Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Want My Life Back!

I want my life back!!!

That’s what I hear when I talk to divorced women who were married a long time. Admittedly, those words have escaped my mouth a time or two (or ten or fifteen)…. It doesn’t even seem to matter if the divorce was amicable, if there was years of fighting, if there was infidelity…we all seem to have the commonality of missing our previous lives. I know this sounds mercenary, but we don’t even have to miss our exes to want our lives back.

You spend a long time building that “house” that is marriage - painting the walls with shared experiences, carpeting the floors with labors of love, planting flowers of joy, watering the lawn with tears, and even planning to expand the house with dreams. When you leave that house, there is an inexplicable sadness - that “house” has pieces of you in it - it was a shared vision - built with the hope that someday this “house” would be “perfect.”

It is difficult to go through a crisis without having someone at home to light a fire, pour you a glass of wine and give you a hug. Even if your X didn’t do those things (mine did) it’s just the fact that someone is there with you in your stinky day. Many women tell me that their life would be better if they just had a man - someone to share their lives with. As a social person, loneliness is very hard to cope with. It is just hard… sometimes.... Other times, I realize that it is far better to be lonely and single than lonely and married.

My girlfriends and I are learning to encourage each other and help each other out to “fill-in” that space - the gap left with divorce. We all miss being financially secure, being able to go places without looking for a sitter (myself excluded on that one), having a date for important events and even doing household chores together. Being on your own after being married for 16 years can be a very scary place. I am responsible for me…..I have no one to blame for not replacing the trash bag but myself….I have no reason to linger in bed on a Saturday morning…..I have no one to cook for…to go on a bike ride with… I worry that I will have no one to catch me when I fall…. I have cried many tears over all of these, especially the last one…… but here is the reality of the situation…if I have no one to catch me when I fall, then I have made myself an island…..I have emotionally isolated myself….I have refused to reach out to trustworthy people and LET THEM HELP ME….

In an earlier blog, I wrote about the importance of having good friends and inviting them in. As a woman taking care of herself, there are other elements that need to be in place to reduce my stress and help me get things done in a pinch….so…

Divorced Diva’s Rule #2: Have certain Essential People in your life to come to your rescue if needed. Essential People to know are: a mechanic, a lawyer, a computer whiz, a financial advisor, a good tailor (trust me), a good insurance agent, handy guy friends (to fix that broken toilet handle), a home improvement guy who can fix major plumbing, electrical, fallen gutters, etc., and an expert networker who seems to know everyone and can give you a referral in a pinch. Also, invest in a AAA Membership so if your car breaks down or you run out of gas, you have someone to call.

My last two weeks have reinforced the need to have a good strong network of “people” to help me. Where I had relied on a husband to take care of these things for me, I now have to do them myself….or call my X….. and we all know that I will do anything to avoid calling the X……I’ll climb Mt. Everest before I call the X just to show that I can… (this is probably a subject for further self discovery, but I am currently in denial that this is a bad thing)… but back to the subject at hand…

The beauty of creating a new life is that you are creating a new life. It’s exciting…'s can surround yourself with beautiful things and beautiful people. You are building a new house with colors and a design you choose. When the loneliness strikes (and it will) throw a pity party - a REAL pity party…..have brunch with friends…..start a new project….go to the grocery looking cute (trust me on that one……)…. and just breathe. Look forward and not back…the past is a piece of you but it is not the totality of you…and remember the “B” in Plan B is for beautiful.

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