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Christmas has definitely done a sneak this year. It seems like one day I was complaining that stores had their decorations up before Halloween and the next day it’s, well, today. And I’m not ready for my favorite holiday. And guess what? I’m letting myself be okay with that. I have a few things for the people I love best, and I’ll be making a ham on Christmas Eve night for the Christmas Day, which we will celebrate with his parents, and our kids, and his nieces. Tonight, though, it’s me and my little tree, and a bottle of San Pellegrino, and Mr. Man, and a Netflix binge of Hawaii 5-0 to remind me that there are blue waters and places where palm trees are decorated instead of pine trees. And I’m okay with that too.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” — Charles Dickens

Daily gratitudes:
Fair winds and absent companions
Tickets to Cozumel
My Santa Hat
Getting to see Anastasia Fawni perform
MKL, always, MKL

It occurred to me the other day, as Kelsea and I were driving down the road, noting to each other which houses we might like to live in here, how different my life could have been had I had a partner who was working with me towards a shared goal all these years. I know that sounds obvious, and I know, too, that I have pondered this many times, but somehow, not in the same way.

We all choose our mates for different reasons.  I know that, way back in the annals of time, when I was a few days past 21, I chose mine because he was different from me, exciting, and he made me laugh.  They seemed like good enough reasons.  And once I get with someone, I tend to stick with them until I realize it will kill me if I don’t leave.  I’m stubborn. Or stupid.  I know now that I chose my mate to eventually have this wonderful child.  Not another child.  THIS child.

Others choose mates because they want to rescue them (or be rescued by them).  There was some of that in there for me, but it played itself out long ago, when I realized the futility of the whole rescue concept.  Others because they don’t want to be alone. Others still because it’s almost expected, and it’s easier to stick with something than to get out and find something else – good enough will be good enough.

None of us can see all the way down the road. People change. Change is the only thing certain in this life. In some cases, each half of a couple changes in ways that still work for the couple as a whole.  And in other cases, not.

Had I been with someone who wanted to work towards a common goal, I would have had my beach house here – and my travels, and my place in the Caribbean sun.  And some space to write and breathe.  I never expected to be coupled with someone who shared ALL my goals, just as I wouldn’t have shared his, but that part is less important than caring enough about one another to be willing work to fulfill not only common goals, but to help the other realize his or her OWN dreams – simply because you love them enough to want to them to be happy.

I spent my long 25-year relationship without a partner, working to support us, our little family, and occasionally being able to indulge my own goals.  Am I bitter?  Well, yes, a little bit. But only when I think of what I haven’t accomplished, and what more I could have accomplished with some help. With a partner. I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish on my own this past quarter century.  It’s really quite remarkable.  And I have a lot of time left to accomplish more.  It’s just that I wish the train could arrive sooner, as much as I enjoy the journey. I would like to be able to spend more time sitting by the sea, writing, and breathing.

So, in my wizened wise woman state, I say to you, if you are younger than me and wondering if this person with whom you are side-by-side now is THE one, be clear on your goals, and share your life with someone who has goals of their own – as well as ones to share with you – and who is willing to work towards them.  Try to think of it without rationalizing or fooling yourself.  And try to have the difficult courage to act on what you know is true.

You will find both the journey and the destination unfathomably joyful.

 

 

Remember a little while back when I wrote about my three strikes of dating?  Well, the pattern continues.  Another potential suitor is all washed up.  This time we had two failed dates and one actual date (which could make it two balls and one strike, but that sounds really wrong.)  And we’d seen each other at his place of employment quite a few times, so it could safely be said that we’d known each other about 5 months.  I was optimistic about this guy.  And he is a nice guy.  But.  Nope.  Sigh.  No chemistry.  And although I had an almost impossible time passing it in high school, chemistry is very important to me.

Not that I’m pining.  When the time is right, everything will fall into place.  Over the last two weeks, I’ve been pretty happy with my alone status.

I just noticed that being with the wrong person makes you more lonely sometimes than being alone – especially if you know what being with the right person feels like, and how happy that makes you feel.

Made me feel.

But if he’s not here anymore, then he’s not the right person.  Right?

Sigh…

Today’s guest poet  —  Greg Hewitt

Beyond The Pane

The frescoed cloister is closed.
No echo of omniscience
escapes to wind or metaphor.
A cottage holds three bowls,
earthen and chipped, on a table
made of planks smoothed by the surf.
One holds buttermilk;
another, tomatoes pale as moons;
the third, eggs the color of sand.
On the sill you would place a globe
of ivory roses to echo
the dolphin skull beyond the pane,
and think how sonorous, how bold,
this science of solitude.

My note from the Universe this morning:

“One’s ability to stop kidding themselves is what brings about the greatest breakthroughs, fastest comebacks, and happiest feet.”

I had a disappointing weekend, a couple of drinks last night (which is unusual for me) and called my ex-boyfriend in a state of sadness.  I left a message.  He didn’t call me back.  And now it’s time for me to stop kidding myself.

It’s time for me to stop hoping.

I had hoped we could stay friends.  I had hoped he would come back to me someday – even though I don’t know when someday might be.  I’m starting to get the message that he doesn’t really want contact with me.  He really just wants to be done with me.  It’s not his job to be my friend or make me feel better.

I have no idea why I’m having such a hard time letting go and moving on, but I am.  It’s not as if I’ve never been dumped before.  Maybe I just never loved quite this well before.  I’m doing all the “right” things – eating okay, exercising, trying to see friends, looking for a full-time job, writing, trying to buy a house – all these things that are all pieces of “moving on”.

But I’m stuck.  Stuck like a wheel in mud.  And I’m so unhappy.  Yes, I have good days.  It actually seems that I’ve had more good days than bad days.  But the bad nights, like last night, and the bad days, like today, are still so very bad that I hardly know how to get through them.  One breath at a time – which I reminded myself of as I sobbed into my already-soaked pillow last night.  Of course, I am my own person and I don’t need another to complete me.  But I miss him, and the connection we had.  I was happy in that relationship.  But he wasn’t.  And that makes it wrong.  Both people have to be happy. 

Maybe I need to go back to therapy (ick).  A couple of friends have said it would be good for me now, to work through some past stuff, since I am in a place where I am free and set-up for change.  Yes, maybe they are right.  Maybe I need some help to push through this.  I’ve given it time.  Time isn’t helping.  I’ve been trying to focus on the positive, to forge new dreams.  Still, not helping, not really.

I feel so fucking pitiful.  And I hate that feeling.

Guess I need to give it more time.  In the meantime, I guess the tears will keep flowing.

I wake up to my own alarm clock now – NPR.  I remember my dreams more though I honestly can’t say that’s a plus, considering the dreams.

I check my phone too often, and it’s too often quiet – no texts, no missed calls.

I think of little things I want to share with someone and can’t think of who I can share them with.

Like the herd of deer outside the bedroom window this morning – there must have been six or seven, one buck with a beautiful rack.  I wish I knew how they count “points” on a buck.

Like the really cool way the new little original oil painting I got last weekend looks on the living room ledge.

Like how great it was taking Kelsea to work this morning – oops, THAT was a slip –  I meant school.  It’s work for her.  We were talking about how our respective novels were going, and discussing different strategies for handling “blocks”.  Not the sort of conversation I ever thought I’d have with my 13-year old.  Very, very cool.

Like what a good pair of excercise classes I had today, and how sore my abs are.

Like how I wrote over 3000 words on the novel today in a cushy chair at a Starbucks near my old job.  And ran into one of the people I used to work for, who told me how he quit last month and is moving his wife and kids back to New Jersey, and how depressing the old workplace is now.  Which made me feel that getting laid off last March was a blessing.

Like how much you can miss someone when they go away, whether they go away to bootcamp, another country, to find themselves, to grow stronger or to die.  Whether it’s to make a relationship stronger or to end it. 

Like how being apart can sometimes make you appreciate what you have when you’re together even more.

Like how love doesn’t fade.

Lots and lots of  little things.  At least I can share them here.

Current NaNoWriMo word count: 17,443.  Not too shabby.

Having had sketchy to no internet service on the road home, I haven’t had a chance to write.  But we are finally back in Colorado – the end of our Excellent Adventure Roadtrip.  And it was indeed excellent, from start to finish.

We covered Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and of course, Colorado.  We saw amazing things and met wonderful people. 

Now I am home alone, and Kelsea is at Pat’s with her dad, dogs, cats, aunt, uncle and best friends.  It was hard leaving her.  It was hard coming home to an empty house and work tonight.  I felt so loved by her for the entire trip, and now that I am home, I feel … so very lonesome.  I miss her perpetually pleasurable company.

It feels like coming down from a cloud.  But I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.

It’s the two-month (and eight-day) anniversary of my divorce, so it’s time to check in.

Things are actually going pretty well.  Pat seems to be drinking less – at least, we only get into unpleasant conversations when he’s been drinking, and we get into unpleasant conversations less than we ever have.  He and Kelsea seem to be getting along better.  In fact, he seems happier without me.  And I think I am happier without him.  That’s not to say that’s a bad thing.  We were commenting today that we are getting along better now than we ever did.

We’ve had some minor trouble with child support.  I’ve been diligently paying him each month (though I was overpaying him the first two months).  But I kept getting these things requesting payment from something called the Family Support Registry.  I knew I’d been paying, so I just ignored them, until last week, when I thought, “Maybe I should tell these guys I’m just paying Pat?”  When I called them, they said that I needed to pay them and then Pat could get the money from them. 

“But I’ve been paying him”, I told them. 
“We have no record of that”, they said, “so in other words, to us it appears that you are delinquent.  To fix that, you have to contact your lawyer.
“But I didn’t use a lawyer.
“Then you have to contact the judge.”
“How do I do that?”
“We can’t tell you.”

Well, thanks for your help.  I’ve seen from the Captain’s experience what happens when you’re delinquent in child support payments – the one thing that I couldn’t bear to have happen:  you can’t renew your passport.  So in order to restore my good name, and avoid a bench warrant and subsequent fugitive status, Pat and I went to the courthouse today to see how we could fix this.

The first person we talked to, the Information Desk woman (who had a tremendous amount of cheese on her desk – weird), told us we had to go to a different town to talk to Family Services.  What?  There’s no other way? Well, since we seem to be “communicable” (as she put it), we could try talking to the Family Assistance Someone Upstairs.   Agreeing that while I may be communicable, though Pat is perfectly healthy, we headed up to talk to the Someone Upstairs. 

We explained our issue to Someone, who we then discovered was the Someone Upstairs’ secretary.  We discovered this when she walked four feet into the room we were almost standing in and told Someone Upstairs about what we were looking for.

Anyway, we filed a motion to update or suspend or reanimate (I forget the exact word) the Support Order so I can pay Pat directly and get credit for what I’d already paid him.  And it cost us (well, me) $105.  Hopefully, since we’re so communicable, the judge will approve it.  If she doesn’t, do I get my $105 back?  I doubt it.

Otherwise, it’s going pretty well.  We’re not fighting.  We talk briefly most days, usually around arrangements for Kelsea.  He brought me some groceries yesterday when I was still really sick.  (Today, I’m only pretty sick, not really sick.)  I kind of feel like we’re lucky.  Almost every person I’ve talked to about divorce over the last 15 months has told me that I was sure to need a lawyer at some point, that there was no way that we could continue to be amicable about everything.  I know that could still happen, but every day it feels more and more likely that we’ll escape without going to that bad lawyer place.

There’s one thing that I’m not nuts about.  I suppose it’s a function of being sick and not going to an office every day anymore, but I find that I am lonely. 

More often than not, living alone is not bad.  I’ve always appreciated my time alone.  And when I have Kelsea with me, it’s not like I’m living alone – just half the time, really.  But I haven’t had her with me since I’ve been sick, she’s been sick, and she’s had CSAP (so she’s assured of getting to school on time).  

When I go to bed at night, the house just feels empty and I feel alone.  Not in a good way.  In a hopeless, Im-going-to-be-broke-and-homeless-in-six-months way.  This has been going on for some nights now.  I am sure that when I finally (if I ever) feel better and loose this nasty, disgusting, snot-dripping-down-my-throat-induced nausea and cough, I will be able to get outside, enjoy spring, maybe even start a garden.  But not yet.

That’s not really a function of divorce recovery, but then again, maybe it is.  Maybe it’s learning to be alone not just when you want to, not just when you can carve out time to do so.  Maybe it’s learning to really LIVE alone. 

I think that’s a good thing.

My divorce will be entered in the annals of history tomorrow.  And so begins a new life.  Pat said today that he was over it (unless he got moody) which amazed me – that he could be over 25 years in such a relatively short time.  But more power to him, I suppose.  I wish him well.

It was a nice New Year’s.  Quiet.  Nice though. 

I went to a psychic the other day.  Not the sort of thing I usually do, but what the hell.   She told me some good things about Mr. GF.  She told me I was in a lot of turmoil, confusion, movement.  She saw my divorce.  She called Pat spot on.  She gave me some words of caution about betrayal and lies.  She told me she saw a great deal of journeys and travel in my future, uncertainty in my career, and that the uncertainty was unnecessary.  She told me not to be so afraid.  That I had very little to fear.  That I was in my power.  All this when all I told her was my name when I sat down.  Nothing else.  Pretty interesting.

I’ve been seeing several blogs lately from people who are in one stage or another of divorce, of starting over alone.  It’s interesting to see how many of us are out there who have gone through this painful process and reached out into the ether for support and self-expression.  Itneverrainsinseattle is right at the beginning of the process – he and his wife are in agreement with the need to part and it sounds like they are starting off on the right foot.  But it takes me back to having “The Talk”, and her saying she wants a lawyer to look everything over makes me nervous.  I think I’m (half of) one of only two couples I know who managed their divorce without a lawyer.   When a lawyer gets his or her hands on a person in transition, they can really brainwash them as to what they “deserve”.  And while I didn’t escape unscathed, I know I did better than if Pat had had a lawyer involved.  Jumpingtracks is also in the early stages of leaving a long relationship, with much the same emotions that I had.  (She has chosen to make her blog private since I wrote this.) I have to feel for both of them, as they are facing the incredible challenge of telling their children.  That for me was worse than “The Talk”. 

Looking back, I feel as if I’ve been numb for most of the last year.  I’ve known all along what was happening, what I instigated, what it means.  It’s irreversible.  While I didn’t leave my husband for another man, another man did provide me with the strength to leave, which made everything more complicated.  I wish I could have had the strength to do it cleanly, on my own, as it was what I knew, and had known for a long time, it was what I needed.

Now, I am coming out of the numb place.  Tomorrow, I hand over a giant check to buy my freedom.  In about 7 weeks, I am unemployed except for a part-time job.  And it’s time to stop threshing out the divorce stuff, and start talking more about the challenges of pursuing my dreams, experiencing new love, and resolving the conflicts between being a good single mom and “finding myself” (gak).   Yes, there will be the occasional remorseful tale of my loneliness.  But look forward to more about new relationships, new adventures, new beginnings.  After all, it’s only the third of January, and already this year, I’ve tried a tanning booth and Everclear (though not together) and started the Atkins diet.  Who knows what will happen next?

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