Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The new normal.

It happened just yesterday. In the midst of a completely busy day, busy week, busy summer, I S.T.O.P.E.D. and looked around at my life for the last few months. I was amazed at how dramatically different it was from a year ago.

A year ago my husband and I were in the midst of try to decided if we were going to stay together or separate. It was a very, very, very painful time in my life. I recall feeling guilty because it was summer vacation and I had done NOTHING with the kids but tell them to watch TV. I could not, did not, nor could I conceive of doing anything but getting out of bed and taking a shower. (Although I did work during that time period, not sure how...) I muddled through daily rituals with my children, not finding enjoyment in anything. By September I could not take it any longer and called my doctor requesting an increase in the dose of my anti-depressant, which was of course provided, and kicked in just as we were making the separation decision.

Following the separation decision I so desperately want my life to be back to normal. I wanted a new husband, I wanted a new marriage, I wanted to be the family I had been before, but would never be again. It seemed so strange after 11 years of marriage to be and feel single...

I wanted to know I was loved and attractive to men. I did stupid things, I knew I was doing stupid things, I did not care. I knew someday I would care. Fortunately for all the stupid things I did nothing was life altering....and sure enough I began to care again, then wanted to beat myself over the head for the stupid things I did....., but I learned from the stupid things.

Slowly as summer changed to fall, fall to winter, and winter to spring, my relationship with my husband began changing. At first it was very painful for both of us to be apart. Yet painful to see each other. We did not have a lot of contact. Then the angry phase came. I knew it would, it had to, it could not be avoided. I yelled at him, I let him know I did not appreciate him screwing up my perfect life, I told him it was unfair. To his credit he just agreed with me, and told me I had every right to be angry, and he let me be angry. His letting me be angry allowed me to move past the angry phase, into a healing compassionate phase.

We began to communicate again. We began to talk like we have always been able too. We began to be honest, in a way we had not done in a LONG time. At first we thought we might be able to mend our marriage, but it quickly became clear we still wanted different things, and neither he nor I could give the other person what he/she needed. The marriage was over, the friendship was not. We emotionally relied on each other more than we had in years, and in many ways the last few months have significantly improved our relationship. Yet we began living very mixed yet independent lives. We had times when we were together and spent time with the children, we had times when we were apart, interacting with new individuals of our own choice.

Slowly I got used to his new place in my life, and became at peace with his new place in my life. I also realized I enjoyed having some of my own freedom. Days and nights in the house alone, or alone with the kids were enjoyable. The choices were suddenly all mine. Activity choices were mine, decorating choices were mine, menu choices were mine, and all sorts of other choices were mine, all mine..... And his choices were his, NOT mine. I did not have to feel guilty for his choices, because he had to live with the consequences, NOT me.

That is not to say there is not the occasional times of sadness at being alone. Wondering what it would be like to have a partner who wanted to cozy up to me. Wondering will I always be alone? Am I ok with that? It is a dark place I try not to let my mind wonder too frequently, because it leads to questions without answers.....

But just this week as I looked around, looked at my children, looked at my life, looked at the craziness, I realized I defined the "new normal" and I am happy with it, its a good place for now, until the winds of change remind me that more "new normals" are waiting for me.....