A New Attitude: Independent

Early sunrise across the bay.
Early sunrise across the bay.

After my husband passed away in 2009, my brother came and helped me rearrange my husband’s items and clothing. He helped me get a good footing on my life again. But my attitude about myself needed to expand to the freedom I needed to become the me that I was meant to be.

Suddenly I made the financial decisions, decided when to cut the grass, cut down a tree that was in the way. Finally, I was truly in charge of my home and my life. I was amazed at how I adapted to the situations that needed decisions.

Mistakes do happen when you take on a new job or responsibility. I did make a few mistakes. One such one was paying my property tax. Imagine my delight when I got a check back for what I had paid. I didn’t even know that the escrow in my monthly mortgage payments covered the property tax!

Then there were decisions about the car. I knew to check the tires periodically. I also knew the car needed an oil change every so often. The rest of the check-ups were when I noticed a weird noise or the car didn’t feel right.

I surprised myself at how well I handled the responsibilities of each day. I began to realize how intelligent and intuitive I was, and began to love my life even more than ever. I had been my own cheerleader for years; now I gave myself those cheers, along with the support of my sons and their wives and my friends.

When I had to fix something I didn’t know about, I looked it up on the internet. YouTube and the information on the internet were invaluable to helping me fix things around the house. One such problem occurred when I noticed a leak under the disposal.

After checking on YouTube how to safely check the disposal, I unplugged the disposal, got a flashlight and a long screwdriver and looked into the disposal’s “depths.” I found a pecan picker and saw that it had poked a hole in the wall of the disposal.

I remembered the movie, “The Rocketeer,” about a guy with jet packs on his back who could fly. His tank was shot and leaking the gas that helped him fly. While flying he chewed a wad of chewing gum and sealed the hole. Guess what I did! Chewed some gum and stuck it on the outside of the disposal wall where the hole was. It never leaked again! It “lived” another two or three years.

From my experiences as a new “mistress of the house” I learned several things to share with other people who may find themselves alone:

  1. If you don’t know something look it up, or ask for help.
  2. You are going to make mistakes; not know everything; and/or feel helpless. Look at those experiences in the eye and say, “I won’t make that mistake again if I can help it.” “I can do anything I need to do but there will be some things I will need help with.”
  3. Get involved with the rest of the world. Get a hobby, or a job, join a group on Meetup, an exercise class, or volunteer at whatever cause interests you.
  4. If you don’t have friends, go out and make friends at the above places. They can be a strong support when you need to vent or heal about the past. They can also help you grow when they need some moral support too. After all you do have some experiences that might help someone else.
  5. Don’t sit at home every day. Get out in nature: go for a walk at the park or even find a picnic table and ” commune with nature” and the Creator. When it’s very hot ourside I go to the biggest store around and walk pushing a cart, just looking around. It is exercise, after all and in a cool place!
  6. It’s okay to be proud of yourself, when you do something well or figure out something. Good on you!
  7. Broaden your mind! Take a class or classes if you have an interest or a hobby that you love. Many junior colleges have classes for adults. Often there are even some classes for senior adults for free.
  8. If you are proficient at some skill, check out starting your own business. I did. I took photography classes at a junior college, bought a good camera, lenses, and equipment and made some money as a photojournalist for our town newspaper and a prominent real estate company used twenty-one of my photos of our town to advertise for a development up the road. Boy was I a happy woman!
  9. Look for the place where you would love to help others and check it out! You have a lot to offer and the world needs a lot of help right now. Churches are wonderful places to find a niche where you can help. There are thrift stores where the money really goes to the needy. (Check that out before you work there.) I enjoyed volunteering at our local Chamber of Commerce. what a great way to meet people and get to know the town.
  10. KonMari started a brilliant way of thinning out the unnecessary things in your home. Ask yourself while holding and object, “Does this spark joy?” In my own words I say, “If it doesn’t, then get rid of it.” There were so many objects I got rid of after my husband passed away. I sold some and gave away some. Then I had to tackle narrowing down my own possessions. At 60 or so, when I decided to move from a three-bedroom house to a two-bedroom condominium, I had to check for “the spark of joy” before I got rid of some possessions, books, clothes, and furniture. They were all donated since I didn’t use them anymore.

See yourself in a different way. You, as are all of us, are students of life. Life is there to help you grow and learn. Look at things as a challenge to figure out; not as some trial of your strength or intelligence. You do have both. Sometimes it just takes a challenge to help you know that you do have them.

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