New Beginnings at a Familiar Place

Camping in Fundy National Park

In the last month, Athena and I drove 52 hours across the continent to the open, loving arms of our family and friends in Nova Scotia, Canada and then another 52 hours to return to a familiar place but with a new outlook on life. Most of you already know by now that Athena and I are starting a new adventure on our own, but we’ve decided to do it from southern California. It has become our home. We are happiest near the ocean, in the sunshine, and surrounded by all the possibilities that SoCal offers. I’m not ready to give up on our beautiful life in California just yet. 

City Lights, Aliso Viejo

This is where we stand. We moved into an apartment in Aliso Viejo. Thankfully, we lived here before and we love the office managers, the central location, and the amenities. They all come at a price though so money is tight and we’ve become much more attuned to how expensive it is to live in this area. We spend most days at the pool, in the town center, at the bookstore, or playing at the park. It all sounds like a dream life but it’s actually stressful and petrifying. Why? Because there needs to be life after this and it’s all new and different.

Our house was tiny and had a sliver of a backyard but I made it my home. I poured my heart and soul into making furniture and painting and crafting to have a dream house. I made tables and dressers. I painted chairs, desks, nightstands, coffee tables, and art. I scoured craigslist for the perfect pieces that I could re-finish and call my own. I searched Pinterest for projects and additions and spent my time making them unique. From the beachy grey floors to the two story ceilings, I loved it all and everything in between. It was put on the market and sold and I had to walk into a place that I called home, divide the stuff, and put it into boxes like everything in my life was movable. Most times, I just wanted to smash it all or burn it or break it, but there is no running away when you have a child and those things that infuriated me at the time are needed in my life. I’m not going to buy it all again because it, like me, didn’t fit into the marriage box.

I need to find a job after being out of the typical 9-5 workforce for the last six years. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Education degree but both are pretty useless since teaching isn’t an option for me in the US. I’m comfortable in this area and have friends that I consider family. I would like Athena to continue having both parents in her life, which also keeps me in a certain radius. It all limits the job opportunities substantially. Add the fact that I’m a Canadian to the mix and the jobs are getting less likely by the minute.
King's Highway, Jordan

Then comes the reality of loneliness. I’ve never been very good at being alone. I grew up in a huge family and there were always lots of people around. I’m never truly alone because I have Athena, but I’d eventually like to have a life-lasting partner. How do people go from being married and having that “I’m married” mindset to being single? I don’t feel overwhelmed until I’m home alone on a Friday or Saturday night and the emptiness finds its way to the tiny crevices in my brain. Is this my life for the foreseeable future? Alone every other weekend and every other holiday.

The thought of just leaving and traveling around the world with Athena crossed my mind. I still consider waking up tomorrow, packing a small bag for us both, and getting an Uber to the airport. I could figure it out from there. I’ve become very resourceful. I don’t want to run away from my life to travel though. Travel has always been one of the best parts of my life, but it was because I was in a happy place while I was doing it. I don’t want to do it as an escape.

Most days, I’m confident in my ability to bring it all together and figure out the best life possible for both Athena and myself. I have accomplished amazing feats in my life and overcome my deepest, darkest fears. I got this! I am passionate, driven, strong, and capable of succeed in the most difficult situations. With time, this one will become a walk in the park.

One foot in front of the other and one step at a time. I will be me again but a better version because I will be more knowledgeable than before. I will be more capable than before. I will be stronger than before.

Advertisements

68 thoughts on “New Beginnings at a Familiar Place

  1. Your courage in sharing your current journey in such an intimate manner is commendable. Good for your for foregoing the geographical cure and being determined to bloom where you are planted. That little girl of yours has a marvelous, thoughtful, and creative grown up taking care of her. My best thoughts are with you both.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your kind words.

      It would have been easy to stay in Canada and rely on the emotional support from my family. It would most certainly have been easier to find a job. Ultimately though, this is better for Athena and I. We’ve made this our home and I have accomplished much more impossible things in the last few years. I’m confident that I can do this as well.

      I hope your life is filled with health and happiness. The support is greatly appreciated.

      Lesley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Although it is filled with doubt and an unknown path, I’m still hopeful for a bright future. What is easy is that I have an amazing child who finds joy in every minute of the day. She is a light that guides the way.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. Everyone goes through difficult times. I hope your day is filled with happiness. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I was, in all honesty, just looking over my blogroll the other day and wondering how you were doing. Sorry to hear it’s not been the best of times (I’ve been through some of this myself), but here’s hoping and praying brighter days are straight ahead.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Have faith that you will invent a new life for yourself and Athena. I was you 25 years ago, six years older and without a child. I decided to stay put in the Bay area and experience it as a single after 10 years as a married. I found an apartment I grew to love and stayed another 5 years during which I discovered that teaching was no longer the career for me. So I had faith in the universe and quit. I found a new job two weeks later. I eventually moved back to my home state of NY and found a job that involved writing my one true love, writing. I now own my own home and love it more than the one I left when the marriage ended. Some day you too will look back and be proud of how you rebuilt your life

    Liked by 2 people

    • We seem to have a lot in common 🙂

      I’m certain things will pan out the way they should. Until then, Athena and I will enjoy the beautiful weather in southern California and all of the time we get to spend together. I remind myself regularly how blessed my life really is. No regrets and lots of time to figure it out.

      Have a great day and thank you for thinking about me.

      Like

  4. I’ve been low and desperate before and you think its never going to end. Sleep doesn’t come easy and the nights are long. Don’t give up! You are strong and talented. Love yourself and Athena and you’ll pull through.

    Like

    • Thank you, Sandra. I’m grateful Athena’s father is there for us financially right now. It takes a lot of the stress away and gives me some time to figure it out on my end. I’m still encouraged.

      I hope you’re enjoying the summer and have happiness and joy in your life.

      Lesley

      Like

  5. Such a nice surprise to find your blog today as I was thinking about you (today!!!) and how I enjoyed (and missed!) your posts. Change is hard. It just is. BUT you are a smart woman, tenacious, and creative. Time will present new opportunities. And you are still 35. I am going through similar changes in employment at 62 with physical challenges and it’s hard, even though my family is intact they don’t have a clue how to be supportive. You’ve made a decision on the best place for you to start your new life (California). Just take one day at a time and ignore the temporary loneliness, as every day is new. And thanks for listening to me blather about your life!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just a thought Leslie. I was 46 when I met Peggy. She had left her husband and had two children, one 13 and one 14. We fell in love and now have been happily married for 24 years. Everything I have seen of you in your blog suggest a warm and caring person. There will be love for you. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hang in there – you have never backed away from a challenge, even when it is terrifying. Wasn’t it diving that freaked you out? Yet you ended up doing it (if I remember incorrectly, my apologies – I know there was something you blogged about that scared you!)

    Cyber hugs and support – Laura

    Like

    • Hi Laura,

      Thank you for following along for so long and for taking the time to comment. You have been very encouraging today.

      It was diving that freaked me out… a few times! I still spent 20 hours under water while cage diving a few months ago. You’re right, I never back away from a challenge and I am capable of greatness. I will figure it out and hopefully you’ll still be hanging around to experience it because I don’t think it will take too long 😉

      Have a great day. You’re wonderful!

      Lesley

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, honey, you are beautiful and smart and brave, and I am totally confident that you will pull it all together soon. Heck, you are pulling it together now. Trust me. I’ve been there, done that, started over with a child, worked crappy jobs until I found my dream job (which quit being a dream job after 15 years, lol) and every step was an amazing experience. So much love and hard work and joy and laughter and life squeezed inside those years–so many blessings! P.S. Have you considered freelance writing? Cheers and big, big hugs to you and Athena.

    Like

  9. Have faith and know that the most important thing your child will ever have is YOU. I left my husband with my three-year, a suitcase and his toy bunny. Although I left all material possessions behind, I now have a good job, my child is a young man, and we live in a nice home. Stuff is temporary; the love of your child will help you climb mountains. Believe.

    Like

  10. I was wondering where you went to… And I’d not been as avid at keeping up as I too am on a job / life change. Separation as a single mom is hard, I did it 20 years ago. You will find your space again and you will be able to heal. I can only echo so many of the posts already written. My divorce was scary, being alone was heartbreaking, but it too passes. Life moves on, people will enter your life, and honestly? In this day and age that stigma of being a single mom who will love me?? Is so not it anymore! You will find love, after you find yourself again.

    Much peace. _____________ Jennifer L. Ostrander

    >

    Like

  11. You will be fine. I’m not being trivial, I only say that because at 22 I was a single mom with no physical or financial support from the father. Some days I barely made it and had my share of pity parties. My daughter is 22 next month the same age as I was when I gave birth. I can say we made it. She is truly my best accomplishment. I still don’t know how we did it. I have been happily partnered for 8 years now. With a blended family he has 2, I have one and we have one together she is now 5. There’s not a doubt it my mind you two will be more than fine. Many blessings to you. Thanks for sharing looking forward to seeing you rock on.

    Like

  12. Leslie, you are one of the toughest woman I have seen, and I believe you will figure it out in the end. I have left my dream place Hawaii with two suitcases and one-way ticket after having trouble finding a job as an expat, and I’d cried everyday to sleep for months. I am now in Canada with new home and working on dream job. Tough times wont last forever. Being lonely is not your choice, but it also gives you the opportunity to show the world how strong you are and bright you can shine. Believe in yourself.

    Like

  13. Well, I’ve been there, too. I was 42, newly divorced, and a mother of a 13-year old. On top of everything else, I knew very little English (I am from Russia). Life was terrifying, to say the least. Yet, time went by, I leaned English, I got my Master’s degree, and, finally, remarried.

    Nothing was easy — not for me, nor for my teenage daughter. Yet, if you hang in there and don’t give up, things tend to work out. If I could do it, you definitely will! For one thing, you already speak English:). For another, you’re still young and attractive. So, hang in there, go back to school, and you’ll see, five years from now, it all will be different.

    Good luck!
    Svetlana

    Like

  14. I have been there too several times and last time I chose to learn myself better to know, before going out to find a new life-partner. I gave myself 5 years to learn to live by myself and it was the best gift, I have ever given myself, Lesley.
    It is a tough time for you right now, but I feel sure, that you will be better day by day.
    About jobs, isn’t possible for you to work international with your dream job and travelling? There are still magazines, even most are online now and they still need great photos and stories.
    Wish you all the best, Irene

    Like

  15. Good luck, sweetie. It won’t be easy – life never is, even for those who seem to have everything – but you’ve got guts and a reason to soldier on. We’re all lighting the sage bundles and doing the happy dance for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I really don’t know what you have gone through and how you have got to this point that you are in… But you are definitely in the right direction – one foot in front of the other – yeah! If anyone can – it’s you.

    I am visiting your blog after quite a break. You have always been an inspiration.
    I was a point in my life when reading your blog made me wish I was you. Yes I wanted to be you – and still do.
    I was overweight low on confidence and not doing ‘much’ as measured against what I could do with myself and my life.
    Reading your blog along with caring for my daughter and other things gave me the inspiration – to make a change
    Iv lost weight – gained physical and mental strength. Now – most days – i feel like I can do it. I aim to live the life I want my daughter to aspire to. Only way to guide or teach kids anything is by being the change ourselves, being the best we can be, and hope to inspire the same feeling in them.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog
    Dig in chin-up – we will be in touch
    Lots of love!

    Like

  17. I haven’t seen your posts in a while and sorry to hear that this was the reason why. Sending you strength on those Friday and Saturday nights and hoping you find the breaks you need to help you get through this.

    Like

  18. Hi Lesley,
    So you’re at the start of a different adventure now, and kids do that don’t they. There were many times I wanted to run when my kids were little but because I had them, I stayed put and did what was needed to be done. Which I am sure, is what you were doing. Being single is going to be an another adventure you experience through adult eyes. As you decide what you want out of your life and how you want to move forward in the best way possible for both of you. Although your ‘online family’ cannot fill a physical void. We are here and I can speak only for me – I do care. So if you need to – reach out. I love good conversation with a cup of tea.:-)

    Like

  19. Sorry to hear that you are facing this unanticipated challenge. You have lived a lot more of life in the last years, than many do in an entire lifetime … in terms of travel at least. You and your daughter are in my prayers as you regather yourself and reevaluate. Sometimes the best emerges from the worst. All the very best.

    Karl

    Like

  20. Pingback: New Beginnings at a Familiar Place | quirkywritingcorner

  21. Hi Leslie…..I’m so sorry to hear about your divorce and the difficulties what have transired in your life…..allow yourself time to heal, take things one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time…..may God grant you wisdom, strength and peace as you and Athena establsh a new beginning…..Proverbs 3:5-6……blessings and prayers, Kim

    Like

  22. Your days ahead are brighter… 🙂 Never alone.. May God continue to keep you and your princess and open countless doors of opportunities before.. Bless 🙂

    Like

  23. Wishing you and daughter the very best. So many challenges in this life. I love the Maori phrase “Kia Kaha.” It means “stay strong.” I Like to say it out loud or at least inwardly every morning when I wake up.

    Like

  24. I have been there (and worse). It never feels like it will get better, but it does. It takes time–a lot of it, in my case–but it gets so much easier, and better, and eventually will be amazing again. It’s a big, scary question mark right now, and worrying about logistics and finances on top of the emotional battle is a tough thing. I feel for you, Leslie, but you weather all the storms and the big scary things, and you will weather this one too. You are an incredible individual–don’t forget that.

    Like

  25. I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this difficult transition. As you’ve already figured out, it IS temporary. Like you, I believe you’ll come through it stronger and better. All the best, M

    Like

  26. I’m very sorry to hear this Lesley. I’m actually going through the same thing right now, but haven’t felt ready to blog about it. Have you considered students services work at a college? A background in education is very helpful in that setting. Good luck and hugs. I’m sure it gets better, although it hasn’t for me yet… Camille.

    Like

  27. What an amazing support system you have – right here! I didn’t read all of the comments (there are so many!) but what a tribute to the benefits of putting it all out there the way you have for so many years. I will be 62 next month and just adopted my first horse this year. Such a huge dream that it didn’t even fit on a bucket list! Your journey has been part of giving me to courage to dream BIG. Wishing you all good things. Karen

    Like

  28. “One foot in front of the other and one step at a time. I will be me again but a better version because I will be more knowledgeable than before. I will be more capable than before. I will be stronger than before.” Hang onto those words, because they are very true. I, like many of your other commentators, have been in that lonely, frightening place, so I speak from experience. Your lovely daughter will give you the strength.:)

    Like

  29. I am sorry to hear of your recent separation. I wish for you emotional health and the ability to see down the road that after you have gone through this fire and come out the other side, there will be bittersweet memories and many wonderful new beginnings. I know because I have been there myself. Come back to Nova Scotia!

    Like

  30. So sorry to hear that things didn’t work out! I hope that you and Athena enjoy your new chapter in your life! Sending you hugz and smiles! Stay strong sweetie! Hugz Lisa and Bear

    Like

  31. I haven’t been blog reading much lately, so I did not know about the big changes in your life, but something compelled me to read this post, so I will add my good wishes. Keep looking forward, following your instincts, and I know you will find your true path! Best wishes to you and Athena for many more adventures!

    Like

  32. Hi Lesley…first, as it is Canada Day today … and your are Canadian (like me)
    I want to say Happy Canada Day ( although I read that your life has changed and you might not want to toast to this day). I understand. I had noticed that there were no posts from you for a while .. now I get it why ..your life is changing . Sometimes if not all the time, changes are for the best. I am sure you will figure out how to manage your new life . You are not alone. You have friends. You have your daughter. i wish you good luck. It is always nice to read your blog. Take care.

    Like

  33. Hi Lesley, I thought about you the other day and the lack of posts. (I’m a little slow on noticing things as my computer died and there are no funds to replace it, so I work from the library every once in awhile.) Will be praying for you, Athena, and Darren as you make adjustments to this new life. You are very resourceful and I know you will persevere during this tough time. Staying in SoCal is the right decision as Athena does need both parents. Is there any way you can work for the apartment complex where you live?

    You are still having adventures, they are just different from before. The world needs to hear from you as your story does matter.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s