Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Year in Review

This week, I have been pondering my 2008……did it measure up to my expectations? Did I accomplish everything I set out to do?? Would I consider it a good year?

My life tends to express itself in themes - themes in lessons, themes for challenges, themes in relationships. 2008 was my year to be brave and my year for change. Looking back, 2008 is going to be one of my favorite years - there was just so much discovery, creativity, joy and learning. In 2008, I learned to truly be brave and to live my life on purpose.

The year started with my girlfriends sitting around the table in my new house - boxes were in every corner - toasting to a happy and prosperous 2008 with a glass of champagne. I had just moved into my house and my divorce was almost finalized. The movers had just left, the painter had been fired, and the champagne glasses were the first items to be unpacked. Sitting around the table were my strong and supportive women - the fabulous women of the Board of Directors (so we call ourselves). We encouraged each other to press onward and upward in 2008 - to be prosperous - to be brave.

My 2007 ended with this blog on Myspace… December 29, 2007

I have just spent an eternity packing the things I have accumulated over the last 20 years of life and sorting them into piles of "his" and "hers.." But how do you really determine his and hers when a life was shared??

My new life - the life all my own - the life I create for myself……it was a concept I embraced with open arms…looking back, this year included:

My first date since I was 22 years old…and the ensuing girlfriend conversations of whether it actually was a date….
Having a house of my very own….
Packing 16 years worth of memories…..and knowing what to leave…..
Firing my painter….and then dealing with his wife….
Moving into a winterized home and having to figure out how to turn on the main water supply…..a truly traumatic experience as I did NOT want to call the soon-to-be-X…
Having a guy friend come over to hang my closet shelves because I was clueless….
Having to support myself for the first time in my life…..
Crying on my staircase because I felt so overwhelmed…….many, many times….
Joining a book club..
Throwing myself a birthday party…..and loving every minute of it!!
Learning to speak French…
Buying my first lawnmower….
Traveling to France……then Napa Valley….then Greece and Turkey…
Falling in love……and then realizing we weren’t right for each other….
Having my daughter move to Colorado and realizing she would never live at home again…
Remembering how to ski…
Creating strong female friendships - creating strong guy-friend relationships…
Becoming a mentor to teenage girls….
Taking a polo lesson….
Having surgery - a partial hysterectomy - and letting my girlfriends take care of me….
Changing careers….
Learning to paint….
Shoveling my driveway - for the first time
And putting my life “out there” in the form of a blog.

My 2008 has been a joy to discover….the resolutions I made last year created a theme to keep me pressing onward and upward

I felt like the grinch taking all of the presents in Who-ville....

Somehow, items I haven't seen in 10 or 15 years now have grave importance in my life... items that would have gone into the garage sale box are now lovingly packed into boxes to be shipped an hour away and possibly never seen again...

But.... the BIG question is how two adults can agree on who gets what house, where the kids stay, and who pays for college but have to seriously (but politely) negotiate who gets the Pizzelle maker that was used all of one time…10 years ago....

Suddenly birthday gifts of bread machines, sound systems, ice cream makers and DVD's become prized keepsakes with fond memories attached..

Every little item becomes one of utmost importance while the elephant in the room grows bigger and bigger and bigger.... we each are looking for a piece of our life to hold on to.... while it is slipping through our fingers never to return....

So I will pack all of my "elephants" and he will keep all of his.... never to be discussed nor truly see the light of day.... while our things are sorted and sifted and make their way into our new lives...

Don't be afraid.....just breathe.... be kinder and more compassionate, love more often and more deeply, laugh....even when I want to cry, and always look for the joy. May 2008 be a year of discovery and wonder. Cheers!

I smile when I read those words as I realize that for the first time in my life, my resolutions came to pass - they made a difference….

I can’t WAIT to see what happens in 2009!!!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blogging Reality

When I first started my blog a couple of weeks ago, it was to give an honest look at my struggles and achievements in being a divorced woman. Although I do journal sporadically and send detailed emails to friends, I have not committed myself to such a public display of my life - ever. Typically, historically, I have been a VERY private person - VERY!!! The last few years, I have been on a journey to becoming more transparent, to let more people “in” my life, to allow others to help… not have to look like I have it “all together.” The results are not always good - but I am so very glad that my feet are on that path!!! In the spirit of this journey…….I give you my Saturday morning…..

(It’s all I can do not to chicken out!!!)

(Seriously!!!) (Breathe…Becky….just Breathe…)

This morning, I stand in what I have now affectionately called my goldfish bowl - the travel kiosk. I call it that not because there is anything wrong with it, but because it is a somewhat circular area around the bottom of the escalators at the mall. It is surrounded by Tiffany’s, Burberry, Aveda, and Gap. The kiosk is tastefully done, but at times, I feel as if I am swimming around my space beckoning people to come a little closer. Oftentimes, they just peer in and I feel a bit on display there in the middle of the mall - hence the goldfish bowl.

The day has been good - I talked about travel and sent a few leads to the travel agency office. I am only there for a short while as I traded hours with another girl to go to a Christmas party tonight. I am standing behind the desk, smiling, watching the shoppers come and go with their bright and shiny bags - my morning is half over and life is good. Suddenly, I look up and coming down the hall hand-in-hand right towards me are the woman my X had an affair with and her husband. They hadn’t noticed me. Immediately (with the quickness of a ninja) I look down, grab my phone and text the first person I can think of - just so I don’t have to face the coming awkwardness…. I felt awkward and self-conscious !! Here I am in the goldfish bowl with nowhere to hide (and looking less than fabulous to boot - I was saving my fabulous looking preparations for the party)…. My heart started pounding and my hands started to shake.

I looked up and they were gone. I am fine……no big deal…..where did they go?? Did they see me?? Did they notice I looked…well…mousy?? I sent a text to my fabulous girlfriends - an SOS of sorts.

Why was this bothering me?? It has almost been 4 years since the discovery - I had forgiven her…..she and I spent hours at her house making our peace….and I meant it. I truly wish her well and she owes me nothing. We were friends once… and I thought that this was all behind me… my were my palms sweating?? Why did I feel as if I could run that half marathon - today….in the mall….in tall black boots????

I see them again at the second floor…..discreetly going around my kiosk (which I appreciated)……why in the world did I look up at that moment? She looked good - well, she ALWAYS looked good. She was wearing a cute coat (of course, only I would notice that….). My eyes welled up with tears - wow - I hadn’t expected that. They walked into a store (the store I was getting ready to visit in 10 minutes when my shift was over)…..and I started watching the clock….WILLING it to move faster - PLEASE move faster - maybe I could plug it into my energy….then it would be moving like an electric meter hand. I was so ready to leave the mall that when the moment came, I practically ran to my car. I open the door and sit for a moment. I see texts and missed calls from my friends and realized that I had survived yet another painful experience.

I have no grand lesson in this experience, but I DO have a greater appreciation for my friends who checked in with me to make sure I was okay. Had I not been transparent with them today and in the past, I would not have felt the love and care from them today.

So - Divorced Diva’s Guide to Survival Rule 1 - Let your friends love you - if you don’t have many friends - find some. Make new friends and keep the old - one is silver and the other gold……

Lost the Series

The thing that frustrates me most about myself is that I am geographically challenged - - I am in a constant state of trying to figure out where in the heck I am. It doesn’t matter if I have been there a million times, maybe the leaves have fallen off the trees, maybe there is snow on the ground, maybe someone moved a planter a half an inch - it suddenly looks different and I am lost……again.

When I was married, I would call the X. He would laugh and give me directions - - more importantly, he would give me detailed directions before I walked out the door. I would still end up calling him because I was lost, but at least I was a more informed lost. Now that I am divorced, there is nothing I hate more than being lost - - well, maybe being lost and late - - but that is still lost. It is my own personal challenge to arrive on time and without much extraneous driving around.

Yesterday, I was driving to the Smaller Indiana Hole in the Wall group lunch. I knew exactly(ish) where this place was. I pulled up the map and looked at it. It seemed to be a piece of cake - even by my standards. The tavern was at Pleasant Run and Meridian. In Indianapolis, you don’t get more basic than Meridian - it is the main street of Indianapolis…..hence the name….Meridian.

Since I was on the northeast side of town, I decided to hop up Keystone Avenue which parallels Meridian about a mile-ish away. As I drove up Keystone, I called my girlfriend to deconstruct my last encounter with the X. It was quite a deep and involved conversation - but that’s okay - - I know where I am at, I know where I am going and I will arrive at my location early!!

Keystone turns into Rural (holy cow) and unsure of where I am, I turn off onto Southeastern. The road name itself should have told me that it does not run north or south nor does it run east and west, but I was deep in conversation about how I was right and the X was the devil (just kidding….he’s not the devil, but I am right). I end up back at the center of Indianapolis - at the mall. Now I know where I am - but I am late. I see Meridian like a beacon and am happy because I feel strong and confident and capable.

I turn down Meridian, happy as a lark. Suddenly, the road jogs a bit - - I look up and I am on *&^*% Madison Avenue. HOW did this happen???? Meridian goes practically all the way to Kentucky - it’s a Highway for goodness sake. Did I misread the sign?? Did I turn off without knowing it? I drive and drive and drive (because there is no way to turn) and go through a part of town I have never been. I am seeing factories and graffiti and smokestacks…. I get on the phone to a friend - and proceed to melt down - I am completely and absolutely lost with no way to turn and NO idea which direction I am driving. I am ready to go home and get back into bed…….my stress level is DEFCON 5 (which usually calls for procedures of chocolate, wine, and very loud music). I make a right turn (thank you David!!). Suddenly, I see Pleasant Run - the corner street of the tavern……and my heart jumps for joy!! Then I see Meridian - beautiful, beautiful Meridian…..and then…the tavern…..Hooray!!! I am happy!!! LATE…but happy!!!

I walk in to door, am greeted by smiling, friendly faces and suddenly, my life is good again. As I enjoy the light conversation and my hearty beef stew, I remind myself that getting lost is not a character flaw and does not mean I am not a strong, capable woman. It does not prove that I am unworthy nor does it mean that my X is somehow superior to me because he can get to point A to point B without much ado. It is a quirk….I get lost….period. At the tavern, I am surrounded by great people who are interesting, creative and kind and the food and the company were well worth the extra half hour. Life is good!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Seussical Dating

My adventures in dating over the year I have been divorced have been the subject of many journal entries and girlfriend discussions over wine. To put it mildly, it has been less of an adventure and more like a Dr. Seuss book for beginners.

As I meet prospect after prospect, I feel like the little bird asking everyone he runs in to, “Are you my mother??” He asks cows, and kitties, planes, and snow shovels if they are the “one.” It’s a strikingly accurate picture of my “process.”

In actuality, it is quite comforting to know that there is no drama, no crazy stories - just a quick evaluation and then “no.” Of course, this does explain why I rarely go out without my guy friends or my girlfriends…..

Saturday, I worked at the travel agency kiosk at the mall. As I stand there trying to look friendly, I see the shoppers walking through the mall, two by two - holding hands, pushing strollers, buying presents. I felt my life was missing something. The Christmas music, decorations and shopping bag after shopping bag acted as a megaphone screaming into my life that “you, Becky Pruitt, do not have someone to buy presents for.” It was enough to morph this Christmas fanatic into a bah humbug scrooge!

As single men passed my kiosk, I would look at them and ask myself, “are you the one?” Too young, too old, too thin, too heavy, bad shoes, old man jeans, too fabulous, not nearly fabulous enough, no interest on my part, no interest on their part….. I could feel my countenance droop, tears welled into my eyes and I started to inwardly pout. Like the little bird who eventually questioned, “Do I really have a mother,” I began to question myself. Maybe I am supposed to be single forever, maybe I should just “settle” for someone just to have someone - maybe I just need to get a freakin grip and realize that I have more important things to do besides planning my love life - like handing out travel information.

My shift ended and I headed off to celebrate my friend’s birthday singing karaoke. In truth, I wanted to simply eat massive amounts of ice cream and hide under my covers. In reality, I entered a smoky bar and ordered a margarita and chili cheese fries….same thing different zip code.

Hours later, as I was leaving the bar to go home - full of guy friend love and fun - I realized once again that the question really is, “Do I want to be found?” “Do I want to be caught?” “Do I need to be caught?” I have no one to make happy but myself - I don’t need to worry about living up to another’s standards - of disappointing them yet again. I can be myself and be loved for it - I can realize that I am valuable without a guy validating me. After 16 years of marriage, I had gotten hooked on the crack of seeking validation and not getting it. I had gotten so used to the unhealthy push-pull dynamic that it’s tough to operate without it.

So for now, I will revel in being the baby bird on the journey. I will celebrate the fact that every “no” answer I encounter means that there is a “yes” out there who will completely knock my socks off - as long as I don’t snuggle up to that cow or that airplane and get stuck!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Journey of Discovery

It has been a year since I took off my wedding rings, stored them in my jewelry box, and set my course for a life of my own…..a life painted with colors and a brush that I chose - no negotiation, no guilt, no drama….my life - my very own life.

Looking back at the past year, I have learned a thing or two about myself - or maybe I could even say relearned a thing or two… Somehow along the way, I had gotten stuck - I had departed the spunky girl I once knew - the girl who made mud pies and sashayed through her grandmas house in slip-on heels two sizes too big for her - the girl who wanted to change the world - the girl who enjoyed showing people that she could rise to the challenge and then just keep going. That girl seemed a million miles away…but now a year later, I seemed to have found her.

My life is good! I have fabulous girlfriends and amazing guy friends. I surround myself with beautiful things and beautiful people. Although I think I would like to be in a relationship eventually, I am enjoying the process of discovering who I am without another person’s opinion of who I am and who I should be.

Joy has found me and I have embraced her as an old friend!

This marks the second year of my singleness - my year to take risks and push myself to the limits of what I think I can do. I have left the security of the industry I knew - travel and event planning - and have embarked on a new career in real estate. Once again, I have control over my own destiny (as much as a mere human can actually control these things)..and it is exciting!

As my 40th birthday looms around the corner, I remind myself to strive to be brave instead of striving to be safe - to look forwards instead of backwards - to enjoy my journey to the fullest!

The year that started out with tears has ended with joy and promise.