Starting Over in Your 40’s

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Written by Katherine Squires, Director of Operations

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu

This became my mantra. I believe these simple words changed my life.

Nearly 4 years ago, I realized my marriage of 20+ years was over. That was the first step.  The divorce was quick and civil.  We both packed our things, sold the house and went our separate ways. For me, moving on (step 2) was scary. You see, I’d never been on my own. I went from living with my parents to living with my husband. So, having never been on my own, I was terrified.

After much internal struggle, I decided to rent for a year. I had no ties to the area so I didn’t want to have the responsibilities of a house right away and the thought of fixing a broken pipe was the last thing I wanted to tackle. I found a wonderful little apartment in the town I had called home for 22 years. It was MY place. A secure 2nd floor apartment in a house that had been originally built in the late 1800’s. The floors were the original wide wood plank. It over looked the ‘main drag’ in town and I was able to walk everywhere I needed to go. I decorated my way. I slowly became comfortable living alone. After a while, I LOVED IT!  If there was a mess, it was mine. I could eat ice cream for dinner while sitting on my deck. I could come and go as I pleased although my mother still insisted that I check in at least once a week.

All the while, I kept in touch with my realtor and from time to time, she would show me houses in the area. One night, I was out for a walk and exactly 2 blocks down the street was a cute little house for sale. It was love at first site, I looked at it on a Thursday, made an offer on Friday and by Friday night the seller accepted. I was elated. I was doing this. Homeowner once again. That weekend was spent looking at paint samples and talking about the house to anyone that would listen. The following Tuesday, I walked down to look at the backyard. That’s when everything came to a screeching halt. A woman appeared out of nowhere and told me that there had been a gruesome death in the house. Long story short, after talking with my realtor and going thru the house one more time, I decided that I couldn’t live somewhere knowing that such a terrible incident had happened there. To this day, I believe this happened for a reason. One step forward, two steps back.  I continued to live in my little apartment and slowly take my time looking for my new home.

Flash forward to last fall (and countless steps later). I was browsing a home listing site and came across a cute little bungalow. It was in a new town, not far from work. I was both scared and excited about the prospect of finally starting over. I was ready to move on from the town that I had considered home for nearly 25 years now (one year turned into 3 in the apartment). I called my realtor again. We looked at it and I didn’t want to leave. I was home.

I moved in at the beginning of December. Anyone that buys a house know that there are always little surprises. I’ve gotten to know the guys at the True-Value so much so they know me by name and shake their heads whenever I walk in the door. Always asking “What are you doing now?” I’ve fixed lots of little issues on the inside and have started on the exterior. For the first time in 4 years, I mowed the lawn. The mower started on the first pull. I like to think that the house gods are looking over me and sending good vibes. It’s exciting to see the herbs and flowers that have popped thru the soil. I’ve got big plans for the yard and I know the guys at the hardware are happy to give me more ideas. I’ve introduced myself to the neighbors. All of whom are very friendly and willing to help me out if and when I ever need it. It’s a quiet little street with lots of wildlife to watch. Every time I walk in the door, I’m happy. It’s mine.

Looking back to the person I was in the summer of 2014, I could have never done what I’ve done in the past 8 months (and 1,875,362 steps). I needed time to heal, time to find what I really want in my life. Starting over was the best thing I ever did.  I have many more steps ahead of me, but am ready to take those steps confidently.

If you’re reading this and starting over as well, take a look at the great articles on our website regarding divorce and home buying. If after reviewing these resources you believe additional help would be of benefit, please call us to make contact with one of our advisors.

Blog by Mark Petersen Seven Sins of Divorce

Free Guide Divorce Financial Planning Guide

Video Divorce & Finance

Infographic Divorce Planning

Monthly Newsletter Five Financial Factors to Consider Before Buying a Home

Having gone through this life experience, I couldn’t have done it alone. My best advice is to surround yourself with positive friends and professionals that have your best interest in mind.  It’s scary in the beginning, but my experience has been nothing but positive since taking that first big step.

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