On the to-do list

There are all kinds of things on my separation and divorce to-do list – all things related to splitting apart two lives, which is hard for so many reasons. I alternate between determination to sort it out RIGHT NOW so I can move on and feeling like the whole thing is exhausting and something I’d just rather not deal with at all.

Which, of course, is not how it works.

Some of the things are things I want to do – find financial freedom and live based on a budget that I have more control over, find a new place to live and create a home that reflects me and me alone (with a sprinkle of small boys, I suppose), and get used to a new routine. Some are things I don’t want to do – finicky things like the paperwork and appointments involved in separating finances and accounts and all that. But it must be done.

snowbirds jet cockpit

This to-do list currently mostly exists in my head, but it’s starting to get put down on paper in various places (I’ve gone back to being a paper agenda sort of girl, and I love it in a retro, feeling-more-organized sort of way). Little things are popping up as I go along and I am reminded of all the things that have to be done in order to end a marriage. At times the list feels endless.

One of the things I hadn’t thought about was life insurance – I suppose because it is (hopefully) not as immediate a need, and because when it comes to things like life insurance, my brain sort of shorts out. But it came to my attention in the context of a promotion TD Insurance is doing, and sometimes that’s the best way to bring something that has been on the back burner of a to-do list closer to the front. So let’s talk about that, because I could use all the help I can get.

Some things I didn’t know about life insurance

My dad, as someone who used to work in the insurance business, will probably cringe at some of this, but here are some things I didn’t know about life insurance:

  • You can actually get life insurance for as little as $1 per day.
  • A major life event – getting married, having a baby, divorce (ahem) – is often what prompts people to shop for life insurance.
  • There is no tax on life insurance benefits.

Some things I sort of knew about life insurance

I have some life insurance through work, but that’s mostly a click-the-button thing when I re-enroll each year rather than a thoughtful calculation about what’s needed. We also have separate life insurance that we bought when I was about six months pregnant with Connor, and that’s mostly what I will need to deal with. (What does one do about that when getting divorced, anyway?) But I do remember some things about insurance from that process, such as:

  • Term life insurance is one of the most affordable types.
  • It can do more than just pay for funeral costs and short-term expenses – it can also help with ongoing living expenses, pay off outstanding debt, support children’s future education and continue a family business.

driving firetruck

If someone depends on you financially, having life insurance is one of those things you should have. And while in the (hopefully) near future I will no longer be the sole financial support for my children, they will still, for a variety of reasons, depend on me financially. I want them to be free to play and learn and grow up to do whatever they want – fly a jet, drive a fire truck, or anything else.

I, like so many others, have my own financial baggage from childhood and really don’t want financial stress to be a factor in my new, hopefully less stressful life.

Some things I am now thinking about related to life insurance

The main thing I’m now thinking about is that I need to sort this out. I need to check it off my to-do list so it’s not hanging over my head, and I need to be confident that my boys will be financially secure if anything happens to me, because I’m not willing to rely on anyone else to be that back-up.

What to know about TD Insurance

I’m going to do a little bit more research about what to do about life insurance, and if this is on your to-do list I hope some of this info about TD Insurance will help you, too:

  • Their insurance advisors don’t work on commission. Their focus is on finding the right insurance fit for you.
  • TD has a free life insurance needs analysis to help you figure out how much coverage you need and what it will cost.
  • They have a contest! Until November 13, you can be entered to win a FitBit Flex activity tracker by calling TD Insurance at 1-888-756-5666 for a free life insurance needs analysis.
  • Remember, you can’t clone yourself:

You can get a quote and apply online or call TD Insurance at 1-888-756-5666.

I’m going to do that. Are you?


This post is brought to you by TD Insurance but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, please visit www.tdinsurance.com/termlife.

Let it go. It’s all right.

I’m driving down a road I’ve never been on, sun streaming in, music on the radio.

I’ve run away again.

At the airport


For the last few weeks I’ve been carrying the pain of this in my gut. Before that it was in my head, threatening to take over so I pushed it down, but it’s making me sick. It can’t be pushed down or ignored.

“What’s true is true,” the voice on the radio had said, reporting on someone else’s journey from pain to acceptance. “What’s true is true,” I thought. It is what it is. I can’t change it and it will happen whether I like it or not. There’s no point refusing to accept it because what’s true is true. It is what it is.

Acceptance is one thing. I’ve tried to get there. I sit and breathe and try to accept. I feel mostly flat.

Letting go, on the other hand, is active, deliberate. Letting go is hard, necessary.

Letting go is something altogether different.

I take a deep breath and think, Right. Let it go. And then the tears come.

This is the work I need to do.

Those who have been here before me assure me it gets better. Those who have already walked the path from married to not assure me there is beauty on the other side. Sweetness. A bit of freedom. A different but happy future.

I can see all of that. I can. I can see how it could be so good for me and even possibly better. I can see how my kids will be okay. But I can also see the big and significant things I’m losing.

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us,” said Joseph Campbell, whom I have quoted here before.

Joseph Campbell quote about letting go


I had forgotten about that quote, hadn’t thought about how it applies in this situation until I read this very wise piece. And it does, of course, in much more literal ways than the circumstances I had applied it to before.

“Your post-divorce life may be radically different from the life you once expected, so you’ll have to refocus your vision to match your new circumstances. Divorce initiates major life changes, many of which are extremely unwelcome and difficult to accept… Events you once blissfully looked forward to — growing old with your spouse, sitting side by side at your children’s weddings, hosting your grandchildren together — probably aren’t going to happen… It’s not easy, but if you want to be happy, you’ll have to let go of the old image of your life and replace it with an exciting new vision of your own design.”

Shari Lifland

You’ll have to let go…


Beach house
Once again a friend has said, “You can stay at my place,” except this time it’s on the other side of the country. So here I am, in a place I have always wanted to visit, in a setting so beautiful it can’t help but inspire peace. The atmosphere of this place – beach and shells and quiet and shades of turquoise – makes me feel decidedly somewhere else. And very far away.

I have three days here to find myself somewhere I haven’t been. I have three days to let it go.

And when I get home I’m going to accept. And find a way to move on.


Prince Edward Island ocean view

Driving down that road I’ve never been on with the sunshine streaming in, the voice on the radio is different.

“I’ve got a smile on my face, I’ve got four walls around me
The sun in the sky, the water surrounds me
I’ll win now but sometimes I’ll lose
I’ve been battered, but I’ll never bruise, it’s not so bad

And I say way-hey-hey, it’s just an ordinary day
and it’s all your state of mind
At the end of the day, you’ve just got to say,
it’s all right.”

Whole for Whole

A little over a year ago I started taking a new medication. I’d had a blip, and I was pissed off about that, and I really didn’t want to have to start another medication. But I took it, and aside from feeling drunk and having a very weird middle-of-the-night conversation on the first night I took it, I hardly noticed it. Except not long after I realized it had one profound effect: It finally, miraculously allowed me to control my anger.

This was revolutionary for me, in the holy-crap-how-is-it-five-years-later-and-I-am-only-figuring-this-out-NOW sort of way. A pill to control anger? Sign me up!

It does have some side effects, though, one of which being that it masquerades quite nicely as a sleeping pill. Which is fine, except it makes mornings sort of drowsy, and that’s not helpful when you have two small children who are awake at an ungodly hour, and it especially wasn’t helpful as I prepared to go back to work after maternity leave. So after talking to my psychiatrist I went down to half a pill.

For the better part of a year, I dutifully cut that little round, orange pill in half and popped that half every single night. But mornings were still a little rough, so I started taking the pill a little earlier in the evening and planned my activities around the hour and a half I had before it was nearly impossible to keep my eyes open.

And so it went, and things were mostly pretty good.

And then, after a while, they weren’t.

railroad tracks

Since late spring (maybe, in fact, for longer) things haven’t felt quite right. I’ve been blipping too often and struggling with the great why and generally feeling like c’mon, please, for the love of all things holy, there must be a way to manage this. And I was angry about that.

I was angry about a lot of other things too, but I didn’t realize it at the time.

And then one day something happened and I got really mad and my husband pointed out that I was angry all the time and we had a rager of a fight and I decided I needed to do something about it. So I stopped cutting the little round, orange pill in half and started taking the whole thing again.

I think (though I haven’t verified this with my husband) that it has made things okay. I still get mad, but the thing about this medication is that it allows the normal, sane version of me that still exists inside my head to stand off to the side and point out that the anger is irrational and I should probably just let it go already. Sometimes I still get mad, but I have the ability to choose not to react. I have the ability to control my reaction. Control! It’s a wonderful and quite helpful but often elusive thing. I look back now and realize that lack of control has made the road I’ve been on the last few years a pretty rough one.

So no, I didn’t want to start another med, and yes, it does have some side effects, but I got over it and the side effects are quite manageable. So I take medication for anger, because the benefits outweigh my pride and the challenges of drowsiness and put me back in a place where I can (mostly) act like a rational human being towards those around me. And perhaps (dare I say it) even more importantly, it puts me back in a place where I am me. Where I am more whole. And the implications of that are many and far-reaching and something I will share with you in another post sometime soon.

Waiting for Perfection

Thanks to Grammarly for sponsoring this post. Use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because it also checks your grammar, and no one wants to be the person everyone thinks about when they post bad-grammar memes on Facebook.

I haven’t been writing a lot lately. Largely because of time—I’ll put 75% of the blame there—but also because the topics swirl around in my head and I wait for them to position themselves just so before committing to putting words to my thoughts. I only want to write if it’s meaningful. I only want to write if I get it right.


There’s no such thing as perfection. I know that. And there’s especially no such thing as perfection in writing. Words are living, breathing things and a piece of writing is never truly done. It’s just finished, and the writer has to release those words to the world and let them continue to live on through readers. As you peruse the words and unravel their meaning, the words breathe. As you comment, continue to ponder, or share, the words’ breath, their very being, carries on.

Often, when I really have something to say, I will think and write and revise and think some more. I will edit and re-write and let the words lead me to making sense of my world. And when I finally let them go, I wait for the answer to one question: Did I get it right?

But there is no right. There is only right now. Whatever I write, whether I publish it or not, is my reality in the moment. It’s part of how my world evolves. The words I use and the paragraphs that form don’t have to be perfect. They don’t have to be right by anyone’s judgment. Not even by mine. Those words are merely part of the picture.

I know this, and something someone shared recently (that originally inspired this post but that I can no longer find) has reminded me of it once again.

I don’t have to finish writing. I just have to start.

Look to the Sky

I left work late tonight, as is often the case these days. But I guess the days are indeed getting longer, because instead of being dark the sky was full of brilliant tiger stripes of colour – pink and red and orange and wisps of blue. The city skyline was a barely lit silhouette, and at the end of the wash of colour was the outline of the mountains and a brilliant, golden glare as the sun started to sink behind the horizon. It was incredible. Stop-to-take-a-picture incredible. (But of course no picture I could take would ever do it justice.)

I breathe deeply when I see sunsets like that (even if I’m in my car). And in doing so I pause, sometimes just figuratively and often just for a moment, and think about something other than what I have to do next.

brick wall

Your comments on my post about missing inspiration were interesting. Good interesting, even though I don’t agree with many of you, including my mother. (Sorry, mom.)

Here’s the thing: I like that wide open space of a new year. I love the anything-is-possible feeling. I thrive on change and possibility and new. Day-to-day life gets boring pretty fast, and if I don’t have something to jolt me into a new perspective I will blink and 20 years will have gone by and my small boys will be big and all I will remember is how much laundry I did.

That is not how I wish to live my life.

I realized, upon reading (and railing against) some of those comments on that last post, that I don’t necessarily want some huge, gigantic goal and I’m not really looking for change. But I also don’t want to let life just happen. I prefer living with intention.

That’s why I’ve chosen one word as a guide post for the last few years. It’s why I have a life list and why I breathe in sunsets.

Northern lights in night sky

So where does that leave me? I’m not sure yet. I will probably start by committing to my one word for 2014 (and sharing it here). I’m going to make some changes to my day-to-day focus and schedule. I’m going to move away from feeling stuck in the everydayness of wake/feed children/commute/work/commute/feed children/put children to bed/walk dog/do dishes/fold laundry/repeat.

I’m going to look to the sky. And see where it takes me.