I read a story yesterday that both struck a chord and made me recoil slightly.
It was by a bloke called Adam Gilad and it was called I Didn’t Have A Mid-Life Crisis After Divorce. I Had A ‘Mid-Life Awakening.’
It struck a chord because I related to that moment he felt reborn, when realised he could do whatever he liked without worrying about his partner any more.
Both our epiphanies involved food – his was in the produce aisle of a supermarket, mine was in the smallgoods section.
He literally couldn’t remember what he liked to eat.
I rekindled my love affair with pork.
My ex was almost pathological in his hatred of pork products. It had something to do with the Jews and Muslims agreeing on something, the exact details are hazy.
I will never forget him literally dancing with rage after being served a “lomo” sandwich in a roadhouse in Spain and discovering it was pork. (It had been a looooong, hard day.)
The kids and I ate A LOT of pork products after my ex left. Mine were consumed with an eff-you passion.
I also loved the freedom of no longer being judged on my parenting, not having to juggle our wildly opposed sleep habits (me early to bed and early to rise, him the opposite) and not longer fretting that my job and life choices made me a less worthy human being.
It was such a relief not to live in fear of making him angry or disappointing him. All the stifled resentment about the double standards in our relationship melted away too.
I felt almost giddy at times.
Adam writes: “You are now free. Rather than endlessly wonder about whether your ex still likes you or not, or approves of you, it’s freeing to embrace a new life — fresh. Sure, it may be painful and scary at first, but new doors will open. You are entering a new kind of freedom and a period of self-discovery you would never have achieved otherwise.”
And he’s right. That feeling is so, so awesome.
I high-five him on the concept of embracing a period of self-discovery, learning and growing.
But his article didn’t really capture how much is lost in gaining that freedom … that gaping maw in your soul that threatens to swallow you up. Especially when there are kids involved.
It was very hard to give up on a 23-year relationship.
I still have my moments where I wonder how we could have let it all crumble.
But each day I become more assured that a phoenix has risen from the ashes.
I am stronger, wiser and happier for having embraced my new life.
Would I change anything if I could?
Geez that’s a confronting question.
I wish my kids could have their family back together, but I can’t imagine anything worse that being trapped in that claustrophobic web of marital pain.
I’ve discovered so many surprising things about myself and my needs in the past few years.
And I’ve found so much joy.
I’m sticking with my mid-life awakening.
It’s an absolute corker.
Song of the day: David Bowie “Changes”