It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day…

This morning I woke up to something that I haven’t felt in a long time. I wasn’t sure what time it was and was surprised to find that it was just after 8am. I had gotten to bed at around 1:30 or 2am, after a lot of writing. I was very productive. I woke up to a sense of peace, which is something I haven’t had in a very long time. It was the exact opposite to how I felt on Monday. Mondays are hard, as I have established in the past more than a few times.

This sense of peace was more a matter of the heart. The last four months has been especially difficult, what with the end of a great relationship and the end of an abusive one. The strange thing is that both have occupied similar real estate in my brain. I have been grieving the sudden departure of someone I was romantically involved with, and grieving the loss of a job that I had held for the last 18+ years. Today, I will have been broken up with someone I was quite serious about nearly half as long as we were together. Two nights ago, I was taking it hard. Today, I woke up and felt at peace with it. I don’t know if I am finally letting go or what, but I have learned some things that I wanted to share in the hopes that my experience resonates with anyone reading this.

A couple days ago, I was taking it hard. The grief of the end of a great romance ebbs and flows like any grief. I was missing someone intensely. I visited with a few friends and talked about it. One friend wanted to fix things and the other just listened. The one who wanted to fix things gave me the usual “You’ve got to get back out there! You aren’t pushing yourself to find anyone!” speech. Which didn’t make things any better.

The other friend just listened and because they had been through a similar situation, they told it to me straight. I didn’t need to go out there and find someone else. It felt good to be seen like that. The first friend really just proved what a problem I have had my entire life has been: nobody fucking knows me. I dislike my birthday and Christmas for a big reason: it just proves how nobody gets me or even attempts to make the effort. Ever since I was a kid, this was the case. I have spent nearly 45 years smiling and thanking people for stuff that I don’t even like. It’s not that I’m all that hard to shop for either, but if you talk enough about something you would think that those people closest to you in your life might eventually catch on to what your interests are. The first friend was telling me what they wanted, seen through a lens of how they would have reacted to my situation.

The other friend was sympathetic, knowing me pretty well, and knowing that filling that crack in my heart with someone else wasn’t going to fix anything. So, I guess I should say that I have an elite crew of people who do know me pretty well in some regards. I think that was the hardest thing about this breakup. I had found someone who saw me, someone who accepted me, and really got me. I thought I got her too. I don’t think anyone can possibly understand how rare that has been in my life.

I tend to hold on to people like that, or try to at least. Maybe I need deeper connections, instead of attachments. I thought I had both in this case, and that has been very hard to come to terms with. Combine that with the usual cursory band-aid answer of “There’s plenty of fish in the sea!” and you’ll have a full on riot on your hands.

First of all, there aren’t plenty of fish in the sea. Whoever believes that is an idiot. It’s hard out there. And it gets harder the older you get. It might be the case when you are in your 20s and impressionable and willing to tolerate a bunch of horseshit, but when you are an adult and have actually experienced life, you are less willing to deal with it. This means that your options become significantly limited. Also, the older you get, the less governed by your hormones you become, which further removes a layer of rosey tint from those glasses. In fact, you start looking at some people and wonder how they function in life due to their trainwrecky nature.

Here are my options for dating in my 40s. (These are the normal options too).

  1. Join a club. Full of other people my age, who have joined a club because they have run out of options, either because of themselves or the shit they have experienced. Either way, this club is the Island of Misfit Toys.
  2. Go to a bar. Yes, because all good decisions orbit around the dispersal of alcohol and dim lighting. No thanks.
  3. Join a church. No. I’ve been to church and nowhere will you find a more wretched hive of scum and villany. Church is for people who NEED Jesus. I’m good.
    3a. Plus I don’t need to sit by myself being reminded at the pathetic nature of my own singleness by young people in their 30s who haven’t been divorced yet
    3b. or broken down people who have been utterly destroyed by it.
  4. Get set up by friends. Most of my friends couldn’t pick out a birthday present for me (as I have mentioned above). How do you think they are going to do when it comes to finding someone I would be compatible with…especially given that many of them have even more limited social circles than I do?
  5. Settle. NO.
  6. Online dating. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!! That is the most genuine hysterical laughter of my life! IT’S REAL!
  7. In COVIDworld? Your odds of meeting anyone, much less seeing their face, are exponentially more difficult. Impossible. Plus, I’m just not interested.
  8. I’m not pushing myself, because I miss the person, not the role they played in my life. There’s no replacing that.

But there is another option.

I woke up this morning and this is what I chose: I can’t replace what I have lost. So I’m just going to be fine with it.

I got up. I drove to Ft. Collins. I took a 12 mile bike ride. Then I came home and read. Tonight, I will work on my book. I’m going to live out the rest of my days being grateful for the opportunity I had (even so brief as it was) of being seen for who I am. I’m going to thank God for those moments. I’m going to let those carry me forward.

Honestly, I’m done. I know who I am, and I’m not in the mood to compromise that anymore. I don’t need someone to complete me. I did the chasing thing already and realize how much I hate it. I’m too old to deal with drama, at a point in my life where I’m not going to raise any more kids other than the one who is with me, and I really don’t want to be with someone who does TikTok or talks about summervibes or any of that bullshit. I’m not interested in psychoanalizing a potential partner, worrying if I make enough money to be good enough for them (I don’t), and frankly my odds are entirely shot if I do meet someone and they turn out to be vegan, celiac, a drug addict, into Magic the Gathering, swinging, or have cats.

I rolled the dice. I met someone who was compatible, someone who was as crazy about me as I was them, and it still didn’t work out. I’m thinking the odds of finding “the One” are pretty much Zero.

So, I’m just going to get on with my life. I’m going to write my stories, see places, and yes, I will feel lonely sometimes, but I will do my best to just get over it and enjoy the life I’ve got left.

As for mourning my job, that is a whole other kettle of fish. Mostly because of how toxic it was, and how relieved I am to be done with that place. Fuck those assholes. I hope the earth opens up and swallows the entire place whole.

To the one I loved, and lost, I wish her nothing but happiness and a long life. Thank you for sharing some time with me.

I’m going to spend some time now with the person I’m stuck with for the rest of my life: me. Might as well get to know him while I still can.


The Storm has passed

There are days where the storms roll up on you, the wind howls, and the branches snap from high limbs of trees. The rains come and threaten to wash you away. The noise, the lightning, the chaos. It is maddening. You feel like you might die at any moment. Alone against the storm.

Then the wind subsides. The land is quenched. The distant rumble that you hear is almost comforting.

You look at the devastation left in the wake of the storm and understand that things were bad, but could have been worse. I’m tired of these storms. But what this last one left in its wake was a story of hope. It’s a story that continues to be told.

A story of picking up what is left and moving forward.

I get to pick what was good from every moment of my life. All the lessons. All the happy moments. Nobody can take those away from me. I had forgotten that for a little bit. They exist independently now, in a room in my heart, in an archive of my memories. They are safe and yet always with me. Along with perfect moments, kissing in moonlight, sweet moments with my children, good friends I have met along the way, and houses with solariums and libraries that are yet to be built.

I’m going to get some rest now.

Such a perfect day…

This last week was rough, but I think I’m turning a corner. Yesterday I got some writing done, went on a six mile hike at the Devil’s Backbone, and in spite of being stuck within the same four walls for a couple months, I chewed up those miles with hardly a blister on my foot to show for it. Let’s face it, not many of us have been treating our bodies very well on this lockdown. Too much drinking. Too much sleep. Not enough sleep. Junk food from take out places, or eating a bag of Chips Ahoy! for two out of three meals for a few days. Coffee. Lots and lots of it.

I’m slowly getting healthy again. I’m at the anger phase of grief. And just about done with that horseshit. I’m down to one season of Peaky Blinders. I had an apple for lunch yesterday and felt great! My son came back early today. According to the emails, it was to make up the week he stayed at his mom’s for “quarantine.” I informed her that her math was bad. One day doesn’t equal seven. She of course didn’t like that I pointed that out. Anyway, I picked my son up at 9am today. We started the day off with coffee, then just got settled in. I think he was happy to get away from the chaos. Apparently my seventeen year old daughter flunked the 11th Grade and will need to do summer school to avoid retaking the year. According to my son, his mom “just snapped” and actually spanked her.

I wonder who is going to call CPS on her for that? Oh, that’s right, nobody, because she is the one making the calls. If she can’t even agree that one day doesn’t equal six, and believes this, I’m sure there is a way she is justifying spanking a 200lb almost-adult. Cluster B should be renamed Cluster F. DSMs should be mandatory before all marriages too. Just sayin’. It’s a stupid thought anyway. As awful as spanking a 17 year old sounds, she’s still a minor, and it’s still allowed. It’s pathetic and won’t accomplish anything, but yeah, laying hands on someone when you’ve “lost it” has solved many problems in the past. I guess my kid just reallllly wanted some negative attention. And she got it.

Anyway, that’s their problem. That’s the relationship they have cultivated, and this is why I try to make my home a place of calm and words when we are frustrated. I made my therapist laugh the other day when I said things like this are their “love language.” She said she had often thought about writing a book of dysfunctional love languages for just such a reason.

Today I cleaned the dishwasher. It had gotten full of gunk and wasn’t cleaning the dishes right anymore. That was a few hours worth of work, putting my hand in all sorts of disgusting sludge, and watching YouTube videos on how to do it the best way. It works so much better now.

I went grocery shopping, then I did some laundry. Made dinner (ramen with some broiled steak slices and garlic) and then we went on a walk around campus. My son ran through the sprinklers, his favorite summer pastime, and I got another four miles in today. My legs are screaming. But we did see a pair of great horned owls on the roof of the gym. We startled one out of a tree just a few feet from us. Owls are so cool because you cannot hear their wings when they fly.

It was nice to just see people out on walks, instead of last night’s viewing of idiot college kids at parties playing Beer Pong. Sure, that’s sanitary!

It’s all about the simple things. Taking each day as it comes and not letting things bother you if you can help it. Exercise helps. Hopefully I can get over the insomnia soon. I have much work to do in the next few months. I’m sure if I stopped to think about it enough, I would scare myself silly, thinking about how I’m going to live writing full-time.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Might as well give it my best shot!

(I am trying to be hopeful. Really, I am fucking terrified.)