Monday, August 2, 2010

One Year Later

“Whenever you see darkness, there is extraordinary opportunity for the light to burn brighter.” ~ Bono

Oftentimes, people mark certain changes in their lives by particular dates. There are the usual suspects such as wedding dates, birthdays, and such. Then there are the not so usual ones. I realized while I was driving today that it is August 2nd therefore making yesterday August 1st. I know, my ability for basic math is astounding. I tend to remember dates in which something significant has happened to me, and yesterday it was one year since I moved out of my house and into my apartment. That may not be significant to you, but for me it was the beginning of what I hoped to be a new start, a fresh beginning you could say.

I find this ironic because I am thinking that the significant date should be the day I went to court for my divorce (yes, I am in the 50% failure rate), the date it was final, or even the date when I decided to actually file for divorce. But no, August 1st sticks out in my head. My ex- husband and I had been living together (but separated…it was a large house) for 11, count them 11, months. There were financial reasons why we did this and even though it was one of the most ridiculous things I have ever done, I am grateful today that I did it. To our credit, we got through it, we sold our house for a profit in one of the worst housing markets in the history of the United States, and we both lived to tell the tale. Barely.

This is not supposed to be a story though about divorce. It is a story about new beginnings and the tremendous amount of personal growth that can come from them. For me, the new beginning was the move. It gave me a chance (especially with being out of work) to spend a lot of time by myself and to learn who I am all over again. I had always been relatively independent, but now I had the space to breathe and to discover myself again. Some of what I learned was great and some well, not so pretty you could say. The good part though was that at least I learned something. Come to think of it, I learned more than something. Seriously, I think I should get the personal growth award for the past year.

So what have I learned? Well, I guess the most important thing that I have learned is that I can survive. Yes that means physically and financially, but mostly it means emotionally. I can survive major life crises (several happened last year) and actually survive them with dignity and a sense of humor. I have learned how to be selfish when I need to be and more giving when I don’t want to be. I have learned to not apologize for who I am and instead embrace my uniqueness. I have learned the difference between being alone versus being lonely. Trust me, there is a huge difference. I spend a lot of time alone and very little time feeling lonely. I have learned to define myself by who I am and not the relationship that I am in. Probably one of the most disturbing things to me that I have learned is that I am attracted to/get involved with the wrong kind of man (meaning in a relationship- I have great male friends)…you know, the emotionally unavailable one. That is not good, really not good. And to think, I figured that one out all on my own. Hopefully that little nugget of discovery will keep me from repeating the same mistakes for the rest of my life!

On a lighter side, I have learned about ladybug infestations, dealing with household mice, coping without water the day before Thanksgiving dinner, removing a tick (MAJOR phobia), landscaping, car maintenance/repair, and the best way to get dog vomit out of a rug. It is amazing what you can convince yourself to do when there is no one else around to help you do it!

So I guess you could say all in all, it was quite a productive year since the big move. My original goal was to get through the year post move/divorce without complete financial ruin or a complete breakdown (mostly kidding!) and I can now sit back and say I have done that and so much more.

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