I don’t mean content. I don’t mean not frustrated. I mean happy.
I like timelines. They’re a solid metric of how our lives have moved forward or remained stagnant. As I was having my morning coffee, I did some math on my past.
I started dating my second husband 27 months after divorcing my first husband. I jumped into that relationship. I wasn’t happy being single. I had forgotten how to do it. Instead of figuring out how to be happy as a single person, I assigned the job of creating my happiness to someone else. I ended up firing that guy and went back to square one.
When I got divorced a second time, adjusting to being single in my mid-forties wasn’t easy. Being the divorcee was rarely ever fun even though I knew it should be. This is now the longest period of time that I have been single. I’ve settled in.
It doesn’t mean I’ve given up hope. This isn’t resignation. It’s not a statement of “I’ll just be alone for the rest of my life. It’s fine.” It’s recognizing my own happiness completely outside of any romantic involvement with someone else. This space is vast and it’s beautiful.
For the first time in my life, I’m appreciating where I am in the present without torturing myself over the past or looking toward a future I can’t claim. I am standing on a small patch of land called Now and it’s all mine.
How I got here was a matter of catch or release. Grab ahold of what I needed, let go of what I didn't. The decisions about what fell into which category were trial and error. I made mistakes but, more times than I appreciated, I came out on top.
I found strength in other women. I’ve not always done this. I can admit now that some of that has to do with jealousy. I’d see women around me with loving, wonderful boyfriends or husbands and wonder why I didn’t deserve the same thing. It doesn’t work that way.
When I pulled my head out of my ass for ten minutes, I looked around and saw that I was surrounded not by a myriad of women who had something I didn’t have, but by women who had something to teach me about myself.
They have loaned me books, supported me, encouraged my own growth, shared wine and conversation. They helped lead me to this square of land and told me to just wait. Give it a minute. Enjoy it. It was easier said than done until I did it.
My happiness here is my choice. I know this sounds overly simple and there are many people who can’t get there. Depression is real. Despair is easily felt and loneliness even more so.
What’s stronger than these things is resolve. Painstaking, difficult, hard to come by resolve you have to work at.
I had to tell myself, over and over again, that I had every right to be happy and that I needed to exercise that right.
Singlehood is no punishment. There’s no shame in it and it doesn't require us to live without love and care. We are all worthy of love and we need to be open to it to recognize it.
Love comes in many forms and it’s all around me. Sure, it’s not the romantic love that makes me dinner or lets me put my cold feet on them. I have long lamented how it’s been years since a man has brought or sent me flowers. But you know who has? My friends. Many times. How can I possibly ignore the good in order to focus solely on the bad? I chose not to recognize it as valid. It was a disservice to those that love me.
I finally had to get comfortable in my own skin. I’ve faked this. I’ve tried to will myself to this point but you can’t force it. It just takes time. It takes owning your shit and accepting yourself as you are. Beyond that, and even more important, it takes celebrating yourself as you are.
Not every evolution involves a metamorphosis.
I focused far too long on the parts of me that people made me think were too much or not enough. I’m weird. I do silly things like cross-stitch gangsta rap lyrics while watching and singing along to all of Les Miserables. I love that about myself. Taking stock in that is so simple and makes me appreciate what I bring to the table for me, not someone else, but for me. I’ve learned to enjoy myself.
I gave up caring about the chase, the neverending pursuit of romantic love. I still date here and there. Yes, there is some male interest. I’ve had two hiking dates with a man but something has shifted. My energy is not centered around if he’s going to stick around or trying to get him to whether he’s a worthy partner or not. It’s focused on enjoying someone’s company and not caring where it goes. The future is outside of Now.
What I have here is detachment without bitterness, resentment or sabotage. There may be more for me out there but there’s also a gravitational pull in Now. I don’t need to leave this space to go seek out what may or may not exist.
This is a wide-open space where what serves me best is welcome. The more I grow my space, the more I can bring in. That understanding came out of a happiness I created all on my own, of which I can be proud.
TL;DR: The short answer? Time. It took 30 long months. Months that seemed like they would never end. Months of questioning everything, including myself. And then came the answers.