One day, about eight months after separating from my husband, I felt it. Happiness. Wow, I thought. Look at that-- I feel good today. And then it happened again: I was happy a second day. And then a third and fourth. I actually wondered if I were suddenly developing bipolar disorder. Was this some manic high?
I had forgotten what it felt like to wake up excited to approach the day and whatever challenges it had for me, rather than waking up with such horrific stomach cramps and popping Bentyl to get through the day. Instead of feeling like my life is over now that I'm a thirty-something divorcee, I feel is if my life is just getting started. I guess you could say that I woke up one day and finally realized that being divorced is not the end of the world, and that I was not only moving on, but actually happy.
1. I'm inspired by happy couples, instead of hating them
When I first separated from my ex-husband, I didn't wave the flag of "joy" when I saw random people blazing their love lives all over my Facebook. My first thought was, "Oh great for you. Isn't that special?" And in other cases, "Really? That person is taken and I'm single. Well I guess there IS an ass for every seat..."
I was enveloped in self-pity and bitterness. I was down in the deep belly of "It's never going to get better land" in the grief cycle of divorce. But then one day, an old elementary school friend of mine, a dark and handsome guy with an MBA and a great job in finance started posting regular photos on social media of him and his beautiful girlfriend, blonde and bright smiled. My first thought when I saw his first post was, 'Wow! What a great looking couple." And then, post after post, I 'followed' this couple as they attended sports events, birthday bashes, and other fun activities. After a while, I started referring to them as "my couple." I guess you could say I kind of love them the way some people love celebrity couples.
The sparkling-eyed pair didn't make me resentful of my singleness, but rather hopeful that one day I too will have a great big love. That the other half of my ass-kicking duo will one day appear.
2. Valentine's Day doesn't suck anymore
I remember the past few years feeling the weight of my crumbling marriage on my shoulders and it felt particularly heavy on the day of love, Valentine's Day. But now when I pass the fifty million displays and cards meant for lovers of the world, I smile and think about the Godiva truffles I plan on buying myself. I don't feel crappy because there won't be someone else footing the bill. I feel amazing that I am finally making my own money after being financially dependent on someone, even if I am utterly broke.
3. I can talk with my hands again
My ex once was very annoyed that I was gesturing with my hands one night when we were out with friends. In fact, there were many little things about me that he didn't like. My writing. My loud voice. My sensitive nature. My sense of humor. Now that I'm divorced, I can be myself and not feel bad about it. I can use my hands, sing bad eighties songs in Target, and write about my favorite new vibrator because there is no one there to tell me not to or that there's something wrong with me for doing so. Amen!
4. Another fight
I was listening to a friend kvetch about a fight she had with her partner the other day and as she was talking I thought to myself, "Thank god I'm single."
Instead of getting into another "late night talk"-- otherwise known as an argument--with my ex in which we both tried very earnestly to understand each other yet kept failing miserably, I can pull an all-nighter reading a book in peace and quiet or doing whatever I please. I don't have to cater to anyone's feelings or needs other than my daughter's or my own. There are no more fights. My daughter never has to tell us to "cool it guys" again.
When I first told people I was getting a divorce, I felt mortified when they offered up, "Don't worry--you'll meet someone." I felt like the reject on a game show who was just assured, "You didn't win, but here's some Minute Rice instead."
But now when people tell me that, I just smile and say, "Thank you, but I'm okay."
Meeting someone--getting married, isn't the be-all or end all of life. There are many great things that can happen to a person.
Like finally loving your own company. That's pretty darn great.