It’s been a strange week.  So much so I’m having trouble sorting it out.

On the weekend I went to Costco to have my snow tires put on the car.  It takes them about an hour to do it, and having nothing better to do, I went into the store to see what they had in the book section.

I came across this book called “You Are a BadAss.”  A title with a bit of an edge does catch my eye.  While I loath the self-help industry and the myriad of coaches who claim they have the formula to fix your life, I picked this one up because the title made me laugh.  And humour, as far as I’m concerned, will help a lot more of your ills than anyone else’s plan for your life.  

Anyway, the book is written by Jen Sincero, and judging from the photo of her on the back cover, I assume she’s somewhere in her mid 30s.  Which of course makes her instantly suspect.  What the hell could she possibly know at that age?  Looking back, I know I knew a heck of a lot less than I thought I did in my 30s.  So, I’m skeptical…. I go on my phone to check her out and I see she’s actually middle-aged like me.  Old photo of her on the back cover no doubt.  Sort of like the 10-year-old photos people post of themselves on dating sites.  It’s all a marketing ploy.

But her age has validated her enough in my mind, so I buy the book, get a hot dog and Pepsi at the Costco café and sit down to read, eat, and wait for my car.  Anyway, she is hilarious.  I relate to her life, her experiences, and actually start to think she might be a coach I’ll take a few tips from.  I won’t get into the details, but she’s managed to inspire me enough to keep the wind in my sails with the art making, balancing all that with a part-time job, and the ongoing needs of my two kids.

A tidbit from Jen: “You aren’t a selfish person for taking care of yourself, just a happier one.” A friend pointed out that the book cover is yellow. I guess this was another yellow hat moment… :)

A tidbit from Jen: “You aren’t a selfish person for taking care of yourself, just a happier one.”
A friend pointed out that the book cover is yellow. I guess this was another yellow hat moment… :)

Which brings me to the second realization this week.  My son is here in Calgary going to university.  My daughter is in Vancouver finishing up her undergraduate degree.  I had no idea what her plans were once she’s finished this December. Until my son came by one evening.  He told me he and his sister have been talking about getting an apartment together in April once she gets back from a planned trip to Italy.  It’s the first time the two of them would both be on their own and out of the respective homes of their parents. 

Me and the Kids, last summer.

Me and the Kids, last summer.

And it really threw me.  I’m only at the beginning of sorting this out.  Even though both the kids would be here in the city, I suddenly realized I’ve been making decisions based solely on what they might need right up until this conversation the other night with my son.  I bought a condo on the assumption that at least one of them would be living with me again, and now it looks like that isn’t going to happen.  What do I do with all this space I don’t need? 

Honestly, making the shift to thinking about me, and building a life for myself that doesn’t necessarily involve my two kids, is so foreign to me I have no idea how to construct any of it other than to pick up the book I bought and read another chapter of Jen’s sage advice.  Maybe she can tell me what to do. Ha!

There’s my art of course.  I push on ahead with that, and it brings me great satisfaction, which it has for a long time.  Turning it into a reliable source of income has been a much bigger challenge and I can’t say I’ve managed that yet.  Enter Jen’s advice, once again.

There’s this whole other part of my life that I’d set aside for a very long time.  It was all voluntary mind you, and the kids were well worth all my effort as a mother.  I love them to bits and I’ve never felt ripped off because they required so much.  All of a sudden though there’s this big gaping hole that is my life and I’ve no idea how to fill it or even how I want to fill it.

Jen says to let myself fantasize.  Dream big.  So, I do.  I’ve never had a problem doing that.  But the things I dream about seem so far-fetched and require money I don’t have.  Start small, a little voice somewhere just said…. Start treating yourself to things.  Start with little things and build from there.

This big blank space is going to need filling.  Thank G-d for my painting, and my girlfriends, and two amazing adult children.  I am not alone on a deserted island.   But I have a project.  And that project is me.

Selfies…I hate taking them. They’re awkward and contrived. Mostly. So it may be something my kids can teach me. Reverse roles a little on this new quest.

Selfies…I hate taking them. They’re awkward and contrived. Mostly. So it may be something my kids can teach me. Reverse roles a little on this new quest.

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