Monday, November 29, 2010

New Beginnings

I find myself oddly at peace right now. If you knew, dear reader, what kind of day I have just endured, you would find that sentence wildly out of place. Usually, my life is a whirling dervish of do this and wash that and pay this and be there and don't forget that. Today was my first day back after a very long holiday away from work - thank you HW for that - and it played out just about as I expected it to.

I came back to a stack of emails too complicated to answer from my iPhone on the road and voice mails that I am ashamed to admit I didn't even check. Many of the questions required brain time and research and tactful language, all of which I find difficult to muster when my instinct is to go go go go go, do do do do do. And yet, I found time to think things through, investigate, and respond diplomatically.  Well, to most of them, barring that one guy I told to take a long walk off a short pier using really, really nice words.

Anyway, by all accounts, things should be crazy for me. But here I sit, with the television off, with LittleG and MrG parked in front of their respective electronic babysitters, while I tap on my keyboard and try to pull all of those words I have floating around in my brain into some sort of coherent little ditty.

And what do these words in my head want to talk about tonight? The implosion of the married world around me.

Everywhere I look, I see women whose marriages have fallen apart.  One fell apart years ago, but for whatever reason, this couple stayed together. Together in a home filled not with love, but apathy, for more years than anyone should have to bear. My friend finally called Time of Death and pulled the sheet up over the carcass of her unhappy union.

Another friend, whose life is so much like my own that I keep checking with MrG to be sure he's happy, saw her marriage self destruct some months ago when her husband abruptly announced he was no longer in love with her, then promptly moved out. 

A blogger that I read and for some reason feel like I know, even though our paths have never crossed, had the rug pulled out from under her when her husband revealed one infidelity, which ultimately led to more stories of infidelity and some deep deep betrayal from someone very close to her.

Another friend who has lived apart from her husband for nearly as long as I have known her finally had him served with divorce papers.  The final chapter in a long sad story.

These women have all had the "till death do us part" taken out of the equation. Suddenly, they are no longer defined as Mrs. Anyone. They are free to come home from work as late as they wish, cook whatever they want for dinner, or make absolutely nothing. They can clean the house, or not. Or watch whatever they want on television. Or go to the gym, or work in the yard, or see movies with their girlfriends. Their lives, once dependent upon the whim of another human, have become their own again.

Of course there is the other side....there's no one there to cut the grass, no one to change the light bulbs, to share life's dreams and goals, to be a partner.  I've got news for you. If you're stepping out on him or he's stepping out on you, that shipped sailed a long time ago.

What's remarkable to me about all of these stories is that these women seem remarkably resilient. Life has handed them warm shit pie, and they've just squirted whipped cream on it and gone about their business. 

My first friend filed for divorce and escaped a loveless marriage. She has found someone new and is happier than I have ever seen her.

My sister from another mister has flourished, no, reveled, in her new life. She's traveling now and totally unencumbered by He Who Shall Not Be Named.  Her children are adjusting, and thankfully, she and HWSNBM are civil enough to co-parent two really great kids.

My blogger friend (can I call her that if I've never technically met her?) is happier than I have ever seen her, and I have been reading her work for years. Many of you know her, because you link in from her blog. I think you would agree that life is much, much happier for her now, and she is almost oozing a sense of optimism, during what should be the darkest time of her life.

My friend with the on-again off-again spouse? Well, I think she's finally moving on, too.

All of these women have put one foot in front of the other and slogged through the muck. And while it's not all bluebirds and butterflies, they are happy more often than not. It is resolve?  Have they just been beaten down so badly by life that they have hung their heads and given up?  I think not. They have found whatever it takes to get through a really, really tough time. And I think beyond a doubt, that once they come through it, they will be stronger, and surer, and happier than ever.

So why would I call this post New Beginnings when all I've really talked about is the end of these marriages? Because my friends aren't looking at this right now as the end. They all see this as the beginning of their new normal, how life is going to be from here on out. The world is theirs now, from the color of the paint on their walls, to vacations they choose, or new loves if life so deems.

And while I have been terribly torn over the demise of these relationships (it's never easy to watch a marriage dissolve), I am truly optimistic for each of my friends that, as Max Ehrmann once wrote, "the universe is no doubt unfolding as it should."

So I am going to be happy today with what I've got. A really hard job and a marriage that, while not always a bouquet of roses, is at least intact. And I will celebrate (if that's even the appropriate thing to do) as my friends jump off and begin their new lives as Ms. Someone.

Go hug your spouse tonight, or your divorce attorney, whatever the case may be.  Oh yeah, MrG?  I love you!

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