Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another Anniversary

I've been musing about this anniversary for some time now, trying to decide exactly what to say. On April 4, 2001, my divorce became final. It's been ten years, ten years of singleness although the marriage counselor suggested the "single" had been going on a lot longer.

I've been musing on what these last ten years have taught me, brought me and changed me.

I'm stronger than I ever imagined myself to be. As I march toward the second year of blogging, regular readers know it has not been a good two years. I have endured things I never imagined myself enduring. I have had to teach myself things I never wanted to learn. I have made painful decisions but still find myself procrastinating on others. Every day is what it is. I quit wishing things were different. If I want things to be different, it's my job to make them different. In those choices, I have found a well of strength to carry on.

I have been brought all manner of trial and tribulation. I flat out reject the idea that "God doesn't give you more than you can handle". My view of God is that he wouldn't, if he were this entity that loves me, willingly toss all this on my plate. Even if every trial is supposed to be a "teaching moment", why would someone who loves me destroy my world multiple times in varying degrees to the point that my complete loss of self-esteem occurred? Humans, with their distorted views on what is good and right and necessary, cause these problems. Sometimes, God is with me. Most of the time, I feel he's a nebulous entity looking in on me to make sure I haven't made off with the silver.

What I have found are the people brought into my life at times when I need them most. The person who sent the anonymous Target cards; the friends who bought breakfast, lunch and dinner; the friends who called to say, "Talk to me"; have made the past 10 years rich. I've gained friends and I've lost friends. Each person whose path has crossed mine has enriched me more than I feel I have enriched them.

Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher, said, "Nothing endures but change". This has been variously translated into the aphorism we all know, "The only constant is change". That would be the summation of the past ten years. I felt empowered in walking away from a failed marriage. I was taking control of my life. I had tried and what I attempted had failed. I grieved and I moved on. It was anger that drove me forward.

There is anger still. It's a different kind of anger and it's easy to recognize and deal with. I spent some time in sadness. I don't get sad about the divorce anymore. I do get depressed at my life and there are weeks when that's the proverbial "800-pound gorilla in the room". But I fall back on my tried and true aphorism, "It is what it is" and I move on.

I have seen my daughter go from an insecure high school student to a smart, self-assured, confident married woman. I have said goodbye to 5 cats, welcomed 2 more. My health has changed and I find I endure things that only come with age. "Why does that hurt?", is something I've been known to say more often now.

In 10 years, a child goes from totally dependent to somewhat independent. In a way, I feel like that child. There were a lot of things I was doing on my own before the divorce. That single gavel fall in a courtroom shoved the neophyte out the door and into a world she wasn't quite prepared to tackle on her own. I've made some really stupid mistakes and some really brilliant decisions. Some days, being single feels like a carrying a ton. I'd give almost anything to have someone else make dinner, do the wash, talk to me. And then the notion passes and, as I eat popcorn for supper, I'm very glad I don't have to answer to anyone. I would, if given the chance and the right person, travel this road as a couple. The burdens are easier to carry, the loads lighter and the laughter richer when shared, but that person has eluded me and may never, ever come. That last statement is something I'm learning to embrace.

So, here's to me. It's been quite a journey over these last 10 years, a journey I thought I wouldn't ever make. Had we found a way to stay together, it would have been 33 years this June. That would have been an achievement. As it is, I am living my life my way, with all its bumps and potholes and moments of joy.

Beverage:  Earl Gray tea


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