was in the shop, two nice middle-aged women came in and we all got to talking. Turns out, the women belong to a group of 20 who meet at a local knitting club the town over. They invited me to join them. I was reminded of my need to build up new friendships and what better way for me to do this while engaging in my number one hobby! The women had some commonalities with me - there are two widows in the group, although they are older. There are other women also in transition with kids finishing college - so maybe not a bad group to check out. They meet at a Panera type bakery place that I know well and love, with a fireplace and chocolate croissants.

Then, another interesting aspect to all of this. In talking with these two fellow knitters, one of them mentioned that she has gone back to school to take the year-long Library Assistant Program which is something I have considered doing and want to do myself. It seemed like a sign to hear about this and the woman would be a contact to have in the program if I decide to start with a class at the local junior college this winter. So I took this as a coincidence or sign or whatever you want to call it, reminding me to hold fast to my dreams about what I want to accomplish in the future and to work at a job because I enjoy it and it brings me contentment and satisfaction.

Well, the week ended with my trip to ALDI where I overheard a middle-aged guy talking into his cell with his other half about the grocery list. And he signed off with "I love you." I stood there in the aisle and thought to myself, I am 51 years young and I want to be able to say those words to a partner again. That is important to me. I'm not going to give up on that dream either. There needs to be romantic love in my life again.

So the whole week kind of morphed into all these individual puzzle pieces that when put together assemble what is most dear to me. Like a representation of my current life and what it needs to become - all that reinvention and transformation energy that needs to be undertaken for me to move on.

As I've mentioned before, a life change seems so insurmountable because there are so many components involved:

1. Continuing to parent as an only parent.
2. Being more conscious of the importance of good health for both the boys and I.
3. Developing a new network of friends.
4. Pursing my own interests and hobbies.
5. Getting and working at a decent job now.
6. Building up some financial security.
7. Increasing my self-esteem, self-worth.
8. Taking the steps to enter the Library Assisting Program so I can begin an enjoyable second career in the future.
9. Increasing the love in my life.
1o. Learning to live a full, content and happy life on my own even without a partner right now.

I know when I think of these puzzle pieces in my head they seem overwhelming to accomplish but when I set them down as I did above, they don't seem that unreachable. Just like a jigsaw puzzle. You do a few pieces at a time. Sometimes you get a lot filled in, sometimes you don't. But you keep working to complete the entire puzzle.

I think this is why I felt the resentment I did over the summer, as I interacted with all the married moms at the baseball games. Those moms don't have to reinvent their lives right now - find love again, restart careers, make new friends, parent on their lonesome, figure out how to get a new handle on their lives. This rebuilding of a life takes such a lot of energy and strength and work. I'd much rather not be doing any of this. I had a good life before. And now I'm left to put together a really hard 1,000 piece puzzle by myself when I'm tired and sad and lonely. The choice is throwing the box into the garbage or opening it and dumping out the pieces to start the puzzle. I'm going to open the box as much as I wish I didn't have to.


  1. I am totally blown away by this post. This is HUGE. Congratulations for all the things you achieved here. You opened yourself up to the possibility of things happening, and opportunities opened themselves up to you.
    I am so heartened that you have a list and now you can start to plan activities that will make it happen and it has already started!
    I'm so looking forward to reading about your next step!

  2. Me too! Yay for you! I'm so proud of you.

  3. Your last paragraph hit the nail on the head for me. Other married folks, including me before the C word and death joined me, aren't much of a resource for this monstrous job of reinventing one's life. So I'm happy you are joining a group with widows and the hobby you so love.

    You and I are like tender shoots that have just raised their heads above the ground. We must nourish ourselves, protect ourselves lovingly, and remain still enough to root ourselves well that we may grow into tall oaks (my goal).

    Thanks for sharing the significance of your last two weeks. It helped me a lot.

  4. Great post! Love the post "label" - transformation. I believe you are turning a corner and your outlook is brighter. I am so glad you are joining the knitting group. You will be with women who have a passion for knitting and you won't have to try to "fit" in -- you DO fit in! Can't wait to hear how being part of this group helps with moving forward and the projects you will be working on, especially with Christmas just around the corner. Yay for you!!!

  5. You have inspire me to start picking up my knitting needles again. Don't think I am ready for anything else really major, but even thoughts of knowing that I can "make it" makes me feel more positive than ever before. Take care!!!

  6. Going to the knit shop and running into those two other women was absolutely wonderful. I hope you'll join the group. You need time for you, just you. Sounds like you're opening yourself up to the world. Eventually all those pieces will fit together.

  7. Julie - My steps can be pretty slow and small. We're finishing up football so I probably won't go to the knitting club until Nov. But at least I know it will be waiting for me. And I'll do more job searching next week. You know, you are a great reason for the steps I end up taking forward. You always push me to think beyond my current frame.

    Anonymous - Thanks for the cheer!

    Flo - Love your reference to the oak trees. I planted a white oak in honor of my husband at a local park because they are so majestic and strong.

    Beth - The next step is actually making it to a meeting. That will be another huge step. One thing to say I want to go but quite another to get there. My goal is to knit some Christmas ornaments so the boys and I can have a little celebration since the past two years we haven't had a tree or much in the way of decorations, etc.

    Jeanne - I am an accomplished knitter but right now am really enjoying just cranking out basic dishcloths in cotton. I've moved on to designing my own towels. For some reason the simplicity of the patterns and feel of the cotton yarn is very restoring. I also think it has something to do with mindfully wanting to "clean up" my life!

    Thelma - Just wish life would hurry up with the pieces fitting in faster than they have been.

  8. What is really exciting is how open you are to the messages that are being put in your path. That kind of serendipity really feeds itself. And what could be more fun than knitting with a nice group of women!! Well for us geeks, anyway. lol I wish I could join you!

    Your boys sound like true gifts. Well done you. :)