I woke up this morning with the realisation that I have only 2 months left of being 40 something, and as I lay in bed pondering that fact I began to reflect on what has happened in my life since I was in my last few months of being 30 something – oh my goodness I could not have known how much my life was going to change. I know they say life begins at 40 but I actually think it may have been a prophecy in my case!
Thinking back to 2004 my 39th year was a massive rollercoaster … after being together for 20 years, my husband, who was also my best friend, decided he would move out on his own to find himself – I was devastated.
I remember attempting to take myself for a walk away from our home after he delivered the news, I’d only got a few hundred metres around the corner when I realised I did not know what to do. I’d never been on my own, I’d never been anywhere or done anything without him, I thought I would not be able to live by myself – how would I cope? I was standing in the middle of an English country lane surrounded by so much beauty, so many possibilities and yet I could not see past the blackness I was cloaked in. I could not go any further … I went back home.
The previous year had been heavy, my husband was ignoring signs of depression and was pretty much angry at the world. His anger was not directed at me, but it was a difficult position to be in, constantly walking on egg shells and making excuses and allowances for his mood swings. Any discussion about how he was feeling was met with stony silence or denial – I was lost, and isolated. I felt I couldn’t share with family and friends what was happening – I was protecting him, protecting the image of our ‘perfect’ marriage, I didn’t want the world to know we were in trouble … actually I realise now my actions did not protect anything, all I was achieving was to constantly cause hurt to myself. (Hindsight is a marvellous thing!)
He removed all pretence and made the decision to go, and so I believe 39 became my growth year. Even though we had split I was still living with a constant unsaid threat ‘he could not live without me’ if I was to walk away or be with someone else. Which looking back was such a ridiculous idea, he had already walked away – and I was certainly in no state to be with anyone else. I needed to be with myself, to work out who I was, what I liked or didn’t like, did I even have an opinion? who was Angela Murray? In fact in being married I had given up the surname Murray – who was Angela? I had no idea and no self awareness. I had a big job on my hands.
So after nearly a year of allowing myself to be controlled I suddenly found my ANGRY – and oh my goodness it felt so good. Often people think that angry is a ‘bad’ emotion, not something that ‘good’ girls display – I’ll tell you the moment I found my ANGRY I was set free. I made a decision in that moment not to be controlled by him any longer and to hand back responsibility for him to HIM. I found my inner strength and I walked away, actually no I ran, like a horse running across a paddock with the wind in my mane – I was off!
I got divorced on my 40th birthday (divine timing?) I reclaimed my maiden name, sold our house and bought my own place. Then I began the journey to finding out who I truly was. My ex was fine he found another partner and reclaimed his life too – I hope to this day he also found himself.
Now that I am in my 49th year I look back at that person who could not take another step forward on her own and I do not recognise her. I am now living on the other side of the world in New Zealand – a journey I took all alone – I am the happiest I have ever been in my life (though I hate to burst the bubble peeps, life is still not perfect lol).
I felt the need to share this, and may share more over the coming weeks as I approach the big 50. As I move into my next half century I hope in some small way my story helps others, and if that is just one other person, it would make me incredibly happy.
So the reference about being a butterfly? Well …. I reflect often on something a friend said to me after the divorce “We thought you would crumble, but you emerged like a butterfly – we finally saw the real you” and that butterfly is what I aspire to be every day. If this resonates with you then please know you deserve something better, and maybe you just need to find your ANGRY too.
Have a wonderful day!