What to do when your life falls apart

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You have probably noticed I haven’t been blogging very recently. You may also have noticed some changes to what I’ve been posting on social media.

The short version is — I am getting a divorce. Because my husband no longer wants to be married.

Of course there is a lot more to it than that, and of course this was not a quick or easy decision. In fact, accepting this will be the best thing for me and actually walking away is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life.

But essentially …. 2015 has been the worst year of my life, everything that I thought I had and knew is wrong, the foundation of everything in my life is now up-ended. Everything has changed. Everything is different. I am starting over completely.

So what do I do now? Now that I am starting over? 

  1. Make a plan — There were months of uncertainty and anxiety and through it all the only thing I knew for sure was what I would do if/when my marriage truly ended. I needed that lifeline. I needed that plan, those guideposts. Even if it changed or never came to pass, I needed that 1 thing I could control. My plan.
    That plan ended up changing a bit over the last few months, but I always had that list to come back to to reground myself.
    And now that that scenario has come up, I was 200% better prepared to meet it when it finally did.
  2. Be gentle with yourself — I haven’t been blogging because I’m depressed and anxious. Plain and simple. I can’t focus on anything work-related, I don’t have any energy. I need a lot of time.
    I’m ok with it. I’ve been going for more walks. I’ve been indulging myself by buying $6 kindle books if I want one. I’ve been giving myself permission to miss deadlines.
    I certainly can’t do everything I had been doing before my life fell apart, so I’m giving myself a pass. I’m looking forward to getting back to myself, but in the meantime I know it’s ok that I’m not.
  3. Stay positive — I had so many hopes for our married life together, and now that it’s over I have made a concerted effort to form new hopes. I’ve started researching tips for women traveling alone, I’ve planned a couple hypothetical road trips, I’ve looked at house prices in different cities where I might want to move. …. Not a lot. And nothing definite. But better than nothing.
  4. Ask for help — or if you’re more like me, accept the help that is offered. Friends gave me so much slack on missed deadlines and missed project. My boss told me to take as much time off as I needed and my other boss offered to write Andrew into a book and then kill him in a violent manner. Even Andrew’s family offered to come help pack stuff if I wanted them to.

And, you guys? I need help.

I no longer have a husband, roommate, travel partner, best friend, financial support, co-cat parent, etc. I need to figure out how I can make a full-time income. I need to figure out where I want to live now. I need to figure out who I want to spend my time with.

I am moving and starting over somewhere else. We are selling the house and I have no reason to stay in California, so today I am getting in the car with my 2 cats, driving across the country and moving in with my parents for a little while (I will probably post from the road if I can).

I’ll have more thoughts as I restart my life on my own. As I continue building a full-time freelance income. I’ll have more ideas about scrapbooking and memory keeping through life events like this. I’ll have stories and laughs with the friends and family I will see more often now. I’ll have ideas about where I want to live next and what I want to deliberately choose now that I am rebuilding on my own.

This is my new story.

P.S. This is the reason I’ve barely blogged. The reason my first book hasn’t been finished as planned. The reason I never finished my December Daily album or ever went back to my January RESET project. The reason I can barely accomplish anything right now. Life is hard. Getting out of bed is hard. Please be gentle with me.

P.P.S. I will be moving into posting more long-form articles on the blog and sending more personal posts to my email list. Sign-up here if you’d like those.

P.P.P.S. This is where I ask for help. One thing you can help me with now is send your referrals for editing my way. I love that work, and I can do it any time, any where. Or grab any one of my courses. Or just buy your Amazon products through my affiliate link. Thank you. I love you guys.

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  • Kristen July 30, 2015 at 9:18 am edit

    Amy, sending you my positive thoughts and well wishes at this extremely difficult time. As a fellow divorced gal ( now 3 years out), I can tell you that the tough moments will lessen and life gets different. Lean into the sadness, anger, frustration– allow yourself to feel whatever it is on any given day. Give yourself whatever you need. Divorce- no matter the circumstances- is a tough ending to the version of life you thought you set for yourself and even now as I am in a happy, committed, honest relationship, I still have moments where I think about how things could have been. Whatever you do, you are right to be kind to yourself, but also be grateful and remember the love in the world and all around you– and that you deserve amazing love, no matter what happens through the divorce.

    Reply
  • Mad July 30, 2015 at 10:04 am edit

    I am going through something very similar at the moment, so I really feel for you. Try to find the positives in your new life, I’m determined to have a more awesome life without him than I would have done if he’d stayed. Let your cats comfort you. I hope the most painful parts start fading for you soon.

    Reply
  • Krstina July 30, 2015 at 7:28 pm edit

    Love and support <3 I wish you smooth sailing through these choppy waters. Make sure you take care of yourself!

    Reply
  • Nina July 30, 2015 at 11:27 pm edit

    This is heartbreaking news for sure. Even though I went through this three years ago I don’t really know what to tell you or how to comfort you. Divorce is hard as hell. Even if you know it’s what needs to happen. Even if you chose it, even if you both agreed to it. I can promise you however, that this is a case of ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. I truly believe that. For now I’ll leave you with this poem that has completely struck a cord with me as I went through divorce.

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

    Invictus, by William Ernest Henley.

    I’m sorry for your loss. And I know will find footing again soon ’cause you’re brilliant and strong.

    Keeping you in my thoughts.
    Nina

    Reply
  • Charlotte Steggz July 31, 2015 at 3:53 am edit

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Please accept this virtual hug.
    I really want you to know that just because one person doesn’t want to be married with you anymore (whatever the backstory), it doesn’t make you any less awesome, and myself and all your readers still love you lots. Take your time and we’ll always be here.

    Reply
  • Kristin | My Life as a Teacup July 31, 2015 at 4:49 am edit

    THIS. It sounds like you’ve got so many incredibly people beside you in this, and don’t forget all of us, too :) Just because one person doesn’t want to be married doesn’t mean you’re not awesome.

    Reply
  • Anita July 31, 2015 at 6:38 am edit

    I’m so sorry that you have to go through this, but you’re on the right track. Take your time, and let life happen, while you figure things out.

    A combination of all the things you’re already doing, could be where money could come from in the future. So when you’re ready, finish your books, keep editing, keep making scrapbooks, take more photos.

    – Perhaps make videos, books, and tutorials (to sell) about scrapbooking?

    – Create a book about how to self-edit? Those who want to do that, will probably not be your clients in the first place anyway, but you could earn money of the sale of such a book, and they might be clients later in their writing life. Win-win.

    – Sell photos on stock sites. A lot of people need photos for all kinds of projects.

    – Write books. Lots of books.

    These things will all provide small streams of income, that will keep coming, keep building, while you’re making even more stuff, and you’ll grow your own platform over time.

    But until you’re ready, take care of yourself and your cats.

    And when you’re ready, you’ll just start out with a Barney quote:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcQJDNW6HTo

    Sending you virtual hugs and love!
    All the best to you, Amy.

    Reply
  • Ginger July 31, 2015 at 6:54 am edit

    There’s a whole huge number of us out here cheering for you that you don’t know – but who have been touched by you, enlightened by your insights, cheered for you as you quit your day job, sent energy to you as you were writing. We are a whole chorus of folks who think you rock. Through this shattering time, we are still out here cheering for you. Now I’m headed over to your course page – let’s get some bits of encouraging income streaming your way.

    Reply
  • George July 31, 2015 at 6:54 am edit

    Amy,

    I can’t explain it, but I felt brotherly affinity for you the one time we worked together. So, I am going to offer a few words as someone that wants only the best for you.

    It is hard now. But, it will get a little better everyday (well, most days). For the really tough days there are cats and ice cream.

    The other side of this story is that this is very good news for the lucky person you are now on a trajectory to meet. You can’t think about that now, I know. Just remember, while you are healing, that love always finds love.

    -GH

    Reply
  • Manasa July 31, 2015 at 9:45 am edit

    I am shocked! I can’t believe this is happening… I just hope n pray that u find the strength to get through this difficult time..
    Love!!!

    Reply
  • Alice August 1, 2015 at 3:19 am edit

    So sorry to read this, Amy! I send you a big hug across the ocean <3

    Reply
  • Mika August 1, 2015 at 5:35 pm edit

    I wish there was something I could say that would be able to lessen the immense pain you feel right now. Since there isn’t- I just wish you ALL the best. You are so much stronger than you know. There is a whole community of strangers who wish you love and happiness and who support you, even if they aren’t sure what to say or how to reach out. I’m giving you the BIGGEST virtual hug right now. Please take care and take all the time you need. You are worth it!

    Reply
  • Anna (64ColorBox) August 2, 2015 at 8:40 pm edit

    Your news saddens me. I’ve been sending positive vibes your way since seeing your posts on Instagram. I’ll keep my ears open for any freelance work to send your way.

    Reply
  • kate August 3, 2015 at 11:01 am edit

    I’m sorry to hear about this loss and dramatic change in your life. I had read this not long before I read your news, and thought you might like it… http://emilyvgordon.tumblr.com/post/125126717910/hi-emily-i-saw-by-reading-some-of-your-comments

    I love your four steps listed above. I wish you continued gentleness with yourself and all the time you need.

    Reply
  • Katherine August 5, 2015 at 8:41 am edit

    I have enjoyed your blog for years, since I lived somewhat near you in Burbank (around 2008.)
    Sorry you’re hurting. I bought Tell its Story Today. Keep writing!

    Reply
  • Meg @ AdventuresinVerdance.com August 6, 2015 at 10:28 am edit

    Sending love your way. I went through a divorce two years ago and it changed my life completely. Now, I’m in a new town, have a new career… literally everything about me has changed.

    Remember that you are fantastic. You’ll make it through this. <3

    Reply
  • Jennifer P August 9, 2015 at 11:11 am edit

    Hi Amy. I am so sorry to hear about your divorce. I don’t want to fill this up with cliches about things being meant to be, etc so I will just say that I am sending positive energy and love your way. You seem like a strong woman who knows what she wants out of life and will do what it takes, so I say to that…You go girl and keep doing what your doing. Big hugs to you. Jennifer

    Reply
  • Melanie August 10, 2015 at 6:36 am edit

    Sending you good vibes! I hope you can take some time to dream while you heal. I am now 8 years out from getting divorced (at 24) and I don’t look back at all. There are now days when I forget that I had had that other life, and I like this one a lot more. Hugs to you and Amazon here I come 😉

    Reply
  • Karla August 10, 2015 at 3:31 pm edit

    With a few minor changes, you could be writing my story. I separated in 2012 and moved from California back home. A year later we divorced. He was my partner since I was 15 years old. We married at 18 and were married for 30 years. He too just didn’t want to be married anymore. I just want to let you know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Three years later our divorce is now actually the best thing that could have happened. I have rediscovered who I am and what I want.

    A few lessons I learned:

    1. Take the time you need to grieve your loss and decide what it is you really want.
    2. Follow your heart and pay no regard to anyone else’s opinion.
    3. Spend time with people who love and care about you.
    4. You go over and over all the things you should have done. I felt it was all my fault. Then my ex quit his job with a very well know studio in the entertainment business, someplace that would most people would kill to work for. His reasons were the same as for our separation. It was then I realized that no matter what I did it was never going to be enough. It was nothing you did or didn’t do, you are enough just the way you are.
    5. Wait awhile before you begin dating again. You need some time by yourself to give closure to your old relationship before beginning a new one. I would rather be alone than be with the wrong person just to be in a relationship.
    6. Look at it as a chance to have a do over. How many people get that? Follow you passion, and you will find the right career path for you.
    7. Take the help and support the others offer to you. You do not have to go through this alone.

    Thank you so much for posting your story. I know it must have been a hard story to write, but you helped me remember how much I have grown since my divorce and made me grateful for all that I have today.

    Reply
  • Gayle August 19, 2015 at 7:32 am edit

    I’m so sorry. I have been there. And it sucks. A lot. And it will continue to suck for awhile, but probably not as long as you think. It will suck slightly less each day until one day you wake up and it doesn’t suck any longer. Let your parents love on you. Cuddle your cats. Be grateful that it’s not as bad as it could be. And know it will get better and you’ll survive and then thrive and life will be good again.

    Reply
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