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You all had such good advice for the OP who was 24 and felt like a failure. It got me thinking about where I was at 24 and where I am now. WWYD?

(14 Posts)
user1489670695 Fri 24-Mar-17 08:28:59

At 24, I was on top of the world. I was engaged to the man I loved, graduating postgrad, about to embark on a high-paying career yada yada yada. A few years later -in my early thirties- we had (still have!) two beautiful smart children, our own home etc. I am not exaggerating when I say younger women told me they looked up to me, - I had money, a career, family, etc. I was pretty and slim, smart and confident.

Sometime around ten years ago things started to go wrong. My ExH started to become physically abusive, moody and generally unreliable. At first I was in denial it was happening, also didn`t want to let my family know. He was also normalish for long stretches of time- up to years before the next outburst. I also made some "wrong" career choices (follow your heart not your head type of thing) and changed my field of work- my previous field proving very stressful and travel-heavy, and I felt it was causing my family troubles. I still was able to get jobs, but it wasn't the great career path I had in my twenties. I started retraining for another career.

Fast forward to now- I am now 42 years old. I have spent a packet of money on divorce and legal proceedings trying to get rid of my crazy X- basically draining my savings. I have a contract until September, and after that no job. I have been applying for jobs and not even one callback. The latest vacancy sent me a form letter saying over 400 people had applied for that position.

I have no child support from the X- he has moved to another country. I have no close family in the city I currently live in, and the children aren't allowed to travel (both parents have to agree for them to travel, and we are in no contact with the father. The divorce bureaucracy is a whole other level of crazy). Once my current job is over in Sept, we will have no benefits, no extended insurance, no salary.

On a side note, as a fun extra, I have become obsessed with aging as it affects my appearance, daily charting new white hairs and wrinkles. Especially I notice how my face seems to be ~falling off~ when I look at my reflection with my head tilted.

I am facing a future where I have to get my children through their teen years with no support, and an insecure financial situation. When I think about the future my insides shrivel with fear. It's one thing to be responsible for yourself and then feel as if you have failed yourself. It's another thing to think about your hopeful bright lovely children and their future and feel you have failed them and have their futures weighing on you.

Huldra Fri 24-Mar-17 08:46:59

I had messed up my A Levels, end up doing a college course I hated. I saved up money and went travelling and working round the world. When I came back at 23. To see my friends in good careers and getting married or in long term relationships. I took some dead end job and had no one.

Then I did a degree, a year after graduating I was engaged and in a good career that I would never have thought of at 18.

nutbrownhare15 Fri 24-Mar-17 09:27:13

I'm so sorry to hear of what happened. It could happen to anyone. You sound like an amazing role model and mum. Three things spring to mind: 1. Consider moving closer to family for support of that's an option. 2. Think laterally re job and explore alternative careers to try to ensure you have a job in September. Cut back on expenditure now as much as you can. Martin Lewis' moneysavingexpert site does a money makeover which can save you 1000s. I am also noting the passing of time. Don't look too closely in the mirror and try to focus on the positives. Im sure you look great to everyone else but yourself. I really think you have come through the worst already, and it will be ok.

user1489670695 Fri 24-Mar-17 09:35:35

Thanks! yes I do think about moving closer to my siblings who are really close to my children and would be fantastic support- but first I need our divorce to be finalized- and also my current contract to be over. For sure it is something I am hoping to do in the long term.

I do try to save as much as possible but I admit I have these bouts of recklessness where it's like screw it this might be the last time in a while we can afford a nice dinner out or treat or something, and blow a packet on a fancy meal. I also feel it is like our "only" treat. But literally I have not bought myself new clothes in 2 years.

The reflection thing- I actually notice my face not in the mirror- but in videochat when talking to my siblings- and as we are quite close and I talk to my sister almost every day, I see my face a lot!!

AlPacinosHooHaa Fri 24-Mar-17 09:51:08

op flowers one of the greatest gifts you can teach and show your dc by example is how you deal with all the problems life throws at you. No life - even the royals - the richest people on earth The ghettys lives are insulated from massive problems and tragedy.

In the grand scheme of things it sounds like you have had a really good number of years, things go wrong, no life is perfect.

YOu have not failed your dc in any way at all! This is all par for the course of life. I dont know a single family that is not dealing with tragedy and problems in some way. You are who you are, your dc love you, this is life sad.

A for face, I had small bit of this turning 40, keep moisturizing and drinking water! step away from mirror.

AlPacinosHooHaa Fri 24-Mar-17 09:52:23

As for money cant you put a bit by specifically for blowing on little treats, then you can really enjoy them without feeling guilty?

user1489670695 Fri 24-Mar-17 09:57:17

"In the grand scheme of things it sounds like you have had a really good number of years,"
That is so true- when I look back to my early years of marriage, and when the DC where still quite small - looking at photos, I feel I knew true happiness and joy for several years, but I guess what worries me is that- is that all over? is it all downhill from here?

And yes, I keep telling myself- everybody has tragedies and horrible problems to deal with- we are just good at keeping up "face" I expect!

AlPacinosHooHaa Fri 24-Mar-17 10:08:28

Oh yes, I hear surprising things all the time about people who seemingly have it all - there is some pain hidden somewhere, a child with addiction, a DH who has had affairs and isnt trust worth, people battling mental illness, etc etc etc, but all have lovely houses, lots of ££££ but day to day life is actually a struggle and miserable.

My DM had very hard life - but her main gift to me was to keep cheery throughout and laugh about it all, if you can find humour in any situation and keep spritis lifted you will be passing them huge gift, material circs do matter less if you can have a good laugh.

Def not all over you had good times, you will have them again! I also know so many people who have had much nicer and happier second marriages! Hang in there op.

user1489670695 Fri 24-Mar-17 10:27:46

Thanks- I am trying to!!

Dragongirl10 Fri 24-Mar-17 10:38:11

Oh op, l do see where you are coming from, and things always look worse from 42 as opposed to 25 as mostly life gets tougher....whether elderly ill parents, divorce, ageing 25 all looks brighter.

But you do have more experience, more life skills, and the ability to change things for the better.

It seems from your post you need to get divorced as quickly as you can, and save every penny.
your DC need love and fun from you not treats, they don't care about a nice meal after 5 minutes so, the money is better saved.
Prioritise fun things with Dcs, an afternoon of board games with popcorn and a movie and lots of laughter, can be just as good as something that costs far more.
Also if you have a spare room you can earn up to 7,500 tax free with a lodger....May be a good fall back or a way to save for an eventual move...
Get a realistic plan, break it down into what you aim to do each week to get where you want to be...take small steps and keep the focus, things could look very different in a year.

Good luck op, hope your fortunes turn around

user1489670695 Fri 24-Mar-17 11:12:27

"spare room"- LOL I wish! I did used to take in a lodger when they were smaller and X had moved out- I charged much less rent than the going rate and they babysat for me- great arrangement!
Now DD is 15 and can babysit her younger brother, and needs her own room. Actually I was reading a thread on here a while back about how OP has two kids in a 2-bdroom flat and she plans to sleep in the living room- It was a really helpful to read and I was like yup that's gonna be me.

Same with the fun things- games and homemade popcorn was a treat when they were younger, as they grown older it feels like its all about the money... tbh my main concern isn't the money right now, as such, its just the horrible uncertainty and insecurity. The kids know about the job hunt and September, but I don't want them to worry, and so it's more like "oh yes something will turn up" -screaming inside-. In fact I may have done too good of a job of shielding them, since yesterday DD asked if we could join this fancy-ass sports and swimming club where some of her friends go and I was like whaaaa? Are we on the same planet? shock

Huldra Fri 24-Mar-17 11:13:39

Oh god, sorry. I missed the point of this thread completely blush

LittleGwyneth Fri 24-Mar-17 14:55:50

flowers I'm so sorry you're feeling this way. All I can say that I bet there are still lots of people who look up to you. Also, I know this sounds ridiculous but finding tv programs and films about glamourous, attractive people in their forties might help a bit? Mid forties is still pretty young and can still be super chic.

user1489670695 Fri 24-Mar-17 17:37:07

@littlegwyneth Not ridiculous at all!! TV shows are actually my guilty pleasure, and I really enjoyed the (few) shows which focus on older woman- the Good Wife springs to mind- although she set the bar too high in terms of dress and style!!

It`s not important about other people looking up to me now, just my own kids really! DD actually remarked the other day- couldn`t you have just become a nurse like so and so`s mom, and then you`ll always know you have a job!

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