The time between breaths

I was pacing a dock in Wisconsin on a gorgeous autumn day. Sipping my coffee, talking to my sister. “I feel like I took a deep breath in 10 years ago and I’m only just now exhaling,” I heard myself say. “And wow, it’s been an exhausting decade.”

Hyperbole, of course, but it felt apt. I don’t know what you’ve been doing for the past decade but I’ve been mainly trying to extricate myself from a marriage and a life that had become untenable, deal with the financial fallout of my ex’s actions, raise two boys, rescue a 90-lb. dog and love her into her best life. Pay bills, maintain a house, yada yada yada.

The difference between us might be that you were living a life that you had grown into. I was living a life that I was thrust into. I don’t negate my choices, but I am painfully familiar now with how someone else’s choices can steer my life if I’ve throw in with them. And how quickly a life can change.

So here I am. My youngest launched at college. My eldest launched into a job as a fireman and paramedic. Bailey, our furry rescue girl, deeply settled in a life where she has been loved beyond measure.

And then there’s me.

Why hello there, me. Do you even remember who you were before life became a lot of work? Not sure? That’s ok. We have some time to figure that out.

My inaugural blog post, not coincidentally, was 10 years ago. It got all of one like. No one knew I was out here in the ether. But I read those words now and think, “Wise woman.” And I wonder if I actually was writing for my future self without knowing it, because my own words are a balm for my soul now.

I began this blog because I’m a writer and writers write no matter who is reading and who is not. And it was a wise choice not only for self-expression but also because I think—based on comments—that I’ve helped a few of you along the way, through your own tough bits. Just as you’ve helped me.

I call my youngest launching the turning of the page. It is. It’s the end of a chapter in which I felt I threw my kids into a lifeboat along with me and just kept paddling without looking up. Thankfully, they both seem to have reached dry land and launched appropriately.

You know what comes next, right? This picture wouldn’t be complete without well-meaning friends. Well-meaning friends who want to bombard me with happy phrases about the “next stage of life,” “exciting adventures,” and more life coach talk. I’ve already fielded umpteen questions on when I’m writing a book, beginning to date again, moving, etc.

Give me a hot minute, people.

They are well intentioned. They want what is good for me after seeing me struggle. And they want the train to leave the station RIGHT NOW.

In my own words of 10 years ago: Stop. Think. Repeat. That was the title of the blog, which closed with: “Here’s to a lightness of spirit. Here’s to an earnest reflection on the journey we each take into and out of this world. Here’s to making space for the sacred in an ever so brief, but essential, pause today. I’m here. Now. And thankful.”

That’s where I am, folks. In the moment.

Am I slowly realizing the house bought to raise a family in is not the house I want to be in for the next chapter? Likely. But where I want to be—that’s up in the air. I’m in no rush. The writers and artists among you will understand what I’m about to say next: Life moves me when it’s time. I can already feel this house nudging me, as if it’s saying: “I’m built for families. For kids in the yard. For hot chocolate by the fireplace and loud family dinners.”

I feel I owe this house that much. Another happy family to fill it. “There is no rush,” I can hear its walls whisper. “But you know it’s time.”

I will be guided by a Higher Power. I always have been.

I’ve always loved a lake view, a cute coffee shop, light-filled rooms. Maybe I’ll find my version of those.

I do so love to write. It’s the one thing I do really well and the only thing that causes time to cease for me. Perhaps I’ll be inspired to write a book.

I also love love but hate settling. I’m a really independent woman in what is still in many ways a man’s world. Maybe I’ll meet a man modern enough to share my journey. Maybe I won’t. Either way, I’ve proven to myself I can be happy and ok and all good things as a woman alone. The world still doesn’t understand that but it will, in time.

Make me an offer, Universe. Here I am. Do we go back to where I was headed before this 10-year stint? Or do we do an about-face and move in a completely new direction?

I’m listening.

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60 Comments Add yours

  1. Gosh I missed this post! Congratulations for your 10 years blogging and sailing your family boat safely to a safe haven for your boys to live their own lives! It’ll be strange at first… quiet and you’ll hear your own musings for a change! Just enjoy breathing, reflecting and building a vision of your hearts desire and as always you will guide yourself to your next place at the most perfect time! In the meanwhile you can also go out more and see what, who turns up! Oh it is exciting and scary at the same time standing on the edge of a new adventure of you… discovering who you want to be now❤️ It’s always a pleasure to read your musings, inspiringly wise! Much love x

    1. candidkay says:

      And it’s always a pleasure reading your responses, Barbara :-). I wish I could just channel your calm, positive voice, when I need it most! Thank you for the well wishes. On to the next adventure.

  2. I just found you because you “liked” one of my blog posts… I think you might be living the same life as I have been, just in another body, in another place. Your writing style is beautiful. Many congratulations on the Launch. My children have all launched as well, more or less. It’s a very strange transition, no doubt. You just keep listening to the house and the universe. I wish you peace this holiday season.

    1. candidkay says:

      So we are sisters from another mister :-). Love that. So glad we have found each other out here in the ether. I will definitely keep listening to the universe! If only it would speak with more clarity at times. Wishing you a peaceful and blessed holiday season.

  3. Happy ten years! This is amazing. It moved me to read about how big and grown your sons are. Time flies. ❤

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! It seems like it flew by and was eons ago, all at the same time🙂.

  4. I may have been following you for like 6-7 years now and I am so glad I have. 🙂

    I guess i will keep reading, commenting when I have something to say as long as you keep writing

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! Very kind of you to say and I’m happy that you’re here in the group swim.☺️

  5. Cindy says:

    Congratulations on your decade of writing Krisse! I SO enjoyed all of your posts and was touched by so many of them. It’s hard to do after raising 2 great boys, but now it is YOUR time! One day at a time – but it’s all yours to enjoy! And by the way- come to Cali for a visit! I’d love to have you!! Thank you again for all your posts!

    1. candidkay says:

      You are a gem! Thank you for the support over the years❤️. I’d love to visit. It’s time for some adventures!

  6. Happy tenth anniversary for your blog, Kristine! You must have started shortly after me. And what a coincidence how I decided to read this today. You mention being thankful for what life has given you, and here in Canada we are celebrating Thanksgiving. ☺️
    Btw, you need to write that book. I know I won’t be the only one who would love to read it.

    1. candidkay says:

      Happy Thanksgiving! Hi hope it’s been a wonderful day for you in that beautiful town you live in. And thank you for the encouragement on the book. You certainly know that of which you speak!

  7. mydangblog says:

    Happy blogiversary! Can’t wait to read what happens next. That voice inside you knows you better than anyone so let it lead the way😊

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! I do think that voice – the one in your gut not in your head – makes a whole lot of sense. Even when it doesn’t appear to at the time.

  8. Great post Kristine …and congrats on your 10 years! Wow lucky us 😊 I bet the universe is listening girl, time for a change. Hugs

    1. candidkay says:

      She better be listening, Julie! And as I said to my sister, “I hope she doesn’t stutter.“😉 thank you for the congratulations. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years!

  9. Masha says:

    OMG I love this post. You’re really an amazing writer, I love the way you express yourself, when I read your posts I’m always devouring every word, food for my soul.

    Thank you for putting into words what I’m feeling, it’s time for a change, I feel myself being nudged to something else, to someplace else to where I don’t yet know, but, like you, when the time is right I will know.
    Cheers to the next chapter of your life. xo

    1. candidkay says:

      ☺️ Thank you, Masha, for the kind words! Just one of the nicest things you could say to a writer. I truly appreciate it. And I’m glad that this post made you name a feeling. That sometimes so hard to do. Here’s to listening to the whispers of the universe and following where they lead.❤️

  10. markbialczak says:

    Thank you so much for allowing us in with your writing this decade, Kay. And whichever way you choose for the next 10 years, I foresee wisdom in the upcoming adventures and achievements.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Mark, For sticking with me for much of those 10 years! I have appreciated your wit, wisdom, and support.

      1. markbialczak says:

        I’m glad I made a WP friend, Kay.

  11. nimslake says:

    “Exhale.”
    Hello! so long since I stopped by, and this is the one I needed. 🙂
    Always a wonder, how your words stop me, touch my soul and make my brain think!! (Thank you!)

    Congratulations! 10 years of wonder! Brava!

    I hope I don’t wander in the ‘time lost’ forest much longer. Hence I think I was meant to see this, digest, pause, and muse on my own side of the fence.
    But for now…yes borrowing your “Exhale”.

    Again, thank you, Cristine!
    Nims

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, Nims, you’ve made me smile. I love it when my writing touches someone and makes them feel some thing or think. And I love kismet even more. I think the timing on this one was right for you and I absolutely love that! Yes. Exhale. And muse away. Knowing I will be on my side of the fence doing the same thing. That’s a lovely thought. Thank you so much for letting me know that this one touched you and for the kind congratulations. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years but I love that it’s been a decade well spent.

  12. aprilgarner says:

    I appreciate that you are waiting to see what presents itself. That is a patience I’ve had to learn — not to force things in the direction they “should” go. It feels much more pleasant that way. You are a wise woman.

    1. candidkay says:

      Ah, yes, this lesson is a tough one! I’ve had to learn it too, April. I don’t always get it right but with age has come wisdom. Thank goodness😉.

  13. Roy McCarthy says:

    Yay, well done on the 10 years Kristine – not too many can claim that. And indeed wise words, both then and now. And I’d agree in the light of experience – pause, walk, read books, drink coffee, love lightly, laugh with friends. The direction in which you drift without forcing things will bring the best outcome. (You still have the same hairstyle as in 2012? 🙂 )

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks, Roy😀. All good advice. As for the hairstyle, my photo changes across the website every time I change it. So the previous me’s disappear. What would Carl Jung say about that?😉

  14. Ally Bean says:

    I don’t know that I have any advice about what you should do now, but I do know that from reading your blog for many years that you’ll figure it out in due time. In my experience it’s being able to write about the paths you might take that have made it clear to me which path I will take.

    1. candidkay says:

      That’s very interesting. And I wonder if it would make a difference if you wrote about it as a disinterested observer instead of as yourself. Where the story would go.

      1. Ally Bean says:

        I don’t know but I like the idea. 🤔

  15. It’s so freeing to finally be in a place where I don’t need anyone’s approval. The world wasn’t even asking me to prove something. It was all me. In my own head. I’m working on SLOW. Striving and proving have been extremely exhausting and of benefit to no one. I’m finally breathing out too. Thank you for this lovely post.

    1. candidkay says:

      That sounds like a lovely place to be. And I think women in particular struggle with what you struggled with. We tell ourselves stories about others’ expectations and our own worth that are simply not true. I’m glad you’re out of that loop.

  16. Good morning. It sounds as if a relocation is in your future. The physical move will open up some life possibilities (good ones) that you might not have anticipated. Take care. Neil S.

    1. candidkay says:

      Are you offering that under your psychic rate, Neil?😉 I hope all is well!

  17. Dale says:

    Friends want only what it best for you and are sincere in their suggestions. Take what moves you but do YOU. As you said, now that you have exhaled, you are ready to inhale what the Universe has on offer. Stop. Listen. Be. Go!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Dale!🙏🏻❤️

      1. Dale says:

        You know it, Ms Thing! 😉 💞

  18. Karen Lang says:

    Oh yes!! I agree, ‘just be’ with this new era of freedom and new beginnings. You will be definitely be moved when it’s time. Enjoy every moment. I look forward to hearing what unfolds. 👏🤗

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Karen! I have appreciated your support over the years🙏🏻❤️.

  19. KDKH says:

    Now that you can breathe again, I’ll bet the path will just suddenly show itself. You’re gonna love it!

    1. candidkay says:

      I love your optimism! I am feeling good about it in my gut. It is always hard to move forward when you want to see an entire football field ahead and you can only see about 5 yards ahead. But I have a good feeling about this :-).

  20. Ten years of blogging – wonderful! I resonate with so much of this. Writing because you have to write. Yes. (Several of my first posts had no audience and I didn’t care). So much of the world seems too busy and in too much of a hurry. Congrats on having your sons launched! I’d love to say my son is launched, but with him it’s three steps forward, two steps back. He’ll get there. I’m glad you’re finally beginning to exhale. You’ve more than earned the right to pause, to let your inner guidance move you when the time is right. I think life works out better when we’re able to hear the whispers of the still small voice inside and trust it knows what’s best for us.

    1. candidkay says:

      I love your last line so much I have to repeat it: “ I think life works out better when we’re able to hear the whispers of the still small voice inside and trust it knows what’s best for us.” Amen! Forcing when you don’t know where you’re going never works. At least not for me. But listening and following those whispers produces pure magic. I hope you’re also exhaling even though your son is not launched. You put such wonderful love and energy into his care and you know it’s all making a difference. At least I hope you do. He’s very very lucky to have you.❤️

  21. Hey Kristine, a writer you are. But…I can feel a dead patch…like not where you want to be but seemingly hanging from an unknown branch. This place has done its purpose for the immediate rectifying of a family life. But now…you need to do you, downsize, stretch your legs as your children follow mom and do the independent thing too, just like the mom they love.
    Now the important bit, and the hardest. Do you…without the fear of what went before. Go to a writers convention or something you love to do besides writing. Don’t go there for anything else but what you feel that ‘you’ will get out of it. Be adventurous, go sailing or kayaking across some gorgeous lake somewhere. But if you go somewhere to meet a man you’ll be disappointed if you don’t meet one. Go for you, and if you don’t meet someone, it doesn’t matter because you had a great time anyway. And that is what you will give out everywhere you go…and then attract from that place. Love you first…and all else will go to that rhythm.
    Did I mention your tired, frustrated and angry even. Something is working because your children are moving along great. But they have given you something to focus on…they’ve left the nest and there is no one else but you…oh, and the puppy. Now there’s an idea, walk the dog. Somewhere different that ‘you’ will enjoy as much as the dog 😀
    If your reading this, this message will self destruct in 30 seconds, just in case I am one of those ‘helping friends’ 🤣…if your not reading this, the stupid WordPress has signed me out again and I can’t put the message back in because it will tell me you have already received this message. Sounds like my life 🤣
    But to end on a good note, you have lovely energy…use it…for you. And the rest will come a calling 😀❤️🙏🏽

    1. candidkay says:

      You got through the wordpress police, Mark😉. I was able to read it. All sound, sage advice. But rarely have I ever done anything to meet a man. I’m just not wired that way. So that part I’m not worried about. I do me. But your other suggestion– kayaking across a gorgeous lake– that sounded good.🛶 It’ll come as it comes and I welcome it all🙂!

      1. Then dear lady you have it all under control. Which in fact you do, I read your first post and it was indeed very prophetic. Even though it refused to take my comment 🤣 Enjoy your paddle my friend, may it ever just be an enjoyable path 😀❤️🙏🏽

  22. Kudos on your healthy attitude Kristine. It seems you’re open and ready for a new chapter. Maybe I can follow your good example. 😊

    1. candidkay says:

      Sounds like I need to catch up on your blog, Brad. Hoping all is well and you’re living on into a good future . . .

      1. I’m OK. Going through a funk and hoping to be more open like you. I’m ready for a new chapter!

      2. candidkay says:

        Hang in there. Here’s to turning the page!

  23. Jane Fritz says:

    First of all, give yourself a slap on the back and a big hug. That’s a momentous 10 years under your belt, Kristine. And you’re doing the exact right actions by both reflecting on what’s past and looking forward. But you don’t have to make any speedy decisions. The right path will find you. And writing will certainly be an important part of that path! Best wishes.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Jane. Your comments always feel like a warm hug and a cuppa’ something good:). I appreciate the support!

  24. She’s listening, Universe so speak up. Waddya waiting for? All the best, Kristine.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks, John! Maybe a little nudge from a third-party will help😉.

  25. willedare says:

    So well written and honest! I am one of your many blogging acquaintances who is rooting for you… and very curious to read what happens next.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! I always appreciate your virtual visits here☺️

  26. White Iguana says:

    What a refreshing look at the future. And congrats on 10 years of blogging! Great writing!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks so much☺️

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