Life's meanderings, wonderings, inspiration...sending it out to the great "marketplace of ideas."
Following the Path of Dinosaurs, now in paperback! Check it out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/savedfromextinction
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Reflections on Being Single…and the Importance of a Clean Plate
Minges Pumpkin Festival with Pete
I am all about full disclosure and so I will
say again, what I have said before, in my first book, in my life…to anyone who
will listen. I suffer from the painful affliction of being
human. Imperfect, sometimes a hot mess, sometimes a train wreck…and
every once in a while, a great big side of awesome!
I find life lessons to be the best way to
learn and since we are all in this together, I like to share what I learn (or
sometimes fail to notice and learn later). I am writing my blog and
thinking about my life, reflecting on changes over time and what it feels like
to be single now as opposed to a much younger self.
You might think that writing about being
single is synonymous with dating. It’s not and this is in no way
intended to be advice. I’m not dating, nor would I consider myself
an expert or role model to follow in any aspect of dating…my first instinct has
been to avoid, avoid, avoid…well, with little exception, that’s been my first
instinct for the first year living single after having lived as part of a married
couple for about a decade and a half.
And I’m only half joking in my assessment…because
I am a glass half full kind of gal, and I tend to lean towards Mary Poppins
(when I’m not stuck on the tracks with another train
coming). But hey, it’s only the first year.
This isn’t the level of sharing I imagined in
my blog, but we’ve moved from 2015 to 2016 since I first talked about my
"Civilized, 21st Century Divorce."
And I did promise to share a “to be
continued.” It’s just that my “to be continued” has not moved along
as quickly as expected, and life has smacked me down a time or two, and well…to
be honest, aside from extracting a spouse from the mix, I’m living pretty much
the same way I did before…except…well except for everything.
It’s an odd thing to try to explain. I
feel completely different and yet completely the same. Pre-divorce,
I had the same aspirations and dreams as I have now. And if I didn’t
look closely, I could leave it at that. But those aspirations and
dreams were different through the lens of my previous life. I’ve
spent the past several months trying to pinpoint what feels so different.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a new level of anxiety…a little
fear of the unknown. But not for the reasons you might think. Because
regardless of my marital status, I have always been able to take care of myself
and land on my feet in any situation.
No, this level of anxiety has more to do with
a parting of the clouds and a clear blue sky I’m seeing
overhead. I’m overwhelmed by the unlimited opportunities and choices
I now have in re-determining how I go after my dreams and goals.
My past has left me with the impression of a
rainy day. Those kind of days when we are met by a sunless sky,
covered in grey, and we feel like taking a nap, feeling a slight chill of
agitation…or just a general sense or intuition that we are somehow off
And now, back on my own, the sky still clouds
over on bad days.Increasingly, though, I
am seeing sunny skies peeking through, with more good days than bad. I
know now that the future is what I decide and what I choose to make of
I’ve lived this reflection of being single
more than once in my lifetime. And like I said before, I suffer from
the same affliction we all share…the state of being human. For me,
being human is giving myself a little slack now and then, looking back and
checking the distance traveled…instead of fretting about how much more ground I
need to cover.
When I look back on my first reflection…as a
twenty-something single mom, I remember a different level of fear and
anxiety…for different reasons. I was afraid of being
alone. I didn’t feel whole by myself. I found myself in a
constant struggle to forge a new life, while waiting for my life to feel
complete. And in looking at my reflection now, once again a single
mom, there is way more than my age that stares back differently in my
reflection in comparison to my younger self.
I try to learn and consider what changes in
life and what is a constant…and how to avoid remaining stagnate and unchanging,
without completely losing myself in the process. I think I’m on the
right path now. Because the younger me was surrounded by friends,
marking time until the right person came along. The more seasoned
version of me sees things completely in reverse. Remember, I said I
am not a dating expert. So don’t take what I say as a formula for
success. But the way I see it now, in contrast to my former
marriage, in my life today…there is more right than wrong. I have learned
that living your life the way it is in the here and now is way better than
living it like you’re waiting for something better…and that you are the best
person to keep company with. You are the only person, who knows what
makes you happy.
I used to think that life required a little
dash of romance to be interesting and exciting…to be worth
living. My former reflection has taught me this is a false
truth. Over time, I learned that everything in life can be
interesting and exciting.I believe you have
to live life big and wide open, and without apology.
If happiness were a recipe we could all follow
and get the same results every single time, that excitement and uncertainty
would quickly become yet another routine household chore. I have
learned that every time you go in the kitchen and choose to get closer to the
flame, the recipe never turns out the same. It depends on what you
put into it, how long you give it to simmer, and whether or not you want to add
an extra placemat on your table in life.
Said differently, I believe that you begin
with a full plate…all things that make you uniquely you and the people and
places, which make up your life. And even at its fullest, the time
to introduce that extra seasoning or spice largely depends on your appetite for
living. Are you ready to go back for second helpings? Do
you need to moves things around on your plate to make room for
more? Do you want to make room at all? All great and
valid questions…and all questions we all answer individually.
But my biggest learning of all is that
regardless of where you find yourself seated at the table of life, you needn’t
add a plus 1 to feel complete. And when you are ready to add some
company, chew slowly between meals, let your food settle, and clean your plate
before you start cooking anything else.