Staring Down the Second Half of Your Life
An interesting thing happened to me when I started my 40’s. I found myself taking a brutally honest inventory of my life. This led to drastic changes which impacted many lives, not just my own. My kids lives were turned upside down for a while, my ex husband has become (or continues to be, depending on how you look at it) angry and resentful, my mom doesn’t get to spend as much time with my kids because I only have them half the time. and I’m sure there are many other sequelae that resulted from my decision to get a divorce.
To this day, even with all of the craziness, I don’t regret my decision for a second. It never even occurs to me to feel regret. That is not to say that I do not feel profound sadness sometimes. I miss my kids, it is such an odd thing to only have your kids half the time. It sucks. It sucks that I was with a person for almost half of my life, and now he hates me, and sometimes I hate him. But, I don’t hate him nearly as much as I did when we were married.
Here are some thoughts I have about life:
1. Many of my friends have looked at my life and begun to reevaluate theirs. I think this is normal, some kind of midlife crisis that we all go through. I would never encourage anyone to get a divorce. What I do encourage is to take a good, honest look at where you are. We only have one life, and it’s short. One question I asked myself when I was making my decision: “Would you rather have a 50th anniversary, or be happy for the next 40 years”. You all know the answer to my question. My marriage was over for a very long time, but neither one of us would admit it. And it was easier for many years just to stay married so that we each had a built in babysitter. Sad, but oh so true.
2. After the dust settles, your (ex) partner will continue to be the same person they were all along. If they were a bully, they will find ways to bully you from their new house. If they were lazy, selfish, egotistical, narcissistic, they will continue to display these finely honed character flaws. The fun part is, if you do decide to separate, you don’t have to do their laundry any more!
3. Life is tough. I was recently having a conversation with my mother in law about how rough it was for women in the 1800s. She brought up a really good point. While life may be physically easier on women now, it is not easier in general. We are tasked with a whole new set of issues. We are expected to balance work, kids, home, and husband. It is without a doubt a huge challenge.
4. Enjoying moments is the only thing there is. If you can’t sit back sometimes and giggle about stupid things, you are in big trouble. I’m not talking about constant giggling. I’m talking about sometimes taking a step back, looking at your life, and laughing. Owning your story.
That’s all I got.