How to make it when you’re newly single

How to make it when you're newly single / personal story by funkyjunkinteriors.net
Today’s post is a little.. different. It’s very personal. And rather gutsy. 

I wrote it a few months ago, but it never felt like the right time to publish it. I honestly didn’t know if I ever would. I’m not even sure why I wrote it!

But I was motivated to publish it today for a friend that could possibly use it.

Friend… whomever you are, this is for you…

MY LATEST VIDEOS

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Yesterday, after painting up a storm, I was done. I tiredly but happily climbed up the stairs… computer… or TV? I decided to allow myself to mindlessly get caught up in some fluffy movie story that had nothing to do with my own. 

Or so I thought.

I surfed through Netflix, and when I spotted P.S. I Love You, YES. The perfect, feel good ending chick flick.

For those of you that have never watched it, it’s about a gal losing her guy. But after his death, a series of letters pop up ‘from him’ with instructions on how to carry on life without him. It’s intriguing, endearing, so funny, and the ending ends on one of the highest notes I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.

Not to mention desiring to pack my bags, and leave for Ireland! 😉

But there was one turning point in the movie that really struck home for me. The girl only found true happiness and success once she did some personal growth, and pursued her passion.

Even though she was on her own.

I’m secretly so very glad that her husband wasn’t her main motivation for happiness. Because a really important lesson would have been lost.

If you had told me 10 years ago, that I’d be single for 10 years after marriage, I’d have laughed you out of the room and called you crazy. I loved being in a relationship. To have someone to support you in times of need, to give to another, all of it. 

When divorce struck, I went through all the stages of grief in flaming colours.

But once survival mode hit, things got a little more productive, in a random sort of way.

When you are newly single again after many years, it really is like learning everything all over again, but on a new level.

You are an adult now, with responsibilities and bills that are hard to pay on your own.

So how does one even begin to cope?

Lessons learned

For one thing, I was in debt. So I got online and learned the ropes of how to get a cheap divorce. We couldn’t afford any other kind!

My goal was to go out with no fighting, because that’s where expenses rack up. Why do that to either of you? Fight for amicable if you can. My divorce ended up costing $2k and on good terms. As we still are today.

Next up, I had to learn the art of taking out loans and hiring help.

My then current dream home needed repairs before selling, so I hired a handyman I knew, and he fixed what was broke. It took a long 6 months of fixing everything up. While he hammered, I followed him with a paint brush.

But looking back, it was a great growth period. It allowed the time needed to say goodbye to my home and life the way I knew it. That takes awhile.

Let’s add one more lesson… I dated too quickly. If you’ve been with another for so long, you don’t know how to be on your own. It’s like an addiction of sorts. I’ll never forget this one day I took my son out, but my eyes were darting around, on the lookout for someone with potential. Goodness…

I ended up dating someone I knew for a short while. When that was going no where fast…

I went online. And was THAT ever an eye opener…

At the end of it all, I had met 3. But every time one didn’t work out, it’s like I walked up one more step towards the open door that would allow me to finally fly free without the weight of my own self induced chains.  By the 3rd, I was done. I deleted my online profile, and sprinted from those chat forums faster than a chunk of metal could rust in the rain.

It just hit me one day. I was so broken, I was settling for all the wrong kind. Ever hear “you attract who you are?” I’m afraid it’s true. I was not 100%, so how could I attract that?

And it was only then, that true reality struck. I really was now on my own.

Being in such a huge place of need, this was the hardest and bravest part. I didn’t have many DIY skills at the time, so I couldn’t really do for myself, nor could I afford to hire help. I mean, I knew how to paint walls and decorate, but I’d never really fixed anything. So being on my own left me deathly afraid.

It wasn’t until I landed in our new (old) home in need of a great deal of repair, that I was forced to buy some DIY books, and fiddle with tools I had no idea how to use. I called on neighbours and friends so I could learn how to use the few tools I had.

Fixing was another whole story. Lifting that toilet off the floor for the first time completely freaked me out!  But you can bet, I felt like throwing a party when I got it to actually flush on my own!

garden shed 2014-3115-2
My first build where neighbour Jake taught me how to use my miter saw

Basically put, the more I learned, the less I felt ‘need’.

So rather than put my energy into a new relationship, I poured my heart and soul into rebuilding a new home and life for us, with people that wanted to help. 

It wasn’t until I was well on my way with a few new skills, that real healing started to take place. As my skills grew, so did my confidence.

And then one day, I turned to my son and said, “We’re doing it!”

And that continues on today. We are still learning our way along life’s ride. But as long as learning is taking place, there’s personal growth. Each new day we can do just a little more because of the last one.

Some ask why I don’t date. Thing is, it isn’t even on my mind. I don’t have anything against relationships. But it’s just not where my focus has been or even is. I really don’t even think about it any longer.

I’m presently content. We’re content! This is our current life. And with the help of God’s guidance and grace, we are doing it!

For those with big life changes, happiness and success will come again, but in a different way. It just takes time. But you will rediscover a new, better and STRONGER version of you, you never even knew existed. 

By just doing your time.

And believing.

You can read my entire story HERE.

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  1. Thank you for this excellent post! After a divorce, it’s important to find who you truly are and you have illustrated this perfectly. I’m thrilled that you found your “place” and that, with your help, others might also. Should be required reading for every divorcee.

    • Hi Debra,

      This was truly the hardest part for me for certain. It’s so scary to be on your own. The unknowns feed us fear. Just surrounding yourself with the right friends can really help.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  2. I remember some of this(your story) but also that you were sick too. You are such an inspiration to so many. I’m one of them. I do have a husband(who is great) but doesn’t own one tool :). So when I saw you using all these tools and ‘just doing it’ for yourself…I started a toolbox, and googled how to fix things. You also gave me the push to start a little business, my passion of finding and repurposing great old furniture. I bet you’ve inspired so many people. So a big thank you from me, Mimi from PA❤️

    • Mimi, you just put a huge smile on my face! Starting small is key, so you can eventually grow your abilities. Good for you!

      Kinda says to me I ought to get those ‘how to work with tools’ videos on the go. I may start looking for a video camera next time I’m in town… scratch that. I WILL. 🙂

  3. I’ve never been married. I went through years of asking God why He had not blessed me with a husband to share life with, but the answer has always been no. But I knew I wanted to be a mother, so 16 years ago, I flew to China and brought back my amazing, beautiful daughter! It’s been hard raising her alone and heaven knows there are times when I don’t have two dimes to rub together, but I wouldn’t miss a second of it!! I am like you were – great with painting and decorating – but I’ve always tried to find friends who would “loan” me their husbands for the hard stuff. But I’m thinking its time for me to get a few tools and strike out on my own! Thanks for the inspiration and push!

    • Sunni, what a fab life you are creating!

      About the tools, utilize the ones you borrow to discover the ones you would like to have. I borrowed until I could afford and get the ones that fit my hands well as well. I’m just so glad there are others to help you when you do need it!

      Here’s a challenge for you… rather than have something done the next time, ask them if they will teach you how to do it instead.

      Small steps… you really can do it.

  4. *sniff* I have been reading your blog for a long time but I tend to skip personal bits and I had no idea you were single. (How is that even possible, you’re quite the catch!) But thanks for this wisdom. You’re such an inspiration, have you considered writing a book?
    Have a great week!

    • Hi Khadija, yes, I’m a sole parent! And it’s all good. The right people seem to enter our lives when we need it, so I’m very grateful for that.

      About the book, another yes. It will happen one day. And that’s a definite WILL. My story will be told in much greater depth.

      I just have to find the right timing for that massive project. Working on it…

  5. Well well said. I’m not at this point any more but I had 15+ years between marriages and I had to learn many many of the same lessons. I learned I didn’t need someone to complete me, I had to become complete on my own. By the time I got to your point, I was quite happy alone and did all the things I wanted to do…on my own. It was a very satisfying period of my life.

    Funny how when that seems to be your stage of contentment, a relationship starts…so you can grow in new ways. There are days I miss the old single times but then I know, as I learned then, I’m just where I need to be.

    • Maureen, what you said was golden. One needs to complete themselves for sure. But that’s so hard to do and feel when one is broken.

      That’s where the magic of time comes in. It takes time and hard work.

      When I was grieving the most, that’s when I applied that grief into productivity. I always came out a little better at the end of the day.

      Gradual steps are ok. Just gotta keep moving forward.

      I never in my life thought I’d ever be ok to be alone. I’m seriously in awe every day that I can be perfectly content. It’s a true gift.

      There are still hardships, but as a whole, we appear to be fine. 🙂

      Thanks for chiming in!

  6. Thanks for sharing this. It seems like another lifetime when I went through my divorce. At 49, I was stunned to be divorced (again) and broke (thanks to an ex who squandered everthing we had) and living on my own for the very first time in my entire life. I was scared to death that I was going to turn into “crazy cat lady”, stuck in a job I hated and never meeting anyone again.
    I floundered for a year or so, dating recklessly and losing the job I hated (a good thing). Finally got on my feet financially thanks to landing a great job and getting a promotion. Bought a fixer upper too – oh the joy of fixing that toilet and putting in baseboards. And just when I didn’t want (or need) a man in my life, my true love popped up. It’s a romantic ending – no, I’m not the warrior woman like you (I so admire that about you), but happiness is where I am too.
    I would have been happy in my career, in my little house with my two cats. But life took a different turn and that path is wide open and endless.

  7. I love that you shared this. Being that you did….you are growing even MORE!

    I, too, went thru this and SURVIVED! I had NEVER lived on my own before divorce! I was with the same guy from age 19 …he was my FIRST serious relationship and I married him at 27. I had no idea how I was going to do it alone after all those years together. It was 2000, and I was 35 and PREGNANT, and also had a 5 year old with ADHD. I was now separated. I had no money, no job. I could not work due to health issues.

    I ran into trial after trail…my food stamps application got “lost” (in a worker’s desk drawer I later found out), so it took 6 months before I saw a dime, so my parents helped me the best they could. My electric and gas almost got shut off a few times…but I found some help eventually. I lost my food stamps once because some worker decided that since I was not paying rent that the mortgage amount my husband was paying on the house (in his name only) was income for me. I got a free lawyer, contacted the Federal Food Stamps director in Washington, DC, and he emailed me the info I needed to prove my case. I won, of course.

    That same worker stuffed my medicaid renewal paperwork in her drawer and I lost my health insurance. (Not a good thing when you have a condition that requires daily meds!) They tried to say I didn’t mail it in. They said I had to wait and it would take at least a week to get my insurance. (Not only had I hand delivered and watched the lady date stamp it, I had a copy of what I gave them.) My dad told me who to call. I called the government person who oversaw social services. I got an appointment that afternoon with the person who inputs the medicaid info and had my insurance and meds the next day. I never saw that worker there again. I believe she was fired.

    Nobody TELLS you what to do and where to go for help at social services in the USA. You have to ASK people who have been thru these situations. It’s like the info is TOP SECRET or something. It is sad. These people are distraught and a lot of these workers treat it as if it were a scrape on the knee. Before all this I had NO IDEA what welfare, food stamps, and medicaid even were!

    I got thru it. I even got a place to live and moved out of the house my husband owned (but was not living in then) in 2003.I was granted SSI (I call it poor people disability.) THAT all was a miracle. (too long a story to type. LOL)

    Years later, in 2009 I started dating. And MAN was THAT a disaster!!! These guys around here were all looking for “friends with benefits”. I got burned really bad in 2010….one I was dating went and got married to the mother of his daughter and didn’t tell me. He told me he had no kids so it was a big shock when I found out. How did I find out? I’m telling ya, it was GOD. One day I work up with the feeling there was something going on. I had not heard from him in a week. I googled him and the site pulled up a “relative”. There was a pic of a lady with a kid. When I clicked on it it took my to her FB page! She HAD his LAST NAME!

    I told my realtor friend, and he took a big chance (he could get fired for this)…he called his law dept. and had them do a search on the guy (like he was buying a house). He had gotten married a few days before.

    I happened to text the BFF of the guy…just to see if he would tell me anything. HE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW! WHAT???!! LOL He lived a bit far to be able to come, but still, how do you NOT tell your BFF? geez. The BFF started to “spill some beans”. He mentioned the 2 y/o. He thought I knew that the guy had a woman. Ok, so I guess a lot of women SETTLE for dating a guy who has a serious relationship? How SERIOUS can it be if he is cheating on her? Makes no sense to me. I was told years ago “If he cheats on her he will cheat on you.” So I left him a voicemail (using that trick where you dial a certain way and it goes straight to voicemail. I forget how now.) I told him I knew and that I forgave him for lying to me and he better do right by her and his kid. I was not about to let him have any power over me!

    I grieved HARD because I had fallen hard for this guy. We got along so well from jump…like “it was meant to be”. We had never argued. We made each other laugh. We could almost read each other’s minds. 3 days laying in bed and barely eating…I cried all day. My guy pals called me and man were they great in my time of need! My 9 y/o was bringing me food. She is amazing. She knew what happened…she has always been way more mature than kids her age. She said I looked “green”. After about a week I was doing so much better I went out dancing with the realtor pal and his gal pals. I had a blast. I was back to my norm soon after that.

    I quit dating altogether soon after that. I felt like i was settling and cheating on MYSELF. I got my bible and started reading on a regular basis. I left the church I was attending (feeling I was not getting enough). I asked God to pick the one I needed to go to. He did. I have been there since June 2011, and …….

    in December 2012 I GOT MARRIED!!!!!!

    I married the man I used to see in my dreams (but never saw his face). He is the love of my life!!! He just “knows” me…it is amazing. God knew exactly what I needed. He was just waiting until I thought enough OF MYSELF to bring me that man. And the funny thing was…my now hubby was at that church for 30 yrs. He was one town over all this time. I used to say “I can FEEL him. He is close.” He sure was! (Years ago we were BOTH at the college there at the same time!) God brought ME to HIM. He also had a bad marriage and she did him real wrong. So, 2 broken people, who always wanted to be married and have a family, who spent time to HEAL…are now WHOLE, happy, and content. We appreciate the heck out of each other!!!

    See, happily ever after DOES happen!!!!

    You need to be complete as you are…single….before you can be any good in a relationship. If not…you will keep attracting people who are also not whole…as you said in your story.

    • Robin, thank-you for sharing your story.

      And you summed it up perfectly. Happily ever after DOES happen!

      I like to think of it as, every step can be happy with the right mindset. We are all on different paths. The trick is to find your happy right where you are, so you can embrace what life offers you.

      No one’s story is ever over until the day we leave earth. Here’s to yours continuing to get even happier each day!

  8. So many similarities in our stories! Except my divorce was definitely NOT amicable… I also dated much too quickly following the separation and went to online dating sites (EWWWWWWWWW never again!) Now, 5 years later I am so happy in my single life, doing my own thing and making my own choices without having to negotiate or convince someone else.

    Maybe someday someone will turn up who is a good fit for who I am now but I’m no longer looking. I feel normal in my new life. I have hobbies I love and a house to play DIY queen with. Life is good.

    Thanks for the insights!

    xox

  9. Donna, your story is just amazing! You hung in there, let God change you, and learned who you were in the process! Just inspiring. Thank you for sharing. God bless!

  10. I love reading these kinds of posts from you, Donna. I’ve been down this same kind of road. Not divorce, because there was no marriage, but after 10 years together and children, it’s kind of the same thing. A little easier logistically, but not for the heart. Mine was, unfortunately, not amicable at the time nor is it now, and that certainly didn’t help. I went through a year and a half period of little to no growth and it really stunk! Then something happened and I realized I was worth so much more than I gave myself credit for. And now I love the person I have become, even though I’m still trying to improve and grow. Thanks so much for writing this post today!

  11. Another amazing post! I was nodding my head through the whole thing. Your experience parallels my own in many ways. Most especially about not dating.

    When you said it was 10 years(since your split) it struck me that next month will be 8 years for me! I also tried dipping my toe into dating(in the very beginning) and yes exactly 3 times. lol I was never really a dater but this felt like wading through mud. I realized I was or I should say *felt* broken too. We absolutely do attract what we put out there and my bat signal was clearly saying, “I am not worthy.” So I sat myself down, had “the talk” and consciously chose to be on my own.If it does ever happen again it will come naturally and he will have to fit into “my” life. 🙂

    My focus is to better my son and I’s life, follow my passion and grow a business. It all feels very far away most days and our situation is pretty tough financially(getting tougher each month) and just yesterday I was pretty down and feeling hopeless. I wake up to your blog post and now I am feeling more positive and empowered!

    During my marriage I forgot I was a warrior. I am not all the back yet but I am well on my way. You are one of my biggest inspirations. Thank you Donna!

  12. Donna, what a great post. Many women “need someone to make them feel whole”. You, girl, are whole! You should be proud of your independence, strength and determination. I certainly am!

  13. I was divorced after 12 years and I stayed single for another 12 when I meg my current husband. It took a few years before I agreed to get married, but we are happy and celebrated our 15th anniversary.

    I agree to keep divorced as pleasant as possible for you and the kids. Then take time for yourself. I think there is do much to learn about our selves and it was great learning to be independent.

    Glad to hear you are doing so well. God has a purpose for you and will guide you.
    Blessings,
    Bev

  14. I’m so proud of you! You’ve been on a very rough road and you figured out how to see the light at the end of that road. It’s there. I promise you. I traveled on that road almost 40 years ago. It was so hard. I had a 1 yr old son to make a life for suddenly which made it imperative to find a new life. And I did. (long story omitted) Then one day when I wasn’t looking “Enter: Prince Charming” ! We’ll be celebrating our 37th anniversary soon. Life is an amazing journey, a learning journey, a sometimes rollercoaster journey.

    Thank you for sharing your experience which will help so many others that are on this road your traveling on. You are awesome girl!!

    Blessings always! Edie Marie

  15. Thank you so much for sharing! So many of us can relate! I went through a divorce a year ago and being on my own has been the scariest, hardest, yet most rewarding thing I have experienced in my life thus far. You really learn who you are during that time and it is beautiful!

  16. Donna, love your inspirational stories, and your honesty, I can relate I’m in the same boat! Amazing the transformation of your life/home as God has graced you! Keep at it! Sincerely Karen

  17. Just wanted to drop you a little note. You, my dear, found the pot-o-gold at the end of the rainbow. The most difficult time in our lives is usually after a divorce, it’s almost worse than a death. There is so much I could say on this subject, but you summed it up in a nutshell. Thank you for sharing your heart. We love you..your blog friends.

  18. Your post was not only a blessing to those who are divorced but to this one who is married. (42 years!) Sharing your experiences, whether they be personal or professional, are what life is all about. You never know when something you say or make or do will be the spark needed in someone else’s life. Thanks, Donna!

  19. I can relate to your journey, and I think it’s excellent that you point out how one can grow from the experience of being single.

    My husband died after 19 years of marriage. I forgot what it was like to be single, and like you, I dated too soon with bad outcomes. Like you, I got on-line to date and then got OFF-line and STAYED off-line.

    Despite rough times, I know I can paint a HUGE room by myself, mow and weed-whack 2/3rds acre, and financially support myself. I know how to budget and pay bills, what to do when I have a flat tire or a limb on the roof, find good car & home insurance, get car maintenance done, and I know how to locate the resources for stuff I can’t do.

    I never thought I’d be able to live alone and not be lonely, but I’m managing. I volunteer, read, go to church, garden, create yard art, and hang out with my dogs and friends.

    I’m a more resilient and compassionate person because I became single again late in life.

  20. I wish there was a “Like” button! I’m not in this situation and have never been. But if I ever am, I feel like I could relate and I enjoyed reading your post!

  21. Being 21 yrs. younger than my husband (married 36 yrs., widow 2 yrs. ago at age 63), I prepared myself for the day when I would be alone. Growing up in a family of DIY’s, there were times I knew more than my husband when it came to fixing something (inc. car repairs) but now I “you-tube”(like this morning how to fix a running toilet)everything! When I’ve had to hire help (leaking water heater), I researched info. online, bought the water heater myself, hired help for installation only. Single, widowed, divorced…we’ll all survive with God’s help and great people like you Donna. Hugs & thanks for your post!

  22. When my husband died 2 years ago my world immediately changed in one day. I HAD to fix my home up to sell as had no choice. I could not afford to stay there and there was no life insurance or no retirement money left. The house and its contents was all I had. Believe it or not, a hot water leak under my home a month after he died turned out to be a blessing! It got the carpets removed, paid for laminate, got all the insulation replaced which now was at a higher rating, and paid for painting! My deductible was only $500! Then I found 2 friends happened to be in construction and granite work, so new countertops in kitchen, built-in desk area and bathrooms. Plus holes n walls repaired and more painting done upstairs. My fat-in-law gifted me $10,000 to do needed work to sell and did not want repayment. I was blessed. I am still learning and growing and not at all interested in relationships…yet.

  23. Donna you constantly amaze me! I love this post, I love your blog, I love all the things you create. I have been divorced and single for 10 years now. After my marriage of 13 years, I found I had no real desire to be in another relationship or even date so I haven’t even tried. I am pretty darn happy with my life the way it is now and I have heard the horror stories from friends who have done the online dating sites and honestly it seems like too much work with very little benefit. I too have discovered I do not need a man, a nice man with my same values would be a nice luxury, but is definitely not a requirement!

    Keep on doing what you are doing. You are truly one of a kind!

    Kim

  24. I have been married 44 years but I was married at 18 and my husband joined the military 10 years into our marriage. He was away from us problably 8 years total out of the 23 years we were in the military. We moved 22 times , 4 of those on my own with the kids. I learned how to be the rock, the foundation, the go to person. It was hard and most don’t make it. I agree that being on your own without the help of another makes you grow and makes you see the person you really are meant to be. I am stronger, happier, and have a lot of self respect. I survived what a lot of women counldn’t. I am glad my hubby is still with me but I know I could continue if he wasn’t. Thanks for sharing Donna and all of you ladies..

  25. wow, I could have written that! I was so very lost and afraid when my first husband left and it would probably have been easier to divorce right away but we went back and forth for almost 5 years. I went into counseling with all the strength I had left (which wasn’t much), but SLOWLY I grew and became who I truly am including Strong and creative and I filed for divorce and began a beautiful new life. My current husband and I have been happily together for 30 years. I can now say I am my genuine self and very happy even without much money.
    I am writing this for anyone who is currently in pain….please Know it will pass and you are stronger than you think!!!
    I will print your blog to remind me when needed in the future…..Thank you!

  26. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING!!! I KNOW IT WILL HELP MANY PEOPLE. I TOO, BELIEVE YOU SHOULD WRITE A BOOK!!!! IT WOULD HELP MANY PEOPLE AND GIVE THEM HOPE THAT DO NOT GET YOUR WEBSITE AND GREAT IDEAS. I, TOO, HAD 2 DIVORCES… AFTER THE FIRST, WITH MY HIGH-SCHOOL SWEETHEART, AND FATHER OF MY CHILDREN, I FELT SO LOST… SCARED, UNEDUCATED, AND VERY ALONE. BUT IT WAS FOR THE BEST, AND MY LIFE BEGAN TO TAKE A TURN IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AFTER A VERY HARD MARRIAGE. I HAD NEVER WORKED OUTSIDE MY HOME AS I WAS “BECKY-HOMEMAKY”…. RAISED 3 KIDS, MADE ALL OUR CLOTHES, RAISED A GARDEN, CANNED, MILKED A COW, SOLD MILK, AND SLEPT AND CRIED ONCE IN A WHILE.

    AFTER 19 YRS. OF MARRIAGE, I DID GET A JOB, GAINED CONFIDENCE, LEARNED ALOT, STAYED VERY BUSY AND HAD 2 GROWN CHILDREN BY THEN. DID I MENTION I LEARNED ALOT???? I HAD SUCH A QUEST FOR LEARNING—ANYTHING!!!! I TOOK CLASSES AT NIGHT, RODE BIKES WITH MY LITTLE DAUGHTER, AND CONTINUED TO HEAL.

    AFTER OVER 30 YRS. AGO… I NOW SIT– FULFILLED, SO VERY HAPPY, STILL SINGLE, AND NOW 70. I SEW ALOT, MAKING QUILTS FOR LITTLE BABIES THAT ARE “NEEDY” AND MY WHOLE LIFE IS SO FULL OF GREAT PEOPLE, LOVE, AND DREAMS. I MOVE SLOWER NOW A DAYS, BUT STAY YOUNG INSIDE. WE LEARN TO FORGIVE QUICKLY, LOOK FOR THE BEST AND HELP OTHERS ALL THAT WE CAN.

    BLESS YOU GIRL FOR SHARING SO MUCH WITH THE WORLD!!! I LOVE YOUR IDEAS, AND YOU!!!!

    BLESSINGS TO ALL THAT READ THIS AND MAY NEED ENCOURAGEMENT.

  27. “Then one day, I turned to my son and said, ‘We’re doing it!'”

    As a mid-40-year-old, I am continually in awe of the changes that take place in us as we journey through this life. Just today, I got a phone call from our pastor offering me a job. A JOB. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 15 years. My response has been much like your expression to your son. It’s caused me to look back and see how much I’ve changed, how much better I know myself now, and what I truly need for my life to feel rich, fruitful, and full. The amazing answer is that I don’t need much. I don’t need a job for validation, affirmation, or approval. It dawned on me today that “I’m doing it!” in my own life ~ and that brings its own reward.

  28. Donna, you are truly a breath of fresh air! You get it! Women don’t “need” to be in a relationship to be happy. I didn’t date anyone for 8 years after my divorce. What I truly don’t understand are those (males and females) that have to have another someone waiting in the wings in order to proceed with life. You are spot on with the personal growth and enjoyment in that growth in becoming the new you. Think of all the time you had your son to yourself! You didn’t have to share him with anyone else. How awesome is that? You’re setting a wonderful example for him – showing him how to be creative and happy at the same time. I think that rocks!

  29. Floored… oh my goodness, I don’t even know what to say. I’ll be replying to some comments soon. I’m just catching my breath…

    So many beautiful and powerful stories. YOU are amazing! And I thank you for sharing yours here, for the benefit of others.

    Truly. Thank-YOU!

  30. **It wasn’t until I was well on my way with a few new skills, that real healing started to take place. As my skills grew, so did my confidence.**

    It’s been 33 1/2 months since I lost my dear husband, after 43 years of togetherness and working on projects. Power tools do scare me, I’m 66 years young, but I am learning to do as much as I can to take care of things. My project for cooler weather that’s coming is to prep and paint my little cottage. It greatly needs it as it has peeling and faded paint. I’ve found a good source online for videos by one house painter and I’m going to work on one wall or section at a time. Eventually it will get done and I will feel GREAT. ( I do have a workshop full of tools and know how to use some of them. Mostly though I was his willing and loving helper. I loved working with him. We were a great team.)

    I want to thank you for all that you share here and for your courageous attitude. You encourage so many and are a blessing.

    FlowerLady

  31. Oh, Donna. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I can relate to so much of it – single after two marriages and 31 years in those relationships, I was terrified! And I know that feeling of exhilaration when you accomplish something new for the first time and know – really know! – that you are indeed doing it!

    Brightest blessings, Donna. Keep doing what you do. You inspire me every day!

  32. Amazing story, as are a lot of others on here today. It’s like that Carly Simon song, “I am woman, hear me roar!” We are all stronger than we think we are. I have been on my own, since July 31, 2014. Actually that’s when my husband of almost 55 years passed away. I have been on my own, totally a lot longer than that, due to him being in a nursing home for 9 months prior, and before that when he was diagnosed with Alzheimers 2 yrs or so ago. I have learned how to stand up for myself when times get tough. Fortunately when I was employed I worked for the local school system, so beside social security, I get a pension from the state. Unfortunaterly, my income went down a $1,000 when he died! So far, I can pay all my bills, eat out at least once a week, buy new clothes once in a while and take in a movie on $5.00 Tuesdays! My house is paid for, as is my car.I am not interested in meeting men-my marriage was far from happy and I don’t want to go down that road again! I am perfectly happy with my lifestyle and my family and friends. I don’t do much DIY, I don’t have the strength to do heavy lifting anymore (I’m a mere 77 yrs young), but I do like to paint and craft, and I’m getting ready for 2 large shows in Oct and Nov., plus I have a booth in the largest craft mall in our state. So I keep busy–no time to b e anything but happy!

  33. Thank you for this, Donna…I appreciate this post from the heart because it’s just nice to know that you are not alone and you aren’t weird for embracing the single life. My husband passed away when we were still quite young…it wasn’t long after that many of my friends were trying desperately to push me into a relationship for some odd reason…almost like my singleness made them feel uncomfortable or something? I was foolish not to listen to my gut and wound up going on dates in order to make my friends happy…but my heart definitely wasn’t in it. Three years later, I met a wonderful man and we had quite a lengthy relationship…I made it clear to him that I wasn’t in it for marriage at that time and I didn’t want anymore children…he was fine with that…until a couple of years later when he decided he wanted to have children. That difference in goals ended our relationship, but I didn’t hold a grudge or anything…he just decided he wanted different things than I did, so, even though it hurt immensely to let him go, it was the right thing for both of us and he is very happily married with a child now. Now I am at the same point in my life as you are…I just really have no desire to date or to start a relationship and I have no problem with that…the problem is how other people view that decision. Some of my friends just feel sure that I can’t possibly be truly happy without a significant other in my life and any genuine reassurance to the contrary from me doesn’t seem to make a lick of difference in how they view my singleness. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me…maybe not as much as it did when my singleness was new, but it still does get under my skin…like, how can my friends possibly view me as someone so weak that she needs a man in her life? It’s kind of insulting. Or maybe I’m just taking it too hard? Anyway, sorry to go off with my blabberfingers again…I guess I just wanted to let you know I greatly appreciated you putting yourself out like this…I wanted you to know that it’s helped me personally…thank you! All this heartfelt honesty coming from a strong and independent woman is just what I needed at this moment…now I don’t feel like such an anomaly. 🙂

  34. There was a time when I had to just put one foot in front of the other and build a life for me and my daughter.

    I hope you find a love, a companion, some day. When you’re ready to open up to that possibility. For now, the friends, family and helpers seem to be enough.

    I always thought that there should be a website for singles called Friends First. Hopefully, that’s self-explanatory. People need friends much more than they need a mate.

    Thank you.

  35. Hello Ms. FunkyJunk! It’s been awhile since I’ve been here. I don’t think it’s a by accident that I’m here this morning. I lost my husband just over 3 years ago, it drastically changed the course of my life! I am beginning to feel like I’m on somewhat sturdy ground now, at least most days. Even though our losses are different there are some similarities. I really appreciate your advice, friends ask me if I’m ready to date and I always reply, not yet, I’m working on me and I believe what you say, I attract what I am. Thank you for sharing this today, it’s validating. I need to watch that movie! ?

  36. I could so relate to your story. I am going to share it with a friend who is just beginning her journey to ” doing it.” It is a process and it does take time to adjust our stride. Thank you for sharing.

  37. Thank you for sharing your story, I’m so happy for your growth and your story should be an inspiration to those women who are going through the same.

  38. You go girl. I was by myself after 10 years until I find my guy…its hard and lonely sometimes but its possible….And you learn how to be independent and self sufficient.

  39. Congrats! I too know what it is like to “be single” after divorce. For me too it was a great growing experience. I learned so much…and I liked being independent. You go girl !!!

  40. What a wonderful post this week. It reminds me of my own story I have been divorced for 18 years and have a child that turns 18 on October 7 of this year. This last weekend I spent all day underneath my laundry room in the crawlspace pulling out old insulation, removing heat tape that wasn’t wrapped around any pipes, taking down loose pipe insulation,and cleaning up all the insulation that was on the ground. I cleaned it all up by myself, I wrapped the heat tape around the pipes, put the pipe insulation around the pipes and insulated the crawlspace area. When I crawled out of the crawlspace at the end of the day, I looked down and I was covered in dust and dirt and it was a proud moment for me, as I had earned that dust and dirt. My pride in myself was at a all-time high for the day knowing that this winter the pipes in my laundry room would not be freezing. Every time I fix, repair, replace,something in my old farmhouse I gain confidence in myself.

  41. Great words of wisdom! Thanks for sharing. I have been single for just over a year after a 25 year marriage. It’s an adjustment, but I feel good. Recently, I was at an estate sale and overheard a couple. The husband was lecturing his wife on why they didn’t need whatever it was she was looking at. I just smiled and thought…wow I am glad I am grabbing these great buys without someone laying on the guilt trip lol.
    You will find the right one when you are ready.

  42. I spent a LONG time thinking, after my divorce, that if I didn’t have a boyfriend, or at least a lot of dates, there was something wrong with me. It’s like some sort of measuring stick: no boyfriend = must be something wrong with her. It’s kind of like the gorgeous house across the street from me that’s been on the market for over a year. It’s simply stunning and priced very well. I see people going to look at it all the time but no one ever buys. I keep thinking, it must have a serious flaw. There’s no way a house that beautiful and at that price should not have sold a long time ago. That’s how I thought about myself. I must have a flaw, no one wants me.

    That way of thinking led to another failed marriage. I’m so thankful that I no longer feel that way. Oh sure, I told myself before I didn’t need anyone to be whole, but saying it and feeling it are not always the same thing. Now I really, truly 100% believe I’m okay just me, just the way I am. I have no interest in dating now. Maybe some day I will. Maybe I won’t. I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. I have 2 beautiful children still at home (the others are grown) and we do great. We’re beyond broke and there’s always something that’s needing money I don’t have, but we are still good.

    I’m content. No, I’m more than content, I’m thankful for this life. Maybe it wasn’t what I thought I wanted and it’s not the easiest but it’s mine and I am determined to own it and enjoy it.

    Nice post, thanks for sharing!!

  43. Donna,

    I was so moved by your blog today! Thank you for sharing what I know are very personal and sometimes hard to admit feelings. Sometimes when we are at our lowest in life, we find the strongest part of us we never knew existed.

    I too found myself alone about 15 years ago. I have not found that “soulmate” yet and I am not sure if he is even out there, but if not that is ok too. I found the person I wanted to be, but never knew. I like who I am and found I am a strong and capable woman who can handle any curve life throws at me. There are a lot of us out here who sometimes need to hear the other’s struggles to realize they are not alone. I know your post today will help others who may be feeling alone and unable to handle those curve balls life throws at them. Thank you so much for your blog post today!

    Sandy

  44. Donna,
    I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story in today’s post. I am in that same situation. Except that I am 63 years old and we had been together for 35 years. I am heartbroken and terrified of what lies ahead.
    I am trying to hold on to my house but not sure if I can handle the upkeep and repairs. Your can do spirit is so inspiring. You have given me hope! I am very grateful. I hope now I can turn this grief into productivity!

  45. Donna
    It is so wonderful to hear/read your words of strength.

    Western Culture puts a lot of pressure on us girls to be ‘with’ someone and it takes incredible resilience to learn that we should ONLY be with a person if it enriches our life.

    And if our life is already full of happiness and learning and joy, then there is no need to include romance unless it enhances those experiences.

    I’m pretty impressed with how you choose to live your life without the NEED for romance, as it is a very valuable lesson for your son. . . . another person can’t make you happy, but they can enhance your happiness.

    It makes you a strong woman and a fabulous Mum.
    Love your work!
    <3
    Pia

  46. I have always followed your site for interesting makeover and vintage finds even if I am half a world away. Stay strong and God will not give us something we can’t handle and pull it through.

  47. To be transparent and honest is a good thing. Our struggles should always build character and cause us to search deep. Thanks for sharing about your life!

  48. Wow, this post hit me hard, it’s not just divorce that could lead to this very situation, but the reality of winding up here is scary. I fear I may too become dependent and won’t have the same strength and resilience as you. Although im the one who’s always fixing everything, and love the diy projects, I guess I just don’t like to think about the “dis” or “doing it single”. I saw what I thought was the two people together for life, dwindle apart when finances became an issue. They were the epitome of “good marriage” and all it took was money problems to ruin it for both of them. It seems like there are so many more odds against us in this world, I don’t blame you for not wanting to date, but if the right person comes along, and you feel that tug on your heart, I hope your strong enough to take a chance. So your ex husband wasn’t “the one”, so someone out there is. Ive recently been blessed to now have a relationship with a brother I hadn’t seen in 15 years, pretty much my whole youth have minimal memories with him. And of course him being 19 years older than me, may have played a part, but one thing I know for sure, hes never really been in love. With two daughters fully grown, living their own lives, he made the decision to move here to vegas, and to get his life back on track.I know living here alone is somewhat of a gamble but I believe even at 50 he’s going to find love. I plan to help him if possible, I just hope he will take the chance as well. This world apparently makes nothing easy for anyone, we just have to stick it out and pray it doesn’t break us.

    • Hi Angel!

      I totally get it. No one wants to think of the inevitable that one partner is generally destined to pass before the other, it’s worth considering. Just set yourself up in a good place (both of you) so you can do a little of everything is my suggestion.

      I will also never work against what is meant to be. Time will tell what that actually is. 🙂

  49. I am so glad you decided to post this very personal and might I say beautifully written narrative about your life event becoming a single person. The message that came through is how much you have grown as an individual in so many ways. I am sure you have inspired somebody by sharing your story. Take Care!

  50. Hi Donna,

    I totally agree with your story. After being married 17 years and divorced 4 years, I have not even dated once. I have nothing against relationships, but my three kids and I are content with our lives. I don’t need a man to make me happy. There is a difference between being alone and lonely. My life is so crazy busy, I don’t even have time to be lonely.

  51. Donna, thank you for this post. I found myself suddenly, shockingly single after being happily married for 22 years. At first it seems like you can’t possibly survive, but slowly things get better -usually a lot slower than you want it to! So I am echoing your post for everyone out there who finds themselves single when it wasn’t what they wanted or planned: Yes it’s awful, but it WILL get better and you WILL be happy again!!
    Take Care,
    -Ellen

  52. OH I needed those words. My husband of 31 years passed away 11 days ago.54 years old.Alcolhol took him.It is awful to watch a man with so much to give loose himself over the years.Our children are 30,24 and 22.We are so heartbroken.No insurance at all.So this post is just what I needed to read.Thank you

  53. You’re doing great! And the fact you’ve shared the whole story means you accept everything that is going on with you! I really wish you a good luck!

  54. Thank you for sharing Donna. Time after time I fall back on my husband to do easy tasks for me because he grabs the tools off me knowing he can do it faster. He may also be trying to avoid injury. (He calls me the oops lady, I’m klutzy) I always have a project so this is often. I ALWAYS think of you. You do it all on your own. Today I’m going to put something together ON MY OWN, DARNIT! LOL

    Because of you.

    God bless you and your son and thank you for my favorite blog and coffee time.

  55. OMG! your story touched my whole being. Thanks so much for sharing. I was married for 20 years. And like you my story is the same. But now i am like you living content with GODS help.

  56. Donna, I totally get where you’re coming from. All of my confidence and self esteem came after ending my marriage when I had to learn how to do everything for myself. I remember about a month after it ended, I got a flat tire and I changed the tire all by myself. That was a huge “I can do it” moment. And there are so many things I would never have tried to do if I had stayed married. I’m sure I would not have gone to grad school and I’m sure I would never have achieved the personal success and growth that I have achieved. If you can find the right person who motivates you to grow, that’s great. But mine wasn’t one of those. And I wouldn’t be the strong person I am now had I stayed in that relationship.

  57. Your words are certainly applicable to me and I have been married for 27 years. I am still learning my way along life’s ride as well. Even though I am not single and am mother to three children ages 11, 15 and 20 and my 20 year old son and his 20 year old wife have a newborn baby boy. My husband is a high school music educator and vocal coach. My mother who is a widow lives with us along with all of the above mentioned. Our home is brimming with activity most all of the time. With each new phase in life I have had to adjust and adapt to multiple changes. This has taught me a great deal. Being the one who manages the home, maintains it and the yard along with the cars and anything pertaining to the needs of those living here. I have learned to tackle projects, repairs and a host of issues often times not because I wanted to, but they had to get done and I was the only to do it. Often times it was simply because the money was not there to hire someone. This has stretched me and really provided me with a level of confidence and tenaciousness that I used to be in shorter supply of. I have really learned that each difficulty we face in life does not have to be dreaded. It is really a matter of how you look at it. Your attitude and perspective is refreshing and will inspire others, even women who like me are married. It is easy to lose oneself in the midst of all that we do for others. I am/was an artist and although I am not “doing” art I do try to implement my creativity in all that I do. I know many married women who in a sense are starting over, empty nesters, widows, and even some who have spouses whose jobs require extensive travel I know personally that dusting one’s self off and gaining a fresh perspective is vital. You make a fabulous point that I plan to share with those I know who have gone through divorce when you said “you attract who you are?” I’m afraid it’s true. I was not 100%, so how could I attract that? What a nugget of wisdom you have shared, if others will listen. Thanks!
    Amy

  58. I’ve been a reader of your diy and love every minute of it. I can tell you being a guy going through a divorce after almost 20 years together this article you’ve written is truly amazing. Just wanted to say thank you for being so open and letting others know you can do it with a little elbow grease and hard work. Any tips on redoing a travel trailer by the way?

  59. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!! I needed to read this post. I have been a follower of yours for some time now and todays posting lead me to this post. I too will be entering the BIG D storm and I have decided that my love for home and things repurposed are going to be my personal focus. With joint custody of two toddler boys I hope my time with them is spent doing fun stuff like painting old wooden planks for a shelf idea for our new place or banging dents into an old can to give it character. The time spent tinkering around my small collection of tools will be my inspiration to continue to connect with them, maybe learn a new trade but overall spend happy moments with the most important two boys of my life.

    • I wish you all the best! Diving into a passion really helped me when my mom passed away. Divorce is kinda the same in a round about way. You have a great plan of action, good for you on your optimistic take!

  60. I actually logged onto your site because I’m a fan and am starting a blog of my own and was hoping to check out your tips about blogging.
    Boy, did I need this! I haven’t actually took the plunge, my site still says, Coming Soon”. I needed this inspiration and that is actually why I have started my blog, I hope to inspire.
    I lost my husband in a terrible accident and a few weeks later suffered a debilitating stroke at 39. I still want to, and try to do the things I love and I want others to know that they can too.
    I hope that when my site is actually up and running you can check it out.
    Thanks so much for giving me the push needed this morning.
    Angie