Divorce: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

I’ve decided that Divorce is the gift that keeps on giving, instead of the thing that cut me off at the knees, leaving a barrage of scars. But getting here was a long haul.

And, I’m not saying that in a snarky or sarcastic tone, really.

Since my divorce, I have learned so many new things and am energized and excited in ways I never thought possible, especially at the beginning.  I have updated my resume (this seems easy until you consider my college roommate. She found her most recent resume on a floppy disc), interviewed for many jobs and am on job three post-divorce. I have made new friends, met new people, and learned new things. During my eight days at job number one, I found my lip gloss soulmate (it’s a thing) and learned how to use two monitors. During job number two,  I found new restaurants, stores, and deeper appreciation for cultural differences. Job number three led to my illustrious writing career and without it, you wouldn’t be reading this.

I used to want to stay home every night and watch tv. I still like doing that (way more than I should) but, looking back on my marriage (dinner, watch favorite shows, costco on saturday) that now feels like waiting for my turn to die. Now, I am writing, hanging with friends, finding new things to do. I used to want us to agree on all of our kid-related decisions. We didn’t. Still don’t. But, now I know that we won’t always agree and there is nothing I can do about it. So, I do my thing and he can do his. I have peace.

We had a lot of money. A lot of money. Now, I don’t have a lot of money. I learned how to do more with less, building better relationships with my kids in the process. And, teaching them you don’t need money to enjoy things and you don’t have to be in the front row to enjoy the show.  I’m not arguing that money doesn’t make things more fun, but fun can be had without. I am not necessarily materialistic, but I loved my home and my really nice car. Now, I am free as a bird, not defined by what I drive or where I live. Plus, I’ve learned to find joy and calm even when things are tight.

Before, I wanted my friends and their husbands to like us and want to hang out with us. We had some like that. But, now I have found that I can choose (and choose, I do) who I hang out with and what I do. Much easier and no stress. What can suck about only spending time with the people you choose?

What used to be a loss of all of my holidays has given me the permission to do different things, to make or break traditions. I spent one Thanksgiving or Christmas at the movies. Not crowded. Especially the chick flicks. The theater was filled with men and kids. Which only served to remind me; you don’t have to do all that work, spend all that money, while the ingrates go to the movies. And, you don’t have to spend time with his relatives, especially the assholey ones. Traditions are important, but we have made it our tradition to be flexible and try new things. Instead of making all of the decisions, we make decisions together. While that is more “friendy” than “parenty,” we all enjoy doing the things that we choose to do together.

While I was married, I was worried about my future for a variety of reasons. Now I have a plan for my future that excites me so, I cannot wait to retire. This divorce has given me the opportunity to live a second chapter, or start a whole new book. It has given me strength I never knew I had. It has given me new friends. It has given me new traditions and happier holidays. It has taught me I am creative and flexible and smart. It has given me freedom and joy. It has taught me a lot about parenting. I don’t know if I am a better parent, but I am a different one. I have always been open minded, but now I am not just open, I am receptive to new things.

The most surprising thing, though, is how this experience has enriched my children’s relationships with their parents. In my home, we spend almost all of our time together. If we watch television, we do it together. If we go to the movies, shopping, out to eat, we do it together. We take short road trips and go on local “adventures.” I try not to make other plans, waste time online, or talk on the phone when my kids are home and we are together. While divorce may make it easier to “play” us, it also makes it more difficult to have a favorite parent. I am not sure if this better, but I know if we were married, the relationship would be primary.

While all of these things are true, they are not reasons to divorce. I think it is way better for families to stay together. When that isn’t possible, you need to go through it. It sucks a lot of the time, but some moments of joy seep through. Everyday, I find reasons why divorce keeps giving me presents. And, I am thankful. It wasn’t easy and I had to choose happiness – something that is more difficult than it sounds.

The best thing…divorce has turned me into a perfect girlfriend; I don’t ever want to get married again and I don’t care about money.

I am totally free.