Gains and losses

I don’t often indulge in regrets. I try to live in the here and now because looking too far backward or forward wastes time and changes little.

Scales of justice
Scales of justice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The further you get from a finalized divorce agreement, the happier you are supposed to be. I am. Happier than I was. Relieved. And yet, still disappointed and a bit melancholy about what I missed.

So here we go. Indulge me in this one.

I missed the chance to grow old with someone I thought I could do that with. The chance to wave, together, from the front porch, as our sons went off to prom and college. The chance to give those sons a vision of a couple unified and still in love—braving all the storms life brings over the years.

I missed the chance to age blissfully unaware of the physical judgments society places on middle-aged women. When married, I rarely had body image issues. I knew this body had been rock solid years ago and that’s the body and soul he’d fallen in love with. While my soul remained rock solid, my body is subject to all the laws of physics I struggled to learn in school. I like them even less now than I did when I was tested on them. Sure, I can still be kind to myself but it’s hard—oh so hard—in a world that judges a middle-aged woman far too much on the lift in her derriere or the shape of her thighs. We all age. I guess before divorce I was aging through a lens of love that encompassed more than my physical attributes. The man who saw me saw a body that had nurtured and given birth to our children.  And he saw so much more than that body.

I missed out on the big anniversaries. The grandkids watching as we renewed our vows. The wedding cake with the cheesy gray-haired people on top of it. Dancing to the same song we danced to on our wedding night—perhaps a slower, less graceful rhumba, but the same rhumba nonetheless.

I missed out on the calm knowing that comes from someone standing strong and tall beside you during life’s worst storms and laughing with you during the upswings.  Someone who knows what you’re going to say before you say it. Someone who looks beyond the fine lines around your eyes and sees only the youth in those baby blues that he fell in love with, but now mixed with a wisdom that makes him love you more.

I’m not naïve. I know plenty of “couples” who have a marriage in name only. Plenty who will miserably stick together out of a sense of responsibility or duty—and who won’t do or feel any of these things. I know I made the right choice.

It’s always bittersweet, I think.

So let’s end on what I gained. My self-respect. Hello, old friend.

Joy, as evidenced by the irrepressible urge to dance in my underwear around the house to my latest favorite song (and yes—I close the blinds).

Quiet times alone when there is no dinner to cook and I ignore the myriad things I “should” be doing in favor of feeding my creative soul. Any creative type will tell you motherhood is the bomb—truly great—but it’s a killer for the creative beast within you. You know, the one that requires an adequate amount of rest, the occasional glass of wine and new experiences for your womanly, grown-up self that have nothing to do with your role as a mommy.

And most importantly, I have regained hope. Because if I can come through the fire, being true to myself, and trust that my Higher Power is in charge—then really, everything just falls into place. I may not see a 50th wedding anniversary, but if I can see a more joyful fifth or tenth, hallelujah.

Let me say that again, for emphasis. HALLELUJAH. Thankful for what is, rather than regretful for what is not.

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17 Comments Add yours

  1. Cindy dadik says:

    I always say its better to have a strong single parent than 2 married destructive parents!! Your sons will benefit from the strong, positive person you’ve become again!! You took the right path and I’m so glad you see that. Hallelujah to you! I want to come visit so we can dance in our underwear together!! ; )

  2. ninasusan says:

    Excellent post! I emailed it to a friend going thru it too!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! I hope it helps your friend to know plenty of people going through similar time and we’re surviving.

  3. andmorefood says:

    stay strong, and good luck! I think you also missed out on missing out on any destructive or upsetting behaviour, which is a good thing – everything you listed at the beginning can still happen, if only with someone different (:

  4. candidkay says:

    TB, you will have to check out my dating posts. I think you’ll laugh:)

  5. Ann McHugh says:

    Oh my goodness I needed this today. It’s hard to see the new future when the old future was so set in our mind and heart. I miss the companionship and the ability to laugh at things only your spouse gets. But those things were gone a lot longer than I choose to believe. Thanks for making me think about the joys in my life.

    1. candidkay says:

      You deserve every one of those joys. I am sure they will only multiply. And you’re not alone out there!

  6. Love your ending statement! Keep positive. I must tell you, I was married for 17 years and (I just realized) I am now divorced for 17! wow! I understand you post! Life truly is good even without those “missed” opportunities of longevity milestones.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! It helps to hear from people much farther down the road than I am–especially the ones who have moved on happily . . .

  7. Susy Walters Hisch says:

    As always…amazing. And I know so many who can relate. You are so strong and your written word brings tears (some of happy, some of melancholy, some of remembrance…all the time. Thank you for always having such great posts.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Susy. Best compliment you can give a writer is that they made you laugh, cry and think:)

  8. Pam says:

    Amen, Sister!

  9. While I totally understand your feeling since I’ve gone through more than one divorce, just because this relationship didn’t work out, doesn’t mean you can’t find someone to grow old with.

    I realize it’s not the same since it won’t be HIS children who are having the grandchildren, etc., but as one who’s been happily re-married for more than 15 years, I say it’s pretty damned close because my husband has made an effort to be a better Dad to my children than my 1st husband ever thought about or could ever be. So, the fact that they’re not blood-related doesn’t really matter to anyone on Father’s Day and Christmas and such.

    And when my 26-year-old, Tim, got married a few years ago, my husband and I were there. My 1st husband/Tim’s father was not. So, the person who is THERE for you in the end is the one that matters!

    Therefore, when you’re ready, go on Match.com or on a blind date set up by a mutual friend and don’t worry so much about your older physique because, unless that blind date or guy you met online is 25, chances are, he won’t have six-pack abs and the same rockin’ bod from 20 years ago either!

    GOOD LUCK with your new life, and I definitely think the joy of being alone and in peach is much better than the misery of staying together out of obligation. I did that for awhile with my 2nd husband, and life’s too short not to be happy, REALLY happy.
    Best,
    TenaciousB

    1. candidkay says:

      What a great reminder. I have begun to casually date again and the online bit is a jungle (see my posts on dating–hopefully you’ll laugh, not cry:) ). But, I have to remember there are more like me out there, just male, right?

      1. YEP! I recently went to my 30th high school reunion, which was really weird, but it was also a lot of fun. And most people had gained weight, some so much I didn’t recognize them, and others who looked just like they did in high school except for a few extra lbs, but everyone was really nice.

        Not one cheerleader or member of the “popular” crowd showed up, and the ones who did last time, all the guys who were such HOT stuff in high school were either fat or bald or both. I’d just lost 30 pounds at the one in ’03, so I was feeling rather proud of myself.

        I’ll check out your posts on dating sometime. I can’t imagine what that’s like these days! And hopefully, I will LAUGH…:)
        Best,
        TB

    2. Casey Vidgen says:

      I stopped using okc a few weeks ago after one too many awkward dates lol. My coworker showed me cliqie.com and I’m a big fan of that over the others in terms of actually meeting people vs. just entertainment. It has a different approach that feels less sketchy cause you and your friends essentially act as “wingmen”. I like that it helps you find things to do too. Skout’s okay too, but still has it’s fair share of creepers

      1. Sounds interesting! And anytime you go out with someone you don’t know very well, they can turn out to be a creep whether you met them online or through a friend! Sounds like an interesting online sight though.
        Best,
        TB

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