It’s been a full decade since my marital status changed. I remember being scared – about what would happen to the kids, my finances and my emotional and social life. There were so many unknowns and too few people to look to for guidance on this new path I found myself on. None of my close friends were divorced and I felt more than a little lost. And alone.
I don’t miss those days and all those worries, not even a little bit.
Ten years later I still have fears relating to our sons, but I’ve come to accept that parenting worries are perennial. My income is stable and, Covid aside, I’ve kept myself busy with work and friends. Life has been so much better than I could have imagined during that unsettled time.
My initial concerns were mostly of the practical sort and as time has passed some of my anxiety relating to that abated. The bills were paid, the kids had everything they needed and my house wasn’t falling down. I was making it, mostly.
During the last ten years, I’ve learned so much – about parenting, the world and myself. While having a marriage that lasts until death is in many ways a lovely idea, I’m honestly not sure that accomplishment would ultimately have been a good exchange for all that I have seen and done since I became single again in my mid-40s. At least not the marriage I had. Not to suggest that I had an awful marriage, it just wasn’t apparently all either of us wanted and life is so very short.
I have done a lot of living in the last decade and have discovered a number of things since that Columbus Day weekend in 2010. Let me share some of it with you…
Time spent with family and traveling with my sons has provided me with memories that I absolutely cherish.
Running and my running friends saved my sanity. Yoga didn’t hurt either.
Good men may commit acts which they regret, but men of a lesser quality only regret the actions that come with consequences.
Finding a reliable handyman (and being able to afford to pay them) relieves a lot of daily homeowner stress.
Old friends remain a constant, no explanations necessary.
Dating midlife is VERY different than dating as a twenty-something – and I’m not even talking about online vs. IRL. It’s not about seeking “the one” who may become your partner in life and parenthood. Instead, at least for me, dating is less goal oriented. It’s no longer about projecting into the future, but more about enjoying the moments as they come.
I wouldn’t trade these ten years, and all I’ve discovered, for the safety of a life without the challenge of uncharted waters. The journey is what it’s all about – waves and all.