Posted by: itneverrainsinseattle | July 6, 2010

Odds and Middles

A friend of mine told me that I’m going through a couple of “life’s biggest stressors.” Then a friend-blogger (Hi, T) made a similar observation. So I did a search on the interwebs. What are life’s biggest stressors?

I remember reading once that divorce is higher on this list than death of a spouse, because at least with death, there’s some sense of closure/finality that is often lacking in divorce. So, that sounds like there’s a pretty specific list, right? Pretty well defined.

If there is such a list that is universally (or nearly so) recognized by the professionals, I couldn’t find it. I found many lists that put things in all different kinds of groupings and orders, and none of the ones I found cite any kind of quantitative data or empirical evidence. None of them gave terribly useful citations at all.

Still, among those that listed general categories of stressors, the top ten tended to be (in various orders):

  • death
  • marriage
  • divorce/breakup
  • job change
  • house change (moving)
  • personal injury
  • high debt/financial collapse
  • kids/family
  • pregnancy
  • going to jail

Hmmm. I seem to have seven out of ten going for me: death (and I recently discovered that I’m still more affected by Gabe‘s passing than I ever would have expected), divorce, job change, house change, personal injury (I’m able to walk, now!), financial collapse, and kids/family. Luckily for me, I have no immediate plans to marry, get pregnant, nor go to jail, which is a good thing, because I think that might be a bit much for me to take on in one year.

Where on that list is “changing your computer?” Shouldn’t that also be near the top of the list?


So, what are the great stress relievers? How might I combat the effects of stress on my life? Here, again, I find a variety of lists with a variety of emphases. However, many suggestions for stress relief include:

  • sex — alas, no sex, which is (part of) why I’m getting divorced.
  • exercise — a great idea… but that’s what led to my knee injury, and my knee injury has reduced my ability to exercise. Still, I’m going to return to this regimen soon enough.
  • sleep — alas, I’m a chronic insomniac, even at the best of times.
  • eat healthy — good point
  • punching mimes — one doesn’t find many mimes in the Seattle area these days, but if I do, I’ll be sure to start punching.
  • do nothing — this is an interesting idea. I think it’s supposed to be for a few moments, though, and not an overall, long-term strategy.

Nowhere on any of these lists did I see, “address the problem.” Perhaps this is what I’ve been doing wrong all this time — I’ve been trying to figure out how to solve the problems, rather than pursuing these other remedies. Some problems I’ve made great headway on — job loss has become over-employment (a stress in and of itself, but still…), which has in turn helped with the financial mess; personal injury has been addressed by surgery, and I’ll soon be commencing rehab of the knee; divorce is moving forward, albeit with baby steps, and I remain optimistic that an amicable resolution is within our grasp. As for death, well… time helps those wounds to scab up and heal, eventually, and it has been doing so in this case, as well.

The only way out is through. Toward that end, I simply keep on keepin’ on.


House has been on the market for two days. Sometime this week or next, I need to submit the paperwork to see if I might be able to keep the house as far as the bank is concerned. In the meantime, it’ll be interesting to see if we get any nibbles on the house. I think we priced it too low for the banks to accept any offer we do get, but we’ll see.


My injured knee continues to get stronger. I was delayed in making appointments for physical therapy; my first session doesn’t happen until this coming Thursday, which is almost three weeks since the surgery (and, I think about one week after my doctor would have expected me to start). I hope the late-ish start doesn’t cause problems down the line. That said, I’ve made incremental improvements every day. Did some moving of boxes a couple of days ago, and took some lengthy walks earlier today. I’m working on walking up stairs using my injured knee as the high-leg from time to time. Range of motion is still pathetic, but the improvement in strength has been remarkable. The knee still hurts as much as it did pre-surgery, but I trust it more now than I did then.


I am scheduled to receive my new computer tomorrow (Tuesday). I’m hoping to be able to check e-mail and to Skype and IM more reliably by the end of the week than I have been since my previous personal laptop experienced its unfortunate accident.


One of my children (the middle child, five-years-old) won’t go to bed on his own unless he simply collapses from exhaustion. Actually, the same is true of our youngest (two-years-old). Not sure how to solve this problem. Grrrr.


That’s all for now. I’d call this entry “Odds and Ends,” but I’ve still got a long way to go to get to the “ends” of most of these issues.

As always, thanks for being here, my bloggy friends. Your words of support, encouragement, and even the occasional kick in the pants are sincerely appreciated.



  1. Wow, you do have a lot of those life stressors! I have a few of them myself, but nowhere near as many as you – crazy. No wonder why you are having computer issues (wink). But hey, you are doing amazing despite it, seriously, you are strong, you are resilient and soon enough you’ll be back to kicking butt 😉

  2. Does Jolene have a sister? I could use that kind of emotional boost! {wink}

    Regarding your younger sons and their sleep issues: they are picking up on the tension and the changes going on in their lives. They don’t understand them, and you have no good way of explaining it to them. So just as you are, they are not able to maintain a “normal” lifestyle in the midst of these changes. They are afraid that yet another change they don’t like will happen if they fall asleep, such as one of you dropping out of their lives. I can’t offer any sure-fire strategies about how to deal with this, except maybe to sound them out about what might be troubling them. At least listen to what they are saying. The clues are all there.

  3. Is it odd that I think you still sound like you are on a good even keel. Isn’t recognize the problem the hardest part? You can handle this, I’m with Jolene. You have been working so hard to let any of this get you down right now. Plus you have all of us which is pretty damn awesome to help out!

  4. Wow, you actually seem to be handling everything better than the average with all that you have going on!

  5. I’m feeling a tad selfish. So, all I got out of that is that you need to talk and you’ll be able to Skype soon. Can’t wait! Miss you!

  6. Anyone gong through divorce is going to be facing more than just the divorce category. Stress from the children/family and adjusting to a new financial landscape are almost givens. I was also going through a career change and moving house.

    My father passed away six months ago. I’m now a “mid-life orphan” and that has surfaced several issues I’m still trying to process. It’s also caused me to re-examine issues in my marriage because I’m recognizing now that they have roots in my childhood.

    PS – I think they need to add anything to do with computers to that list …

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