My life didn’t turn out the way I planned.
Life rarely does.
But I didn’t expect it to go quite so pear-shaped as it did two years ago, when my partner walked out on our 23-year relationship.
I was in deep denial about how untenable our marriage had become.
My ex was miserable and tired of papering over the cracks.
I was miserable, but still clutching the wallpaper glue …
I gave up my job – a month before he left – to be a full-time mum and focus on my family.
We’d just inherited a little money. I thought we could take the kids overseas on an extended holiday before the eldest started high school.
I wanted to move back to Newcastle so we could live a more relaxed life, be closer to our families.
Life there would have been so much easier and cheaper. We could have owned our own home, close to beautiful beaches.
But it was too late.
Instead, I became a single mother, stuck in Sydney so the kids could be close to both their parents.
I got a job, sold the family home and moved into a dodgy rental.
I cried for months – in the shower, in bed, on the couch – about the shitty hand life had dealt me.
I spammed my ex with articles I found on Huffington Post Divorce that insisted he’d made a terrible mistake, would rue the day he left me and come crawling back.
He’s living happily ever after with SSF. They’ve bought an apartment together. Later this year she’ll move in with my kids.
Occasionally, the youngest will mention that SSF took her out for cake or she’ll gripe about having to share a bed with her sister on holidays because SSF will be sharing Dad’s bed.
Each time SSF’s name is mentioned it bothers me a little bit less because I’ve moved on a little more.
Do I wish it was anyone but her spending time with my kids? Yes.
Do I wish she wasn’t moving in with my kids? Oh yes!
Do I wish life didn’t feel so unrelentingly hard sometimes? YES!!!
Do I want that old life back? No.
It was broken. It couldn’t be fixed.
I had more money, but less fun.
I’d resigned myself to expecting less and convinced myself I didn’t deserve more.
I was wrong.
I got a job.
I bought a house – it was basic and on a busy road, but it was mine.
I started dating.
I often wonder what my life would be like if I’d chosen to focus on my anger instead.
Life has its challenges – it threw me a couple of curve balls last week that thwacked me in the head – but many rewards.
I have two great kids, a house with a warm vibe, a lovely boyfriend, brilliant friends.
My ex screwed up at being a husband, but he’s a great dad and co-parent.
I like that we can go to school functions together, support the kids and chat amiably. We can even go to dinner together as a family.
The alternative would be a lesser life for me, for him, for the kids.
I could make his life sooooooo difficult and find a thousand ways to justify it.
But why would anyone choose THAT when there’s another way?
Sure, it rankles that my children spend time with his partner, but that’s the reality of life after separation.
Around one in three first marriages end in divorce. ONE in THREE!
It’s a sharp, awful reminder that my situation is far from unique.
I’ve had to suck a few lemons and pretend they’re sweet for the sake of my kids, but it’s been worth it to see them so happy and well adjusted.
And it’s helped me heal.
You can decide “Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone” or believe “It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sunshiny day.”
I choose the later.
Song of the day: Jimmy Cliff “I can see clearly now”