Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl. What if you had to completely reboot your life? Maybe it’s not so bad in your twenties, it might even seem common. But what about someone in their fifties? In the studio with me today is Imogen Smythe, and she’s had to do exactly that. “Welcome to the show, Imogen.”
“Thank you very much for having me on the show today Lisa it is great to be here.”
“My bio says you were happily married, but apparently that happiness was one sided.”
“I did consider myself happily married Lisa, and thought that my husband Peter was too. Unfortunately I discovered that for the last two years he has been living a double life. We have three amazing children, two daughters and a son and during the last twenty-five years we have faced challenges but also had some good years. In fact we were planning a special trip to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary when Peter came home and broke the news that he was leaving me.”
“Imogen, our listeners will want to know why. Was it something illegal, substance abuse, or violence?”
“No that would not be Peter’s style as he is very conscious about appearances and how people perceive him, which is why being a philanderer is the last thing I expected from him. But, it would seem that looking bad in the eyes of his family and his business partners was the last thing on his mind when he fell for the charms of what I call a ‘fast-tracker’ called Stephanie. A young woman who feels that she would rather have a wealthy husband that someone else has loved and supported through the tough years, than go through it herself.”
“Philanderer! God that’s such a good word. And I apologize if there is some residual love there, but what an asshole. Did you take him for everything he’s worth?”
“To be honest Lisa I was in total shock when he calmly announced that he was leaving. It took me several days to just process it and break it to our children. Who, I am ashamed to say had their suspicions for some time; whilst I missed the signs completely. After the shock wore off, I asked him why after managing to keep it a secret for two years, he had decided to leave now. It turns out that she had wanted him to leave me for some time but he said no. Suddenly she was pregnant and he said he wanted to do the right thing!
“Considering his lack of interest in our children when they were born and his insistence that we only have the three, made this even more surprising. As if this was not hurtful enough, he managed to twist the cause of his affair around to making it my fault. Apparently, I had not shown him enough attention after the children were born and I had become frumpy and boring to come home to each night. Hurtful though that was, one look in the mirror and I had to admit he was right. I had become very frumpy looking.
“I didn’t have the heart to fight the terms of our divorce. Peter being a banker had taken care of all our finances over the years and he wanted to keep the house, or rather his new wife wanted to keep the house. He bought me the small home I live in backing onto Epping Forest and I managed to salvage furniture and items that reminded me of happier times. Stephanie his new wife wanted to completely redecorate and outfit the house with new furnishings throughout. With the children grown and at university he also settled a monthly sum for me to cover expenses. I think my children did intercede on my behalf, otherwise I am not sure what I would have been left with.
“It took me several months to adjust and I afraid that I took solace in ice-cream and white wine and barely left the house. Instead of taking care of myself however, I did transform my new house which gradually brought me back to life. But I was now bored and restless. I had always been busy with volunteering, taking care of our children and home plus Peter’s entertainment commitments. I discovered that I missed my old life more than I missed the trappings that went with it. I knew that I had to get a grip and look for something to get me out of the house and back into the world.
“Getting a job at 50 is not easy for anyone and I knew that I had to get myself into better shape before attending interviews. I was living on the edge of the forest with fantastic walks so began a daily exercise routine. I then went into London and had a complete hair makeover which cost a fortune but made me feel a million dollars, and of course there was the little matter of retail therapy that resulted in a new wardrobe. At the end of six weeks I was a stone lighter and ready for the next step of finding a job.”
“Makeovers are awesome, aren’t they? I do a ton of them on myself, but I also get them when I make Craig’s promotional posters. Oh, and you look great, by the way.”
“Thank you that is always good to hear especially from someone as glamorous as you, Lisa. And yes, it boosted my self-esteem and I did begin to get some compliments which at first I felt very uncomfortable with. And something else that I now see was a sign things were not right with Peter. I realized it had been a long time since he had noticed what I was wearing or complimented me on a new hairstyle.
“As good as I now felt physically, I still worried that I had little to offer a new employer. It had been so long since my last job before we were married, and I didn’t think that my little bit of voluntary work would count. However, I thought if I at least wrote down all the jobs I had before, then with some description of my duties, it might give a prospective employer an idea of what I could be capable of. I actually found myself reliving the events and experiences and slowly as I did so I began to gain a little more confidence.”
“So with a shiny new résumé, you’re about to go searching for work. It’s kind of scary and exciting at the same time. Tell me-
“Wait, we have a caller. Hello, you’re on the air with Lisa and Imogen. Do you have a question for Imogen?”
“Yes, and thank you. I am actually a long time listener Lisa and you can imagine my surprise when I tuned in today to hear that your guest is my former wife. This is Peter Smythe and at first I was not going to call in because I find this rather embarrassing. I haven’t seen my wife for several months and hearing her talking about us so candidly has hit me quite hard. I am hoping Lisa that you might let me put my side to the story.”
“I am not sure about that Peter; from all accounts you put your side of the story when you left Imogen. Is there anything you disagree with from what Imogen has told us of the break-up?”
“Well no I can’t, and I wish that I could. I know that it appears that I behaved very badly but I would like to say something to Imogen about how I feel today about it.”
“To be honest Peter this is typical of you. I don’t hear from you for months and you insert yourself into my interview with Lisa. No doubt to try and convince those listening that I was in the wrong and you were the injured party.”
“No I promise Imogen that I just want to put the record straight. You lost all interest in me when the children came along and I was working long hours. How did you expect me to be there as a full-time father. That is why I didn’t want you to work as they needed you at home. And we had enough money for you to take care of yourself and there was no need to let yourself go as you did. I am sorry, but when Stephanie came along it was as if I was in my 20s again and having fun like we did before the children came along. But, I have some news. Things have not been going well in the last few months since the baby arrived and Stephanie and I have split up. I am living in a flat in town and I realize that I made a huge mistake in leaving you. Our children don’t want to speak to me either and I want to try and see if we can make another go of it as a family. Don’t you think we could make another go of it? What do you think Lisa?”
“Sorry, slick, not having it. Seems to me you made a promise, a special kind of promise called a vow, twenty-five years ago. You broke your word, and now you want poor Imogen to believe your word is good. Why should she?”
“I was a good provider for twenty-five years, Imogen didn’t have to do anything but bring up the children and run our home. If she had been more attentive then perhaps I would not have had to find another relationship outside. It takes two to keep a marriage happy and I did my part.”
“You know what Peter, I think that you have just summed up the reasons we split up very well and also why we could never get back together again. I am sorry that your relationship with Stephanie has broken down and I am sure that she will make sure that she keeps the house and is well provided for. But I hope you spend more time with this baby than you did ours. My advice is to try and patch things up and make it work for the sake of your child as I am most certainly not interested in patching things up. It has gone too far for that now.”
“Well then there is nothing more to be said is there. I thought that I would give you another chance but it seems you don’t appreciate what I am offering you. And I won’t be listening to this show again either.”
“I am really sorry that you and your listeners had to hear that, Lisa. When I came on this show it was to encourage men and women to find a way through a sudden change in their lives. I had no idea that it would become so personal.”
“Please don’t apologize. Our listeners will be happy to see you confident and on your game. I sincerely hope you can find a job first, and then build whatever kind of happiness you can. As they say, you do you. If that’s crazy cat lady, or a nice garden somewhere, so be it.”
“Actually, there is someone special. We met through the employment agency that is working with me to find a job.”
“Oooo, I like it. So do you think this could wind up going somewhere?”
“We shall see. It is early days yet but he is a really nice man who seems to think that I am fun to be with. I shall be taking things very slowly.”
“Well, I for one, wish you all the best. Any closing comments for our listeners today?”
“Thanks for having me, and I had no idea that it would turn into such a dramatic interview. But it has confirmed to me that I am now on the right path. I hope any man or woman listening, who feels alone and at a crossroads, can now see that there is a way forward to a new life.”
“You can read more about Imogen in the book, Odd Job Girl, by Sally Cronin. I’ll post all the deets on the website.
“You can help Imogen and Sally out by using the sharing buttons on your way out. I’m sure they will do it for you when your character appears on a future episode.
“Speaking of future episodes, I’m always looking for guests. If one of your characters would like to appear on Lisa Burton Radio, have your people contact my people at the following: Coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com.”
Imogen was fifty!
Life is unpredictable and will often throw you a curve ball that knocks you out of the park.
For Imogen this curve ball knocked her out of a twenty five year marriage and a lovingly renovated home into a single life at age 50. She had been a very contented wife and mother of two children, who for every one of those 25 years had thought her husband had been equally as happy. It was a shock to find out that she had been delusional and replaced so easily.
Her confidence was non-existent. She had forgotten any skills she possessed and was totally unprepared to enter the modern job market. Or so she thought.
When we find ourselves in a new place and time in our lives, it is not unusual to meet others who have experienced similar traumas and also those who understand how to help you pick up the pieces.
Surprising though these events had been, nothing prepared Imogen for the realisation that she still had what it took, both in the work environment and when it came to her heart.
It was a journey into the past to rediscover who she had always been and a step forward into the future and a new adventure in life.
After working in a number of industries for over 25 years, I decided that I wanted to pursue a completely different career, one that I had always been fascinated with. I began studying Nutrition and the human body twenty years ago and I opened my first diet advisory centre in Ireland in 1998. Over the last 18 years I have practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as written columns, articles and radio programmes on health and nutrition. I published my first book with a Canadian self-publisher in the late 90s and since then have republished that book and released nine others as part of our own self-publishing company. Apart from health I also enjoy writing fiction in the form of novels and short stories.
For the last four years I have been enjoying life as a blogger and post on a variety of subjects including Book and author promotions, health, short stories, poetry and humour. As a writer I love getting instant gratification and blogging is like chocolate… it does just that.
Sally would love to have you contact her at the following places: