Thursday, February 27, 2014

Do over

One of the things I do at night when I wake up in the middle of the night is play "what if?" in my head.  What if I had gone to Michigan instead of Virginia?  What if I had decided to become a doctor instead of a lawyer?  What if I hadn't gone to Costa Rica and met J?  I try to create a different trajectory and imagine where I would be now.

Or last night, I went out with a group of my sorority sisters (there are 6 of us in the Denver/Boulder area who were all ZTAs at UVa at the same time), and we were talking about birthdays and the weirdness of being in our mid-40s now.  When I was in my 20s or even my 30s, mid-40s was ANCIENT.  But suddenly it's here. And we talked about how amazing it would be to be able to relive certain sections of your life over and over again, in order to experience all of the different things we'd love to be able to do and experience.  For me, I'd love to redo the ages of 25 to 35 - I could travel, different professions, learn different sports, have relationships with different people, whatever.  A series of fresh starts and do-overs.

One friend pointed out that I'm kind of getting a do-over myself.  Because I'm going to be single again.  I can date again.  Which is both exciting and terrifying to think about.

I have no idea if I even want to get married again.  I don't really think I do.  As my dad recently reminded me, I have long thought that my ideal romantic relationship would be with someone who lives around the corner, so we can hang out when we feel like it, but then have our own spaces to go back to.  I'm not a fan of too much togetherness.

And I've definitely learned some lessons that I will carry forward.  Primarily, that the notion of opposites attracting is horseshit.  Or maybe, they'll attract, but not be the basis for a sustainable relationship.  This time around, I will seek out someone who is more like me.  Someone with a similar background, or similar education, or similar interests.  Not total similarities - that would be boring - but at least some common frames of reference.

It would be nice to experience the flush of romance again.  I'm not ready to give up on that aspect of being a human being just yet.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

An additional bonus: apparently I don't look like total crap anymore!

I was nervous about writing yesterday's post, but I'm so glad I did.  I've always felt like I had amazing friends, but really, y'all are so wonderful.  I've received such an out-pouring of messages, offers to talk, reassurances from people who have been through a similar situation.  I tend to be very solitary and focused in my approach to problem-solving, but it is so helpful to hear from others who have been in the same boat, or from friends who just want to let me know that they love me.

Plus the emotional weight that was lifted over the past week, and particularly yesterday, had some physical manifestations as well.  A couple of people at work have told me how much "better" I've been looking yesterday and today.  "No really, you look SO much better," one kept telling me.  "You look good again."

Which... thanks?

But, kidding aside, I get it.  I don't think I even realize how weighted down I've been, emotionally, and I don't doubt that it showed in my face and my posture and everything else.

And as one well-wisher noted, better to start fresh while I still have my looks, right?  Or at least some semblance of them?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The one with the announcement

Much of the reason that I have been blogging so sporadically for, like, ever, is that I didn't feel I could write about the thing that was really occupying my mind.  So I would write about the kids (who are also on my mind), or funny stories or whatever, but not so much the day-to-day, "what's in my head" type of stuff.

But in the decision that J and I have made to separate, a huge weight has been lifted off of me.  I have been mentally living two lives -- the life I was in, and the life I dreamed of.  The life in which I wasn't stuck in an unhappy marriage.  It's been exhausting, and has resulted in me feeling like I was existing in a weird emotional or psychological fog.

But a little over a week ago, J and I talked and agreed that we should go our separate ways.

It's hard to deal with, even though it's what we want.  It's sad.  I have spent much of the past 10 days feeling weepy.  But we're settling in, emotionally, and ready for the next steps.

The next steps don't actually involve much change yet.  We're sorting out some financial stuff, so we're going to wait a little while before we physically separate.  In the meantime, J will study for and take his licensing exam, and, we're hoping, get a better (and better paying) job.  Once that happens, and the financial issues are worked out, he'll get a place in the neighborhood so that we can split time with the kids without having to travel far.

It may seem weird, but the current situation is pretty much how we've been living for a long time anyway -- we're friends/roommates who raise children together.  We're much better that way than as husband and wife.  The truth is, we get along fine and there's no hostility or animosity, and we're excellent parents to our two wonderful children.  But we have almost nothing (other than the kids) in common.  We approach life differently, we don't have similar interests, and there is no fire anymore.  Perhaps I was spoiled by the example that my parents set (and continue to set), but what we have is not a marriage, and hasn't been for a long time.  We both deserve better.

I want to reiterate that I love J.  He is a wonderful guy.  He is funny and fun to hang out with and friendly.  He's an amazing dad.  He will always be a part of my family.  But we will both be happier if we are no longer married to each other.

We are determined to be kind and fair to each other, and to focus on the kids.  They don't know yet, and there's no reason for them to know until the actual physical separation occurs -- it will only confuse them.  But once that happens, we will do everything in our power to make the transition for them as smooth as possible.  There will be no fighting or anger.  Just a new living arrangement.  We will continue to do things together with the kids.

The few people we have told so far have all reacted with concern, and with questions.  So I'll try to reassure everyone again.  J and I are both fine.  We're sad that it didn't work out, but we're OK.  We're committed to making this the friendliest, easiest break-up ever.  It's still early, but I don't see any reason why we can't accomplish that goal.  Fighting was never a problem for us, anyway.  We will continue to live as a family for the time being, which is working.  And then we will have a different living arrangement, and be a different kind of family.

Everything will be all right.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Seeing the future in the past.

I've slept like total crap the last couple of nights.  Last night I woke up at 1:15 in the morning and didn't really get back to a fitful dozing until about 5:30.

None of my tricks worked.  I tried thinking of names in alphabetical order (Albert, Benjamin, Charles, etc.), and counting backwards in multiples, because I read that falling asleep is actually easier when your brain is mildly engaged.  But I can count backwards in multiples of 3 too easily and too quickly, so then I started from 1000 and counted backwards by subtracting 9, then 8, then 7, on down through 2.  I think that was actually a little bit too complicated and prevented sleep more than it helped, plus I got down to 0 and still wasn't sleepy, so I simplified by starting again, counting backwards by 7.

I slept a little bit, but it wasn't restful sleep - lots of doze-y dreams when you feel like you're still awake.  I had a shitty headache and a bad stomach when I woke up.  Being overtired always makes me slightly nauseated.  So I decided to stay home from work and try to get some sleep and feel better.  It's a cold, snowy day - perfect for resting and chilling out.

I started watching the movie Enough Said, because I've been wanting to see it for a long time, and it was on pay-per-view.  I love Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and I love James Gandolfini, and the movie was really well-reviewed.  It's about these two divorced people who find love with each other, and bond over the fact that they both have daughters that are going far away to college soon.  There's a scene when Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her ex-husband are taking their daughter to the airport to say goodbye to her, and JLD is crying.

It made me think of Josie.

Right now Josie is all four-year-old cuteness and lisp-y pronunciations and snuggles.  Her current state is so present in my mind.  I don't ever imagine her as a teenager or as an adult -- she fills up my brain so much as she is right now, it usually doesn't occur to me. And she is going through such a mama-love stage.  She constantly hugs me and kisses me and folds her crazy long legs into my lap so I can read to her.  She and I will snuggle in bed, and she will rub her hand on my cheek, like she just wants to be sure of me.

I know this is going to sound weird, but sometimes I forget that she looks to me, and loves me, the way I love my own mother.  Which is to say, with such enormity that it can be overwhelming.  I talk to my mother almost every day, and on days when I don't or can't because she's traveling overseas or something, I instinctively reach for the phone 5 times a day before remembering I'll have to wait.  She is the one I want to tell everything to, and share everything with.  Hers is the advice and approval I seek out more than anyone else's.  Or the one that I want to just shoot the shit with, because she's fun to talk to.

When I think about the fact that I am that person for my own children, the sense of responsibility I feel scares me sometimes.  And it makes me love them all the more.

Watching the movie, I saw in my head the similar scene that I had with my own mother when I went to college at UVa and had to say goodbye to her, when she and my dad were still living in India.  I sobbed when she left, and missed her so desperately (and back then, there was no Skype or Vonage or cheap international calling plans, or even email -- we wrote snail-mail letters, and when I talked to my parents on the phone, it was a crackly connection and it cost me a fortune, so the huge distance felt HUGE).  And I started to cry thinking about it, knowing that I would be in that situation again, only on the other side, saying goodbye to my baby girl as she goes out to start her grown-up life.

There is still a long time before that will happen.  And of course I want my children to grow up and go out on their own and be independent.  But thinking about it makes me feel old and sad.

I need to get some sleep.