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Thread: Major identity changes?

  1. #31
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    When I divorced my second husband I changed my whole life. Interviewed by phone for my job and moved to the West even though I had never been there. My kids were grown so it was my time. Turned out great.

  2. #32
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN
    I think my biggest identity change came was when I got divorced. Many beliefs and assumptions I'd heard about and held for years turned out to not be true. At that point, everything in my life -- location, career, religion/faith, values, friends, significant others, and more -- was up for examination. I have to say I'm happy with the results of that work. But it was a lot of work and, in some matters, it's not quite done yet.
    Please share more about this.
    To avoid writing a novel, I will say that I should have done more thinking before I married my (first) wife.

    I did not have many long-term relationships before I met XW. As a result, I really didn't have a good idea of what I was getting into or what I would bring into the relationship. It was clear not too long in that this was not a marriage for the ages. But neither one of us was abusing anything (or each other) and we knew couples whose marriages seemed to be far worse than ours. We knew lots of people who'd been married to each other a long time. We were attending a church that did not at all encourage the idea of divorce. So we stayed married. Split shifts helped.

    Eventually (around the time I hit 40) I realized this was not how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. We sought help. Counseling didn't take. Advice from family and friends we trusted didn't take. The entire congregation at church praying for our marriage didn't take. So we divorced, XW fighting it the entire way.

    Splitting assets meant losing some items in which I later determined I was too invested in keeping (it was stuff; why get hung up over it?). I moved from a large-ish suburban house on a cul-de-sac to a tiny apartment in a busy neighborhood -- and enjoyed the heck out of living there.

    I kept some friends and got support from people whom I could never fully repay for their kindness and their tolerance. I lost several "friends" my ex and I had in common because I was the "leaver". I entered a dating scene which, even years before Tinder and "hooking up", was substantially different from what XW and I experienced. I debated whether I wanted to stay in Minnesota or move before I got too specialized in my career to move easily or too stuck on someone who didn't want to leave Minnesota (very common around here).

    I reconsidered my religion -- what role did God have (or was given) in our marriage? Was it a lack of (my) faith that split us up? What did it mean that an entire congregation prayed over us and we divorced anyway? Why did I lose so many church friends? I opened up to pretty much any faith story to find one that resonated with me (and did).

    It was a time to discover who I am and not who society expected me to be at that stage of my life. I probably didn't end up that far off my old mark. But I'm much happier now having taken the time to figure out my role in my first marriage, what I wanted to improve about myself, how I understood the world around me, and what I value as time progresses. Some things I tried I didn't like or re-thought. I now have a great marriage, several good new friends, grandkids (kids weren't happening in my first marriage), and a positive outlook on life. Without the freedom of the divorce, I don't think that would have happened.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  3. #33
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Steve, your story reminds me of the moment when I realized that making a major decision for myself, regardless of what others thought, was the most freeing thing I had ever done. I will never regret listening to friends and family... and then doing what I wanted to do. I will never regret listening to my heart.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  4. #34
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    I will never regret listening to my heart.
    That probably was one of the most important lessons I learned from the entire situation. Everyone learns things in different ways...
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    What a burden you are carrying, Ldahl, poor soul!
    I try to remind myself itís for the good of my particular subset of mankind. Plus next year itís my turn to fix the Oscars.

  6. #36
    Senior Member Gardenarian's Avatar
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    Giving up gymnastics and segueing to yoga when I was 16 or so. I had (have) no competition in me. The spiritual/physical/emotional changes that came with yoga we're earthshaking to me at the time. I discovered my spiritual relationship to nature, which altered the course of my life.

    Being diagnosed with (and treated for) epilepsy in my early 30s. I had been told by my parents (and therapists of all kinds) that I was highly sensitive, neurotic, etc. and my seizures were emotionally induced. I thought I was crazy and I was very insecure, needy, and miserable. (I had life-long multiple small seizures daily and big ones weekly or so.) I started on anticonvulsants, and bingo - all my neuroses, sensitivities, etc. disappeared that day. Turns out I had been diagnosed as a child, but my parents couldn't handle the stigma. Yep. I'm lucky it didn't kill me; it well could have. Turns out I'm a normal, happy person! Who'd have thought?

    When I decided that I had no desire to get into the upper echelons of the library world. Up till that point (my late 30s) I was very driven. I decided being on the reference desk was my true place, and have never looked back.
    I started working part time and finished my first novel. Writing that was a huge shift in my being. I've written 2 other books and am working on a fourth (none published, by choice.)

    The arrival of DD, as others have noted. I'm not sure this changed who I am on as fundamental a level as writing a book, but it changed my life course a great deal. Many sacrifices, none that I regret. I am very grateful to have my little happy, functional family.

    Moving to Oregon. I have made a lot of moves but this felt like a very happy homecoming. A lot of things have fallen into place for me, and I'm learning new things all the time. I feel almost complete.

  7. #37
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    That probably was one of the most important lessons I learned from the entire situation. Everyone learns things in different ways...
    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Steve!

  8. #38
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    Wow G, I can’t imagine not treating epilepsy. You can end up with brain damage from repeated seizures.

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