When The Going Gets Complicated, SIMPLIFY!

I now realize how easy it is to be self involved when you’re young. You’re on a mission (a whole bunch of missions), and you barely have time to think of anyone else. Get into a good school. Get good grades. Land a great job. Meet the right person. Buy a nice house. Start a nice family. Make more money. Buy more things.

opener

Along the way, you come together with worlds of different people, many of whom help you maneuver from point A to point B. You love some, loathe others, and you keep forging ahead, even if you pick up scrapes, bruises and scars along the way.

It’s quite a process, and if you’ve been lucky enough to make it through five or six decades with most of your faculties still intact, you wake up one day and are ready to “smell the roses.” That doesn’t mean you’re going to retire and start eating early bird dinners. But suddenly it feels right to scale back, pare down, and concentrate on the things that your accumulated wisdom has taught you to value the most. Life is jammed packed with enough unavoidable complications; it’s time to get rid of those over which you do have control! Some of us start shedding ourselves of material stuff we’ve been gathering all along the way: Ticket stubs to a Bette Midler New Year’s Eve performance in the 70s; a dress we wore on the first date with our husband; a George Foreman Grill that last saw a steak in 1997.

It feels utterly refreshing and liberating to have fewer possessions, but you cherish the ones you kept, through and through!collage

Others of us buy smaller cars and smaller homes. Who needs 6,000 square feet when you spend 90% of your time in a room that measures 14 by 16?! (I read that former New York mayor, 73-year-old Michael Bloomberg, recently purchased his upteenth mansion. He doesn’t fall into this category!)

Then there’s the subject of the people in your life. Their more the merrier just doesn’t ring true anymore. You love being with upbeat friends and relatives who don’t complain about every little thing, but who appreciate the little things in life. You adore the people who are genuinely happy for you, whether you land a new job or find a new dress, as well as those who share your pain as if it were their own.

You want to surround yourself with friends who listen to you and give you wise advice, “get” you, appreciate you, and cheer you on. Self involvement may be an acceptable state of youth. It simply doesn’t wear well any more, kind of like the dress you finally tossed out. You no longer have time–or patience– for people like that.

divider

A recent FabOverFifty poll of 500 women revealed 66 percent of us severed ties with girlfriends during the last five years; 34 percent with a sibling; 23 percent with a significant other, and 9 percent with a child (now, that last one is really sad, as far as I’m concerned.)

And, not surprisingly, self-centeredness ranked first among the reasons for the rifts. Other reasons, in order of importance, included:

cta

30 Responses to “When The Going Gets Complicated, SIMPLIFY!”

  1. Scarlett says:

    After 24+ years of marriage (two kids 19/23), I left my husband because I was tired of doing everything to keep our marriage afloat. No affection, no sex, no spontaneity, etc. Maybe it WAS the FSOG books, but I knew that I only had one life to live and I wasn’t getting any younger (I’m 56 now). Dating is hard and I’m trying not to get too emotionally attached too quickly, but it’s hard. I want so bad to have a relationship with someone who will give to me what I have to give back.

    REPLY
  2. Linda says:

    Oh…several. One sided relationships mostly. After I moved out of state, I did all the calling or sent all the emails and then after I gave up I received texts such as “Not that you care, but “X” has been admitted to the cardiac unit”. Give me a break. Also “Negative Nelly”….I’d tell her about the great new job I have and the remarks back were “I hope you get to see your husband once in awhile.” I don’t need it.

    REPLY
  3. izarah says:

    My brother raped and molested me for years.Then when my Mother passed on he ripped me off and took hundreds of thousands of dollars off me-I live with a disability and could have really used this money which was legally mine. I ditched him and most of the rest of my family-along with some friends. Life is good now.

    REPLY
  4. sarah says:

    i turned 50 2 days ago. I decided I no longer have time for the man who never had time for me for 20 years, as he was too busy working……

    REPLY
  5. Kathy Jurinko says:

    My parents they are not worth the emotional roller coaster they have put me through the years. They robbed me of a childhood but, yet I still forgave them. I tried over and over to beg them to be my parents. They have done nothing but treat me like a stranger. I was the first one of their children to graduate high school and go on to college but, that was not good enough. I have a sister who is a drug addict and two brothers in jail and they associate with them. Often I ask myself why is it that they hate me so much? What did I ever do not to deserve to be love by them. I am now 45 and after a lot of counseling through the years, I have come to realize that it not me and I need to stop punishing myself. Because if they can’t love me I am not going to force them. I know this much they missed out on knowing a beautiful person with a heart of gold.

    REPLY
  6. Maureen says:

    I’m now at the end of my 50’s and finally feeling that it’s time to “de-clutter” my friends and family who do not reciprocate or appear to have an interest in me or my life. My entire life I’ve been the one to organize get-together’s, with family and friends. When I stopped doing that the events seemed to also stop. A number of years have now passed, and I’ve decided that those people who can no longer make the attempt to contact me and see how I’m doing are no longer important enough to be in my life. Being the “people pleaser” that I am, this makes me very sad, but it’s time.

    REPLY
  7. Glenna Davidson Brock says:

    I find myself in this very mindset. I split up with my husband recently, after 25+years of being used and disrespected. Feels liberating! When deciding what I wanted to take with me, I found that there were very few things that were important enough to take. This article hit the nail on the head for me!

    REPLY
  8. Daysnet says:

    I turned 50 and realised I didn’t want to “grow old” with my husband. Luckily he felt the same way and one day he came home and told me he was moving out. All I could think of was “I don’t have to buy you a 50th birthday present now” (Awful I know). I had two two adult children at home and I was a little scared of where it would lead.
    Then my best friend died the following year. I had to step up to the plate because I was her executor and she didn’t have any family or friends in the state. I suddenly got the strength to take on a huge job of decluttering her life and in the process learned to declutter mine.
    My husband gave me the house in the divorce settlement and I have now sold up, bought a home of my own and my kids and I are having great fun living together. My son will soon be moving out into his own house but I’ve learned that I am strong enough to be on my own if I have to.
    I don’t have any real friends but I am secure in my own company and spend time living life instead of existing in life.

    REPLY
    • Nina Shelese Reed says:

      I so understand that. Its good to take time for yourself. Living as a parent, someone’s wife some loose their ID. Enjoy!

      REPLY
  9. PAM L. says:

    Cut my sister and my best friend of over 40 years out of my life. My mother manipulated all of her children and would pick her favorite as we grew older from year to year. She passed away and I made an effort to get close to my sister as my mother had never really let that happen. It was more work and heartbreak and she is exactly like my mother. I have worked my entire adult life to not become my mother so being around her was a constant battle and when she tried pulling my own adult kids into her problems I knew it was time to say it was over. My best friend and I suddenly did not relate to each other and the only way I can put it is that she no longer fed my soul. Our conversions became very superficial. If I was worried about a child or medical test or even an argument with the husband and tired to talk to her about it she would immediately change the subject to maybe dinner or the weather…anything but our feelings. It does lighten the “mental load” but is sad at the same time. Was glad I read this article because at times you feel like you are the only one who goes through these things.

    REPLY
  10. Kathleen Eng says:

    A family member….and it broke my heart, but freed my soul.

    REPLY
  11. Patty Diamond says:

    To have a friend ….you must be a friend.

    REPLY
  12. phoebe says:

    Shortly after I turned 50 – and my husband died unexpectedly – I wrote a list of how I wanted to spend my time – and how I didn’t. I (gradually) got rid of the “toxic” relationships with friends and business colleagues that were draining me of energy; radically shortened the list of networking and social meetings that I’d been attending for YEARS, and eliminated most of the material possessions that we’d been hanging on to for years. I have even changed my work wardrobe to white/cream blouses and black pants as a signature style!
    After years of this decluttering process, I can say that I feel great. I spend more time with kids, grandkids and family; I have a close circle of friends that I can actually spend time with and enjoy; I have more time – and money – to travel to places to explore. And – I’m not afraid of change!

    REPLY
    • Tammy James says:

      Wonderful advice~I am going to do exactly this~I’m a new widow also.

      REPLY
      • phoebe says:

        Dear Tammy,
        Oh, kind thoughts coming your way for your loss. Wait a bit to do the “cleaning out” part – until you are ready – you’ll know when. In the meantime, enjoy time with family and friends – they are so important to you. And BTW, the first year IS the hardest – make sure to spend time on YOU. I went to a ski lodge for Christmas…never skied, don’t intend to – but the hot toddies were great!

        REPLY
  13. devon says:

    It hit me when my oldest daughter surprised me and her father with a card at Christmas that had an ultrasound photo in it……..I am going to be a grandmother in a few months.
    Where did the time go?
    Do I want another 45 years like my last 25……NO.
    I had spent my entire 26 year marriage conflicted….the joy of motherhood and the stability of having a spouse providing financial support tempered with dealing with a manipulating, jealous, spouse with anger management, life management, and pure irresponsibility.
    I spent all my energy trying to control situations in the house so he would have nothing to be upset about, motivate him and make our family look like the perfect family to everyone on the outside.
    We had tried counseling numerous times, he had been on different meds for ADD, depression, nothing helped.
    A job change within his company required him to go out of town on occasion and that is when I realized how bad things had become. Things were so much better when he wasn’t there.
    He added nothing to my life, I was with him for the kids sake……kids that had to walk on eggshells all the time.
    I was done! I asked for a divorce. It was ugly, and it was of course, ” All my fault” and manipulaters are very good at convincing others to believe the lie. Our “friends” backed him up.
    Nothing was holding me back at this point, I moved got a new job. I now had the energy to invest in myself. I excelled in my position at work, which brought more opportunities and of course raises.
    The most important thing through all of this of course were the two children still at home. It was especially hard for them, but they have adjusted well and they have a mom that is truly happy.
    Its been 5 years since the divorce, I got remarried last month after dating 3 years. My kids now how a wonderful, calm, motivated man in their life and I have someone to enjoy every sweet moment.

    REPLY
    • Deb says:

      How on Earth did you build up the courage to do it? I read your post, and it was as if I wrote it, word for word, except I am a coward and remain married to the same alcoholic with whom I exchanged vows almost 28 years ago. I am lonely beyond imagine, scared and hurt to the point that I can’t articulate the pain. My heart knows it’s over, but my head won’t accept it. I am a Christian, and I am trying desperately to do the right thing in His eyes. I don’t want to be a martyr, but it seems that is all that my life is going to add up to. I welcome your thoughts, including any criticisms. Thank you.

      REPLY
      • devon says:

        I too, am a Christian and that was the hardest part for me. Obviously my story was condensed, there are two huge factors for me that I didn’t mention because I was trying to keep it somewhat upbeat and not a terribly long story. My ex-husband was responsible for a car accident that killed our oldest son, my son was 14 when it happened. This will sound sick someone that has never dealt with someone like my ex-husband but he would get his kicks by making the kids afraid. It was a terrible accident….yes, but it happened because my husband was trying to scare him driving recklessly. He didn’t tell me that when the accident happened, though I suspected it. Why didn’t I leave him then….because I had two children left at home, one was 4, one was 11. They had just lost their brother, I couldn’t put them through a divorce too.
        Then, 2 years later I discovered I was married to a man that had a porn addiction and had been addicted (his own words) our entire marriage. He went into a 10 day treatment program, it lasted a while and then he went right back into it again. I know in my head this had nothing to do with me,….my appearance, weight etc. but it messed me up. No matter what I did, I never felt pretty enough, thin enough, sexy enough. He had not kept his vows to me in so many ways….and that is what finally gave me the freedom in my own mind to leave. You will have to search your own heart. My kids see a different woman, a happy mom…that is important.

        REPLY
        • Deb says:

          Devon, I can’t thank you enough for your candor and what must still be a very painful story to tell. You are an incredibly strong woman to have lived through all of that. Best wishes and God’s blessings for you and your new husband!

          REPLY
        • barb says:

          been there sister, Glad you got out so did I and life is glorious now.

          REPLY
  14. Sharon says:

    I decided this year that I’m only putting in to relationships what I get out of them…some friends, family are no longer worth the time. I think its because we realize time is precious and we want to spend it with those that lift us up and not those that wear us down.

    REPLY
    • Tammy James says:

      I feel exactly the same way….it’s been a journey and hard to do because I have been subjecting myself for a long long time.

      REPLY
  15. Regina Richards says:

    When I turned 50 I cut drinking soda pop out of my life. Tea just felt more adult. I cut out ‘putting up with’ people who attempt to manipulate me or school me about how I should think and act. I haven’t had to cut them out of my life because amazingly when I stood up to them, they decided to change rather than be shown the door. Wish I’d done that sooner.

    REPLY
    • Deborah Revis says:

      Mrs. Richards, I agree totally with your post, my issue is how do you began the process because I am drowning here.

      REPLY
  16. BeachMom says:

    Woke up one day and realized that our relationship was built on what I could do for her and her family. Walked away and never looked back.

    REPLY
    • Susan P says:

      I recently ended a friendship like this that was very one-sided. Realized that when the chips were down for me there was no way she would help me pick them up because she was too busy trying to think up what I could do for her next.

      REPLY
  17. daneyes says:

    Tired of her alcoholism and poor parenting. Year after year after year. Couldn’t take it anymore. Don’t miss her or the friendship at all.

    REPLY
  18. Becky Beer says:

    I haven’t done this yet, but I need to: I’ve known my hair dresser since age 10. We were friends through high school. I knew her family well, as I grew up with them also. I let her experiment on my hair… even before beauty school. We were even roommates when we moved on into our very early 20’s.
    Our lives went in opposite directions after our marriages, and then more so as we had children. Yet she has remained my hair dresser, through thick and thin.
    She of course knows my hair well, or did, and we no longer have anything at all in common, yet I keep going back to her because I feel guilty that she has lost most everything due to bad decisions.
    After 40 plus years I know I need to find someone who will step out of the box, and do something for me that I haven’t crafted for my style.
    OR… should I be happy that she does what I ask of her? … Except for not being trained enough to work with “old lady hair.” … I’m Not an old lady … in my mind. So I know I need someone more progressive! Current, and keeps up on the trends. Help!!!

    REPLY
    • GeriFOF says:

      Hi Becky,

      It’s a dilemma, and for what it’s worth, I’d recommend being forthright with her and telling her that you’d very much like a new look for your hair. Maybe ask her if she feels like she could do that for you, that you don’t want to put her on the spot, but you’d like to talk it over.

      I always found, over the years, that even the best stylists got bored with my hair and never tried anything new. So I’d find a new stylist. Realize it’s not quite that easy for you, but you owe it to yourself to have the hair you’d like.

      Best, Geri

      REPLY
      • Judith Myers says:

        Yes, walking away is painful, however staying in a relationship that is not equal caring sharing gives you the strength to realize it is not a healthy place to be ! “Blessings”?

        REPLY

Leave a Reply