Observations on a Life in Progress

March 22, 2011

in Life Lessons, Singledom

A Life in Progress: More Sunny Days Ahead

Writing my 100th post on Naked Girl’s 11 month anniversary last Friday sparked a few days of contemplation. Looking back at where I was in my life when I published my first post and what my life looks like today, it truly amazes me. Just 30 days shy of a year, I have become stronger, more capable, and a happier person. Not because life magically became easier for me, but because I have worked hard to get where I am today. Re-reading some of the posts I wrote in the early months and comparing what I was feeling at that moment to where I am now, it is a testament to the positive changes I have been able to bring about in me.

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.” ~Leonardo da Vinci

Last May I wrote about being overwhelmed with owning my home. The list of home repair projects was growing and I didn’t feel I would ever overcome the feeling that I was incapable of handling the maintenance of the house. Just in the last month I have tackled a painting project, replaced all the doorknobs on a floor of the house, repaired grout, re-caulked the shower, and replaced toilet seats. Each week I work on at least one project in my home. As a result, the long list is getting shorter. But more important than the shrinking to do list, I feel so proud of my accomplishments; that feeling is what I love the most.

The first post on Naked Girl in a Dress gave some insight into the end of my marriage, how it affected me, and the challenges I faced with someone I was dating at the time I started my blog. That relationship ended horribly, but what I learned from it was that I found myself in that situation because I did not have a clearly-defined understanding of what I wanted in a relationship. Otherwise we would not have continued to date for as long as we did. In February I shared a list of qualities I was looking for in a man. Last fall I created the list and it has helped me with evaluating whether to continue dating someone or not. It is something I wish I had before I started dating post-separation, but of course, that experience was a lesson that I needed to learn. Just recently, at the end of an 8 week relationship, I learned this list should be written in pencil. Each experience helps hone what I want and don’t want in my life. My list needed to be slightly altered, having a better understanding of what I want in my life and what I find unacceptable.

In August I shared a fear of socializing single for the first 1 1/2 years of separation. I repeatedly turned down invitations, but I overcame that fear last summer. And I have continued to feel more comfortable with time. Making even more progress, last weekend I hosted a big dinner party with friends and their children. And I felt comfortable as hostess. I actually enjoyed myself and was relaxed all evening.

I have even seen progress in me in the last 6 months. In September I shared how worried I was about starting photography school. I didn’t think I would be able to balance all the responsibilities I already had in my life with the demanding schedule of attending classes, homework, studying, and more. There have been many times in the last 6 months that I have questioned my sanity. I have stayed up all night working on a class project and also spent late night hours to catch up for work. But 5 months away from graduating, I know it was a wise decision. I have grown tremendously as a photographer, but also it instilled more of a team mentality in our home. The kids help me on mornings I am rushing to finish a project by preparing their own breakfast or packing a lunch. Princess Daisy and Monkey also take more initiative helping around the house. We are working together, all 3 of us, to support each other. The kids are growing from this experience too.

I still find myself learning and growing, with a lot of challenges as a single mom yet to overcome. But as I look back over the last 11 months, I feel even more confident that life will continue to improve and that I will be even happier than I am right now.

Why?

Because I am taking responsibility for shaping the life I want and I am a little closer to being that Naked Girl in a Dress.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie March 22, 2011 at 11:17 am

Life is a journey and you are doing fabulous. I started to blog because of you and while I am in a different place, it has been great to see the transformation. Divorce is never easy on anyone but if we give ourselves room, we become better people because of it.

Keep growing, keep an open mind and keep making YOU the priority!

P.S. Maybe we should do house projects together – I am going to replace the mortar in my brick soon – that will be a big accomplishment :)

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Naked Girl in a Dress March 24, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Debbie,

Would love to do house projects together AFTER you finish your mortar project. I think I will sit that one out.

Thank you for the kind words and encouragement.

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Random Girl March 22, 2011 at 11:18 am

Yes indeed! Progress is paramount and moving forward a little each day gives you what you need to keep moving. I love the line about how your list should really be written in pencil. That really struck me. It’s so true! You really do learn something that either needs to be added, removed or changed based on each experience. Love your reflection and the knowledge you share!
Random Girl recently posted..Threesomes- Haters- and TequilaMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress March 24, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Thank you Random Girl. I love the insightful comments you leave here and the constant support of me as I make my way on my journey. Thank you my friend.

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Eric March 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Wow I cannot help but admire the work you have accomplished and the progress you have made…It truly is a source of inspiration and a source of guidance as I progress thru my separation and divorce.It teaches me hope and a feeling of growth and that there is a life out there ..post “bad” relationship.
More importantly It teaches us that we DO have choices or whether to succeed or to whither and fail. I choose to succeed.

Congrats on your 100th post

Eric

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Naked Girl in a Dress March 24, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Eric,

You are on the right path if you choose to succeed. What a powerful statement! If you focus on that, everything will fall into place for you. Keep that as your mantra on your bad days. Some days I had to cling to that thought as I struggled to get through the day.

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SuzRocks March 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Congrats on your 100th post- Doesn’t it feel good to have not quit? So many people quit blogging when they’ve not turned into Dooce within the first 2 months.

Glad you’re still here!
SuzRocks recently posted..Spooning Alligators and Other Reasons You Should Visit Fort LauderdaleMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress March 24, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Thank you Suz, for the kind words and for being a long-time reader. You have been there from close to the beginning if I remember correctly.

What I wouldn’t give for Dooce-like pageviews in a month! I have faith that it will come with time though (OK, maybe not Dooce level, but much higher).

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Rene Foran March 26, 2011 at 11:03 am

what you have
that springs from heart and mind
and out of the tips of your fingers
is beautiful
love it dearly

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Lance March 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm

If blogging was needed for anyone, it’s for those starting a new phase int heir life. As I’ve commented to you previously, you are where I was at about 4 years ago. A couple of friends who read me now, read me back then. They told me it’s like reading adult verses a teenager, in terms of maturity, growth, and what I have to say.

I can’t wait to read what you are writing six months or even a year from now. I bet it will be pretty dynamic. Congratulations on your first 100. Fiver says number 200 will be 100 times better.
Lance recently posted..The House of IronyMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress March 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm

You are incredibly supportive and I appreciate you following me. Your insight is great too!

I hope you are correct about 200.

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Simon Wallett March 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm

The feeling of taking control of your life, even those little things that have drifted by, is amazing and so liberating.
Simon Wallett recently posted..Down Boy!Get the fuck down!My Profile

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