I am approaching my one year anniversary of being divorced. It is not something to celebrate in the truest sense and yet, it is. I think about where I was one year ago and I can see how I have evolved and grown. The work is not done by far and the roller coaster ride continues, but it is better than it was. I tend to get wrapped up in the day to day and I don’t realize the tiniest of baby steps taken on a daily basis have started to accumulate. It’s hard to look back a year, even two years ago and believe I made it through. But I did. And I continue to.
A big priority for me personally these days is being ok with being alone. For a lot of people, when you end a marriage or relationship, the overwhelming urge is to replace the person you lost with someone else right away. I’ve seen it happen time and again. I felt the urge myself - to immediately run out and find someone who would make me feel worthwhile, beautiful, interesting and important again. I got on all the dating sites, tried to find someone, got depressed with what was out there and despaired that I would never feel worthwhile again. I tried Meetup groups, trying to find friends, men, anything that would help the loneliness, the loss. But ever so slowly, in such small ways that it was barely noticeable, I started to back off, to not feel the panic, the urgency, to fill the space in my life. I was content to sit with myself, to spend time alone, to enjoy my own company. I go to movies alone, I read alone, I watch TV alone, I sit in coffeehouses alone, I even travel alone. I just did my first solo trip and have planned another one, longer this time, for September. I am not a hermit and spend lots of time with my daughter, my book club ladies and some people at work. I even had my first date in over 17 years a few weeks ago. The man was very nice and wanted to see me again. But I wasn’t feeling it. Instead of grabbing on to a man to make me feel good about myself, even if I wasn’t interested, I let him down politely and easily. I’ve realized that I want people in my life that add something to it, not people that fill holes I have in myself. I am ever so slowly coming to accept that I am ok, just as I am. I don’t need other people to tell me that or make me feel it. I have to love and accept myself in order to have healthy relationships going forward. The longer I am alone, the more at peace I am with being that way. Someone is going to have to be pretty amazing to have me add them to my life and I am ok if that never happens for me again. I have a life to lead that is more than just a romantic relationship. There is so much more for me to do, to see, to be.
I am far from perfect at this and it is all very much a work in progress. I am still terrified of doing certain things and try to talk myself out of doing them. I am a coward just as many days as I am brave. But I am fighting, every day, to make a new life, a better one. There is a quote from Carl Jung that explains this journey perfectly: “The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” I am perpetually terrified, but still in the arena, fighting this fight, to be me and to be proud of who that woman is.