I write this on a Thursday night as I sip on a drink at a Starbucks coffee shop. I am bored and alone. I am divorced, so I don't have a spouse or child to keep me company. As I sip on my drink, I fantasize about the upcoming local events... of which, I will not be attending. Oh, I like to pretend that I will go to the beer festival, but I won't. Why yes, the weather is perfect for a softball game, but I won't bother. I don't want to go alone or spend the money. Then, it occurs to me, "What am I depriving myself of because I am divorced?"
How many lonely Friday nights are okay?
I have been divorced for over a year. I have spent 35 Friday nights sitting on my couch with my dogs. I have watched every episode of every season of Louie. I have color-coded my closet and finished a painting. Sometimes my sanity has been questionable, especially during those lonesome twilight hours. Sometimes I dreaded those lonely weekends and eagerly looked forward to returning to my workplace on Monday.
What are you NOT doing because you are alone?
Hm? I was waiting for a friend to accompany me on a hiking trip. Could I do this by myself? I have been sleeping on a tattered futon. Should I treat myself to a real bed? I never go on vacation. Should I take myself to the beach? However, here I was alone at Starbucks and, in a few hours, I would be snoozing on a smelly futon with my dogs.
Are you a moron for neglecting your whims?
Yes and no. (I am definitely a moron, but that's another blog.) I attempted to expand my comfort zone. Through this experimentation, I discovered that I enjoy treating myself to a $4 drink at Starbucks, but I refuse to sit alone at a bar. I have my limitations. And, as for a new bed, I have bigger financial goals to tackle and it will need to wait.
How to rationalize a self-imposed deprivation?
I tell myself to focus on the big picture. I embrace a gazelle-intensity for my long-term plan (thanks to Dave Ramsey). From Day 1 of my divorce, I asked myself, "What do I want for the long-term?" So, I listened to advice, planned, felt loneliness, suffered, cried, envied others, made mistakes, hated myself, asked for help, and kept coming back to my long-term plan. And I just keep going by simply not doing a lot of other things.
Waiting to exhale?
Then, one year after my divorce, I achieved my goal of home ownership. You know that saying, "waiting to exhale?" credited to Terry McMillan? Well, I totally exhaled this week (as I watched the TV show Louie in my new living room). And it felt great.
Oh, I am still lonely as Hell. And divorce really sucks. But my divorce journey has been so much more than only letting go of a relationship. My journey has been about a creation of my new life.