New Year, New You!
I think that’s Weight Watcher’s slogan, but if you’ve joined the growing ranks of divorced, separated or ‘it’s complicated” moms and dads in MY social circle, it’s not just a few extra pounds we’re trying to shed. This is an all-out, balls-to-the-wall life makeover here.
So far, so good.
I’m adjusting to Life on My Own, with Kid, fairly well. It helps that I’ve felt on my own for a long time.
In the harsh light of the glaringly self-aware clique that I’ve become tight with over the past year, I’ve had the luxury of dissecting what went wrong, when, where and why while our kids sword fight in the next room.
It has been, and will continue to be, a long road. The guilt over splitting up The Family, the panic that I’m doomed to raising a serial killer because mommy and daddy couldn’t get it together to stay married, the awkward moment at drop off where you’re not sure if you hug your ex or say, “f*&k you” when it’s time for good bye, and learning to let go of the real F-word: failure. A long road indeed, but not all that difficult to navigate.
Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Didn’t.
One of the recurring themes amongst my cohort is this idea that we didn’t get to do all the things in our marriage that we meant to...especially once kids arrived on the scene. All the dream vacations tabled for one reason or another, losing touch with friends, shutting down in the bedroom, too much time spent at the office, not enough focus on career...all of it has left us feeling like there’s this great hole in our collective psyche.
So what are we doing in the space between marriage, divorce and marriage again? We’re going on vacation. We’re going out to dinner and spending just a little more time on ourselves. Our careers are taking off, to all the places and with all the people whom - if we had been tending to these things in the first place - all the anger and resentment and toxicity we gave and got in our marriages would have never existed.
Why do we let life get in the way of, well, living our life? Why is it, that when we get married and have kids we get absorbed into this ‘thing’ called family rather than really nurture it? Why is it after ten or twenty years, you suddenly find yourself sitting in a coffee shop with some random person from work feeling happy and alive for the first time since...
You can’t remember.
It’s often said that your first marriage is practice for the second. Maybe there’s something to that. The wheels on the bus will continue to go round and round. I have a good feeling they won’t fall off again.
So, to all of you starting over I say, “Athbhliain faoi mhaise”, which in Gaelic means Happy New Year. And in case it’s not totally obvious, its pronounced “Awvlian fwree wash-ehr”. There. You’ve learned something.
New Year, New You!