Getting my Sh*t Together by 60
Two years before I turned 60, it hit me hard. “In two short years, I am turning 60 and wouldn’t it be good if I finally had my sh*t together?” So, I decided to start a blog. I had no detailed plans, no specific intentions of what I would say or what this blog would be about, but I knew it would be a good way for me to get my act together.
I have lived a life full of ups and downs. I realized that I had kept telling myself lies. Also, I kept too many secrets. The time had come to unload them all. It was time for me to tell myself the truth. I wanted to accept myself entirely, just as I am with all my flaws, with all my mistakes, with every story. I had to own it. I was going to begin by exposing it all.
The First Lie
At first, it may have begun as a coping mechanism, but it became the story of my life. I was not dealing with the full reality of what was happening. I was only 11 years old when my mother passed away from a heart attack.
This was such a traumatic loss for me. So, I made up a story to cope. “My mother went on vacation.” It was much easier to deal with missing her while she was on vacation than to process the finality of what had actually happened to her.
My name is Loretta Sayers. I am Kintsugi.
Half-truths. Made up stuff. Stories. I was afraid to be honest with people. Mainly, I was afraid to be honest with myself. So, I unloaded it all on my blog. I retold how I was sexually abused by my grandfather. First, I had told my husband when I was in my 50s. Then, I had told my sons. Finally, I told the entire world.
When I was young, I remember that a cousin claimed her father abused her. My mother had responded, “How could she do that to him?” Those words stayed with me, and I knew that I should never say anything. As I wrote the blog, I was ready. When I shared this part of my life on my blog, so many family members came out saying that the same abuse had happened to them.
The Snowball Effect
I was married at 16. By age 18, I was divorced. I moved across the country, and because I was so embarrassed by it, I didn’t tell anyone.
At 21, I was married again. This time, I was married for 18 years. At 39 years old, I was again divorced, a single mom of two amazing sons. My second husband and I were just not compatible. I moved into town from the country and worked very hard to take care of my kids.
From there, I got into an abusive relationship. It was horrible, the verbal abuse was extremely hard to cope with, and I left. After that, I dated the kindest person ever. He blinded me with his sweetness. Three months after dating--yes, you guessed it--I said yes. We were married.
Three months after that, I felt I had been kicked in the gut. I could not breathe; I did not love this person. I must have been in a trance, because I was desperate for kindness at that time in my life. Then, I was divorced again.
I had kept three divorces a secret. Then, it was all out there on my blog. I poured it all out of my heart, mind, and soul for the world to see.
Ups and Downs
I became a realtor. I was doing so well! I was rocking it. I bought two investment homes. Then, the 2008 housing market crashed. I lost the income from my work, as no one was buying real estate. I also lost my two investment homes and had to declare bankruptcy.
Then, a handsome knight came along. He was fun, nice, and charming. This time, we dated for a year and a half. After that, I said yes! This was my 4th marriage.
We moved to Napa. I had taken a position as the caretaker of a mansion. We lived in this beautiful 20-acre property with a pool and tennis court. The owner was only there for the summers, and the rest of the time we just enjoyed this magical setting. All was well until one day, it was not.
My husband changed. It was like a light switch went on. All of a sudden, he wanted to go live in a cave – no, really! He wanted to go live in an actual cave. I discovered he had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in his 20s, but everyone had kept that a secret from me.
Living with My Husband's Bipolar Disorder
His behavior became increasingly erratic. He would eat oatmeal from a cooking pan in the shower. Then, he used the same pan to make pasta, which he ate at night outside. Day after day, this continued.
He slept out-of-doors and was very afraid of the dog's hair. We had the dog the entire time we dated and were married, but the switch had gone on. The craziness was just part of who he was now.
He was bleaching everything. The fear of germs was intense. So, I had to save myself, as I was not willing to live like this, but neither I was willing to go live in the cave. The ultimatum was simple. If you take your medication, I stay with you. If you don’t take your medication, we need to split. So, he got on his bicycle and rode from Napa to Oregon where his parents lived, over 400 miles.
I was so embarrassed. I thought my kids would think I was a stupid person. I had two friends who called me “on it.” They made fun of all of the decisions I had made …
My sister Linda is 15 years older than me. She said she admired me because I never gave up on love. This sparked in me a different point of view. I was entitled to love, and there was no reason I should give up.
I started a road of self-discovery. I spent 1.5 years on my own, at the mansion in Napa. I had no friends, and I worked from home. I went through “The Four Agreements.”
The "Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom" is a self-help book by the best-selling author Don Miguel Ruiz with Janet Mills. The book offers a code of conduct based on ancient Toltec wisdom that advocates freedom from the self-limiting beliefs that may cause suffering and limitation in a person's life. I focused on growing, assessing my life’s decisions. In this book, he teaches how to rewrite our story.
I was in the best shape of my life, physically and emotionally. So, I was ready to try and find love again. I was hopeful, and I not willing to give up. Looking online, he found me. When we met, I flagged him as a player. We talked for three hours and even though he came with all his swagger, we did have a fantastic time. The next day, we met again.
We sat together enjoying a glass of wine. Then he poured on the charm, so I looked at him and said, "You can put your eyes away, John, you aren’t going home with me tonight." He laughed and then relaxed. This is how we became friends for the next six months. I was very leery of getting into another relationship, but I had promised myself that I would allow myself to try again, that I would allow myself to love and be loved. I knew what love looked like, because I had seen it in action at home with my parents. I wanted and deserved it in my life as well.
My True Love Story
I used to be the strong one, the supportive one, the one that took care of things. This relationship is completely different. John, my husband--yes, husband number five--supports me, loves me, allows me to do my own thing, to grow, to write…I have never in my life been this happy in a relationship.
You are welcome to come to my blog and read more details about our story. Now, I want to go back to the lies in my life. I want to tell you about the transformations I made.
Truth & Comforting Lies
When I was 21 years old, my brother died. He was 23, and we were very close. He was electrocuted. His death broke me into a million pieces. My dad was so broken that at only 21, I had to handle my brother’s cremation and all his affairs. In my mind, my brother had died a hero. He was saving his buddy in the truck. One day, I found out the truth. The truth was out all the time, but my mind had built a story so I could cope with the loss and grief.
My brother died for no good reason. He touched the truck and got electrocuted. He was not there to save anyone. There was no heroic act, just a simple accident that took his life. It was time to accept it for what it was. I had found a newspaper clipping; I had it in my possession the entire time, but I didn’t read or internalize the facts. It was so much easier to tell an incredible story of heroism, in order to make the loss less devastating.
I forgive myself for not being okay with my life up to now. I forgive who I was and had been; it is not about forgiving people who hurt me along the way. It is about what I am going to do now and how I am going to live my life now. It is time to be authentic, real, and truthful. It is time to share and make the connections that I should be making. I will connect to those who will not judge me and who will love me for me.
While I am still living with many hardships, I am blessed. I recently lost a sister to a heart attack, as my mother died from heart disease as well. I am very aware of the blessings in my life. For one, I came to terms with who I am at 60. I am living life in truth. That, my friend, is letting a ton of weight I have carried for a long time off my shoulders
My name is Loretta Sayers, and I am Kintsugi.
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