Itty Bitty’s Moving


Hello my friends, I am in the process of transfering my wordpress.com blog to my new website www.ittybittyboomer.com – please check out the new website, and register there to continue following me while I’m in this strange time of transition!

With any luck within a week everything here will be there …

Thank you!

The Itty Bitty Boomer

Shades of Grief -Divorce


Grief

A week ago I alluded to my amicable divorce.   It still is, we are in agreement on all things and will be doing a no response/uncontested action.  Taking care of business.  It’s a relief that my terms are not being questioned – though it’s simply whats yours is yours, what’s mine is mine.  But I am grateful that we are able to be calm, rational adults.

It is, none the less, the death of a dream – of a hope – of a partnership where we were to stand beside each other and face life’s challenges together.

I have, over the last week, found myself grieving the death of the dream. The death of the hope of finally having found someone who was committed to standing beside me as I dealt with the challenges of my world.  He just isn’t capable of understanding and embracing my life’s challenges.   That’s ok – I don’t hold it against him – I just need to move on and deal with them on my own.  It is a lot to ask someone.   I was just hopeful.

And so I grieve – and I know that as I process these feelings, as I have in the past with the death of my kids’s father 23  years ago, and the death of my parents, and the crash and burn and escape from a brainfart marriage to an alcoholic/addict that ended 9 years ago, I will find a place to tuck away the grief. And the love. And the memories. And even the hope.

And I will be stronger for it.

And I am content being alone – for it is much easier than being lonely with someone you had a dream with.

cropped-menjeff.jpg
Maui, 2011 ~  Thanks For The Dream, J.  Take care of you.

Namaste – I honor you who are grieving a loss.  Be kind to yourself, and take your time.

Itty Bitty

Turning Of Seasons And Changes


Not a day goes by when I want to post here about something going on in my life. The problem is that I am always concerned about the anonymity of those about which I am compelled to write.  So I don’t.  And I don’t know why anyone would want to read about all my DRAMA!  I get sick of it.

My existence continues in flux – all areas of it, it seems.

Work/Income/Self Esteem

My little Villa has now closed after two years – the owner deciding to sell for personal reasons – so I spent the summer wrapping up the last of 8 or so weddings, the last one being November 1.  That chapter of my life is now closed.

While I would love to develop my wedding planning & coordinating business as I have been toying with over the last 6 months to continue on in the wedding/special event industry,  the reality is that my social security income (which I filed for in April) is just not enough to sustain me or allow me to feel productive and contributing to my home.

I have begun applying for hotel management positions once again.  At 64, and in an industry full of youngsters, it will be challenging.  One application (for which I was recommended) went totally unanswered.

A second application has resulted, at least, in a phone interview tomorrow with a corporate HR person.  We shall see how it goes ….

Family

And while trying to carry on with some semblance of a normal life, much of my time has been consumed with nudging my youngest (39) through the maze of recovering to the extent he can from a year and a half of a mixed-state manic/depressive bi-polar episode.  He is working to pick up the pieces of a life fallen apart.  He is dealing with probation as a result of a substance abuse issue he works daily to keep at bay.  He engages 3-4 days a week with a wellness recovery program that deals with mental illness issues on a broad scale and works 3-4 days a week at a minimum wage job (restaurant server) after 10 years of earning $75-$90K a year.  His anxiety levels and mania make it impossible for him to return to his former career path at this time.

As busy as he is, he doesn’t sleep many nights (mania) and efforts by his mental health support team to find the right “cocktail” of meds is a slow process.  We know they are trying, and it IS proving a slow process.

Marriage

And to make it all more challenging, my husband’s home-based environmental consulting business is at 60% of what it was last year, he is stressing about money, and for whatever reasons, he seems incapable of motivating himself to develop the diversification he wants to do to increase business.

In additions to his stresses about money, I was hopeful that he would be my rock emotionally to help me guide my son through his issues. It has become quite clear that hubby has no understanding (or willingness to learn, engage, show compassion) of mental illness – anxiety disorders – bipolar disorders – and how they affect individuals dealing with these.  He sees a 39 year old male who used to earn big bucks, and must simply be mooching off of us, taking advantage of the situation and simply being lazy.

The arguments and frustrations on both our parts have at times made me wonder if I can stay in this marriage.

My son has never in his adult life asked for a thing from me, and been totally self-sufficient since he was 17 years old.   Both he and my daughter (43) suffer from anxiety disorders and genetic pre-disposition to bi-polar disorder and he is in need of emotional (and yes, a little financial support if in no other way than a roof over his head and guaranteed food in his belly) while he finds his way.

My life once again is in flux as it is wont to do … and again I am feeling that old feeling of realizing I can truly count on no one but myself.

Maybe it’s just the changing seasons.  Or the changing seasons of life.

Time for more reflection, introspection and setting a plan for the future.

Namaste and peace to all who are in the midst of change …

Itty Bitty

 

Why do I love you? Let me count the ways!


Through my event planning contacts, I ran across this blog this morning – 365 Days Of Love.

The concept of this blog is that if you can find 365 things you love about your spouse, significant other, or anyone in your life for that matter, then you have an incredible chance of that relationship lasting forever. As it happens, at this time of my life, those around me about whom I care very much are in various stages of relationships and yet each scenario seemed to have the promise of benefiting equally ….

  • My stepdaughter and her sweetie are engaged and getting married in four months. A sweet way to begin their married life together!
  • My son and his wife are going through a very difficult time right – re-evaluating the very core of their 13 year marriage.  Maybe this would help them strengthen all the good things that brought them together and help them  heal the difficulties. Maybe … maybe not – but at a time like this, introspection and sharing is never a bad thing.
  • My daughter is at the beginning of a very new relationship – her list would definitely be different – or over the year evolving – a list not to share, but perhaps to build on and if the relationship grows, to share in a year or so.

And then there is hubby and me … and I am just so much in love with him as we approach the end of our 6th year together (this photo was from 2008 – 6 months into our budding romance)!

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I am compelled to make my list and then tell him one reason each day why I love him.

Can you list 365 reasons why you love someone in your life? Challenge yourself – and in the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas – Hanukkah – Kwanzaa – Yule – however you celebrate this special time of the year.

Yule

And here’s to another year – 2014 – with the hope and promise of love and peace – health and prosperity (in it’s many forms) – to you and yours!

Namaste – I honor all that is you.

Itty Bitty

Ex’s Listen Up! It’s Only The Kids That Lose.


  1. You’ve been divorced by your choice for near a decade – your children are 20-somethings – you’ve moved on and are in another long-term relationship.  Your daughter with him graduated from university yesterday and yet you were incapable of letting her take just one photo with her mom and dad.  She wanted to.  Her dad was fine with it – you refused.  She was sad.  But it was, of course, all about you.
                       Obviously not “our family”
    So there were two graduation celebrations – the one Friday at your house, and the one Saturday at ours.  And you demanded her time yesterday morning when she was getting ready at his house for her graduation because he would have the rest of the day (yes, it was Father’s day).  I’m sure if you had your way, there would have been two separate graduation ceremonies – one for you without him there.  All about you.  We could have all celebrated together at a restaurant (neutral territory) and thought about her feelings on her day.
    What are you going to do, Mother, when she gets married (which is on the horizon)?  Are you going to refuse her the joy of a photo with her parents then?  Are you going to refuse to come to the wedding if he’s there?  Are you going to make that all about you?
    What are you going to do when she has her babies?  Are you going to refuse to be there if he’s there?  Are you going to deprive her of the joy of both of her parents being present at the birth of your grandchildren?  Are you going to make her choose?  But, of course, it’s all about you.
    I don’t get it.  Why are some parents so hostile that they can never let go of the ill will towards another parent?  There was no domestic violence or abuse of any kind.  You decided you didn’t want to be married to him any more.  You still refuse to speak to him, much less be in the same room.
    Is it just me? Am I the crazy one?  I think not.  I am still friends with my ex – and am still close with his children AND his ex-wife (his kid’s mother).  We just couldn’t be married any longer.  My daughter and ex-son in law totally realize why they are not married any more, but they are incredible at co-parenting.  Always on the same page.  They do joint celebrations of all sorts about the kids with all of his family and all of ours – together – in the same space – celebrating the children.  They have joint family meetings so the kids know they are both on the same page.  Ex son in law’s parents are divorced – they both join in on all the celebrations – with their new spouses.  It can be done!
    You are forgetting the most important thing of all – so much bigger than your ego and pride – you are hurting your daughter far more than you realize.  You don’t see her pain – we do.   And some day soon, you will do the same thing with your son.  Go ahead, be so small minded that you are okay with taking away from their joy.
    Please don’t – please realize you must make these joyful life passages about them – celebrate them as mother and father – you don’t have to like him – but you can be civil. You can be in the same room at the same time and actually enjoy yourself.   All too soon these wonderful experiences will be done.  You or he will no longer be in their lives – don’t deprive them of precious memories because you haven’t grown up and moved on.
    And believe it or not,
    Namaste – I still honor you.  You did a hell of a job in HELPING raise her to be the amazing young woman she is.
    Itty Bitty

The Potential Cost Of The Final Solution – A Personal Perspective


My first husband died 20 years ago this year.  I often feel that I should have let go of him years, or decades, ago … but the experience of loving and living with someone who has mental illness in some or many ways so affected my life that it has proven difficult to let go.  Part of the reason is that my adult children suffer from some of the same issues now – and I wonder how much is genetic, and how much is environmental.

A few years after his passing, I had a philosophical conversation with a friend of mine about the concept of “the potential cost of the final solution”.  While I don’t remember his perspective of this phrase, or even our original conversation, this essay came out of our conversation for an Honors English class I took in 1994, when as an adult I returned to college to continue my education at the age of 42:

The Potential Cost Of The Final Solution

How do you decide that you have tolerated enough in an unhealthy relationship that the time has come to force change or end it?  When do you know that even though you love a person with your whole being, your love is not enough to fix the other’s pain or scare away their demons?  When do you come to terms with the fact that you cannot take responsibility for another’s life or choices?  The answers to these questions come when you are ready to accept “the potential cost of the final solution”.

When your life is entwined with an emotionally unhealthy person, the “final solution” is what you decide to do to change the situation you are in. The “potential cost” is what the possible outcome will be; whether the person you are with will cause harm to you, themselves or others.  In my experience, my fear was that the “potential cost” would be my husband taking his own life.  By answering the above questions for my own situation, I found, over time, I actually had the strength to make the necessary decisions.  I also feel that I, and he, paid the ultimate price.

How did I decide I had tolerated enough within our relationship and that the time had come to force change or end it?  My husband came from a family where physical and verbal abuse was common.  There was also parental alcoholism and sexual abuse by an older, mentally challenged brother and other outside parties.  While we were aware of some of these issues prior to our marriage in 1969 at the ages of eighteen and twenty, we were sadly prepared for the manifestations that later occurred within our marriage and surrounding our children.

 Inappropriate anger responses, exaggerated feelings of rejection and a need to possess and dominate were among the personality traits that emerged through our adult lives.  While there was no sexual abuse, there was some physical, psychological and verbal abuse toward me and our children as they were growing up.  This was especially true during their teen years when they naturally began to assert their independence.  His response was more from a fear of losing them, as he had lost everyone else in his family through death prior to his twenty-fifth birthday.

A ten-year affair with another woman during the early part of our marriage ended in a mental break-down for him.  As a result of incredibly inappropriate behavior during that time, he lost his career as a police officer in the town we were living in.  Some of the anger directed towards our children and me was as a result of his anger at himself for the mess he had created, and his deep sense of failure.  He was never able to forgive himself.

Because I allowed him to control me during that time, I was never allowed to express my feelings about the traumas I was experiencing as a result of his issues and behaviors.  What he and I failed to realize is that my need to resolve those feelings would come back years late to haunt us.  When they did,  I was told again not to discuss them because “throwing that old stuff back at him” was my trying to make him feel guilty.  I finally realized it was time for our relationship to change.

I had spent our married life to that point supporting him, allowing him to feel, allowing him to express, and at the same time, not allowing myself the same privilege.  What I accomplished was delaying dealing with the pain he created for us.  I was tired of his anger, tired of his dominance, and afraid of continuing the rest of our life together the way things were going.

 In June, 1991, I moved out of our house into my own apartment and explained to him that it was not necessarily a permanent arrangement.  I would not consider moving back until I felt he had 1) finally listened to my needs, and 2) worked on resolving his issues sufficiently for me to feel comfortable with our relationship once again. We spent the next ten months in intensive marriage and individual counseling.  I had made the decision to force change or end the relationship.

When do you know even though you love a person with all your being, and your love is not enough to end their pain or scare away their demons?  When I realized that I was not the cause of his pain or his demons, I was able to accept that I could not make him better.  I also finally realized that by allowing and justifying his behavior, I was enabling him, just as one enables an alcoholic to drink. Whether or not we loved each other was never a question.  Whether I could trust him to not hurt me or his children …  was a question.

 

In retrospect, I often wonder if many of the problems he created for himself I might have averted by not tolerating certain behaviors in the beginning.  But I was young and naive, and wanted our marriage to work so much that I was willing to accept situations I would never consider accepting now in a relationship.

When do you come to terms with the fact that you cannot be responsible for other people’s lives?  When I realized that for my own emotional survival I had to make changes, I knew I could no longer take responsibility for what choices he might make.  I knew from past behavior that suicide was a possibility if I moved out, but no amount of talking, pleading, arguing or cajoling while I lived in our house would make him listen to my concerns about the health of our relationship and our family life.

Acknowledging the “potential cost of the final solution” and knowing there was nothing else I could do to effect a change enabled me to do what was necessary for me.  I did ultimately move home.  I felt we had made great progress individually and as a couple, but also knew we had a long way to go with continued counseling.

When my husband died six weeks after I moved home, he had not been feeling well a day or two prior to his heart attack.  I know he was still depressed and uncertain about the progress we were making – he was not sure we would be successful in repairing our relationship. We were dealing with financial and IRS problems and he was feeling overwhelmed.  If he wanted to, he could have chosen to go to the doctor and most likely would be alive today.  I personally feel he made a conscious decision not to seek medical help, to give up the fight – to let go.  It was a form of suicide to me.

I accepted his choice, however painful it was for me, because I knew I was not capable of changing the course of his life.  I understood his demons but knew I didn’t have the power to make them go away.  It took some time, but I have finally stopped being angry at him for his decision.

What is your interpretation of the phrase, “The Potential Cost Of The Final Solution”?

Namaste …. I honor you …

Itty Bitty

Choices … My First Word For 2012


2011 was perhaps the most unusual year I can recall in the last five –  a culmination of closing doors and opening doors right up till the very last-minute.  I’m glad it’s over, and 2012 holds promise of a better, growing, stronger year. 

I read a blog this morning, Remarkable Wrinkles – you can click on it in “Other Bloggers I Love” … about that whole “New Year’s Resolution” subject.  apparently I’m not the only one out there who doesn’t do well with resolutions.  Good to know!  Her blog was about .. ahem … another friend’s blog she’d read suggesting not resolutions but WORDS.  Pick a word … any word that means something to you and make it a … not so much a resolution, but kind of a goal … something to strive for or work on … in our lives.  Made perfect sense to me!

One of the biggest things I learned over this last year of unending speed bumps and change is that I really do have a CHOICE in how my life goes.  I made a lot of progress in cleaning up messes and making changes that were necessary, but I can take my little ol’ self down paths in directions that I CHOOSE. 

CHOICES I can manifest ….

To take care of myself first … I forget this too easily.  Before I can take care of anyone else, I need to take care of me.  I also don’t need to take care of EVERYONE else, now do I?  This includes physically, emotionally, spiritually, as well as financially. 

  • Physically – as a 6-year post-op gastric bypass patient, I have, after woefully not doing as I should for probably 3 years now, have started taking my vitamin and protein supplements religiously … every day.  I am working on getting at least half an hour of exercise (even walking) in every day.  I am fighting the carb monster … which is my acknowledged complete and utter addiction.  I am drinking more water.  
  • Emotionally – why is it that we always “look after” others before we look out for ourselves?  Or is it just us nurturers?  I HAVE allowed myself to surrender to loving someone – though I will not ever surrender my identity to anyone again – I am trusting someone with my heart.  I am chosing to be differently in this relationship that I have in past commitments.  I am making the CHOICE to be more open and forthcoming.  This is difficult for me because of fences and guards that are decades old.  I’m working on them, though.  It’s the right thing to do – not just for me, but for him. 

            I trusted enough to get married on December 15, 2011.  He is my CHOICE!

  • Spiritually – This is an area where I am needing to center myself and focus my energy.  2011 was filled with chaos (good and bad) and though things are slowly coming together, I need to refine my balance and take the time each day I need to quiet my mind, express my gratitude and send out my positive thoughts for the day.  Every morning and every evening.  To thank the Gods and Goddesses for helping me find the right path.
  • Financially – Huge one.  As I am finalizing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (not a thing I am proud of, but it became necessary given my particular situation of long-term unemployment and limited access to financial resources) I am gifted with an opportunity to begin again.  I have CHOICE on how I live my financial life from this point forward in rebuilding my financial integrity. 

CHOICES – my word for this day.  It feels good and strong and empowering.  I’ll take it!

What is your word for the day? Make it mean something to you.

Namaste!