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The Island of Misfit Toys

Monday, April 25, 2016
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The Island of Misfit Toys

It’s confession time… Sometimes, more often than not in fact, I feel like I don’t quite belong anywhere. This phenomena has occurred at various times in my life, but since being widowed, it has reared its ugly head more often, in a variety of ways. I’m at a point in time where I am looking both back and ahead, trying to reconcile the mistakes I’ve made, while figuring out how to go forward. It’s like being in limbo, isolation, and a constant state of envy.

Being a solo widowed parent is an emotional, physical and financial time sucker. You are the first, last, and in-between when it comes to providing for your kids, taking care of them, shuttling them around, disciplining, nurturing, and everything else all parents face, except that you do it alone, with no reprieve. Throw in taking care of the house, laundry, groceries, meal planning, and everything else, well that’s a WHOLE lot of time gone. And if you are working, then even less time available for you. Something has to give. I my case, it is ALWAYS the things that are important to me-my hobbies, my interests, my (now non-existent) social life, even my time to work out or take care of me. Giving away pieces of myself for the sake of everyone else has caused me to come to a point of being very unhappy with my appearance, my health, and my general mindset. 

Nearly eight years later, I still don’t feel like I belong with my married couple friends. I always feel like the odd man out. I miss being part of a balanced couple. For a while I was involved with a very social groups of widowed folks, and it was great to go out and feel comfortable being uncoupled. But as time went on, nearly all of them moved on to have new relationships, new marriages, even new children. This past weekend some of those friends got together, and although I was invited, being the only un-coupled person, I bowed out because I wasn’t in the right headspace to go to yet another place where I feel like I don’t belong.

I recently joined a 12 week fitness challenge, which is run by a widow who turned to exercise as her redemption after being widowed. As part of this challenge, I am focusing on ME. This is something I struggle with. I find it hard to put MYSELF first over other things, wants, chores, or “to-do’s,” She asked us to write a why statement to answer why we joined the challenge. The short version of my answer is this: If I don’t take care of me, no one else is going to. If I can’t learn to say no to all the time-suckers and excuses and things that just don’t matter, one day I’ll look back and regret not changing myself for the better. If I can’t love myself and be happy with who I am now, instead of who I was, or who I want to be, how can I ever expect anyone else to want to love me? If I feel out of place, is it because people are doing something to make me feel like that, or because it is coming from me? More often than not, it is my own doing. That has to change. I feel like learning to take care of me is a step in the right direction. I don’t want to just mark time with this life, I want to LIVE it. I haven’t been doing that for a long time now, and the only way anything is going to change is if I do something to change it. So it’s up to me. It’s not going to be easy to undo my own negative self-talk, or to find ways of putting myself first despite all the things that pull at me on a daily basis. But nothing will change until I make it. It’s up to me. If I want to get off the island of misfit toys, I have to stop thinking that I am one. 


Beautifully stated. I feel everything you have expressed. I so am ready for a fitness challenge but haven't figured out how to do with work demands and child demands. I'm so glad you have carved out that time for yourself. Congrats!

Way to go!! I agree with everything you said!!

If it is any consolation I know exactly hove you feel. My wife died 11 years ago, and I raised my children alone. I have not found another wife, but would like to.

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