Have you ever caught yourself in the middle of doing something and wonder how you ended up there at that point in time? I just had a moment like that…I was walking down the street with my Grandmother and suddenly it occurred to me that this isn’t how my life was planned out… this wasn’t where I was supposed to be.
I’m 33 with three kids– I should be married, in a little house with a fence and a big backyard where the dog can run around and the kids can ride their bikes on the sidewalk in front…but no, I’m divorced, single, I live with my Aunt and Uncle , my kids are only here 50 percent of the time and I’m currently unemployed.
But as we walked, talking about nothing with Gram, I realized something– I am the happiest I have been in 12 years.
I got divorced the year that I turned 30. I spent the entirety of my 20’s being “the wife” and I was miserable. We got married at 18 after having only known each other for 6 weeks. I never really gave myself a chance to grow up. We had our children (whom I wouldn’t trade for the world, and I don’t ever regret having) within the first three years of marriage and never really got to know each other as individuals. We never learned how to be adults . I jumped from my parents home into Boot Camp and from there straight into being a wife. I never learned how to live on my own. I never got the chance to find my own way in the world. I went from my parents rules, to the military’s rules to my (now-ex) husbands rules. I never got the chance to really date, to have my own apartment, to learn how to balance my own check-book.
During my 20’s ( my marriage), I gave up my individual beliefs because I thought that’s what you do as a wife. I grew up with my parents sharing the same interests and thought that you just always did what the other person wanted (I never realized their shared interest were really SHARED interests). I took up working with computers as a help-desk technician because that’s what the Ex told me was the best way to make money (I HATE working on some one else’s computer), I stopped listening to certain genres of music because he didn’t think they were any good. I stopped watching shows and movies that I liked. I gave up certain hobbies because he thought they were dorky. I never showed emotion because it was unacceptable to cry, to get angry. I accepted any little thing he told me because he was the man, I was in my 20’s and I didn’t know any better. I was unsure of who I was and who I wanted to be.
Then I turned 30 and somewhere in my brain a switch flipped. I got a nose- ring and became a vegetarian against his wishes, I realized he’d been cheating and left.
Now, I know what makes my heart sing and I now have the courage to seek it out. I don’t feel the need to hide behind what others visions of a wife/woman are anymore, I know who I am and I know that I live to love, laugh, and be with the ones who help me to do so. I think for myself, but am willing to listen, so long as you will listen in return. I know that I don’t always have to be perfect, and I don’t always have to be a saint. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve taken the easy way out. I’ve lied to my friends. I’ve hidden the truth so many times from so many people. I’ve hurt people, and I’ve even done it on purpose. I’ve left people behind. I’ve spread rumors. I’ve said things that I didn’t mean. I’m no better than anyone, anywhere. I’m human. I have faults, and I’m not afraid to admit that.
I want to change, but I won’t ever really, because that’s what we as humans do ; that’s what we’ve always done. We list our faults like a grocery list, and we move on, expecting everything to somehow change itself. It never will. I will never change. I will never be perfect. I will always make mistakes. What matters now is that I know this about myself and that I am comfortable with who I am. I wouldn’t have come to this conclusion, this self-acceptance, this peace– if I had continued on the path that I had been on…if the little house with the large backyard, the dog running around were still in the picture, I’d still be the unsure, unfulfilled, depressed little girl that I was. Thankfully, I have grown up and moved on. I’m not quite where I should be, but I’ll get there.
So, I guess Douglas Adams sums it up best :