At 50, I am definitely not where I thought I would be. I had this picture of how my life was supposed to be, but as we all know life has it’s own sense of humor. She just loves to steer you in a direction that, at the beginning, you might not be so sure of.
After Hurricane Maria I lost my job as a full-time designer, but afterwards the same company hired me back as a freelancer. What seemed as scary before… today is working out great. Yesterday I became a member of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce and what an experience it was. As I look at my membership certificate in awe of how great it feels to be an entrepreneur; I remember how scared I was at the beginning of this new venture. Luckily more clients are coming in and the fear is being replaced with excitement. I have been waking up and going to sleep thinking about projects (and talking to myself a lot about them which has my children very confused ). “What a ride” like the surfers say.
So it’s being going pretty exciting and fun professionally, but then…life decided to change courses yet again. This time at a personal level. Today my now ex-husband and I got divorced. In the same courthouse where we said I do; today we said we are done.
Even after all the fights and talks of divorce, I never thought we would be done. As a Netflix fan, I always thought it would be like in the movies: if you try hard enough…love conquers all and we would grow old together and just laugh the hard times off. Well, that works out very nicely in movies (Netflix is full of them) but reality is…well, quite different.
Boy did I try hard to make things work, but in the end I had to accept that it was time for yet another change. Honestly, I miss my ex-husband who used to be my best friend as well, and I wish things worked out differently, but they didn’t. Just like when I felt lost as I lost my job of 20 years…I felt lost again when I realized my marriage of 25 years ended. It wasn’t a walk in the park, mind you, change is brutal and it took a lot of patience, love and support from my family and friends, and lots of chocolate and Netflix. But just like before; there was really no choice but to move on.
I once heard that packing your spouse’s belongings was one of the hardest and saddest things during a divorce. Let me assure you it’s true. Packing his things was a farewell to a life I was sure would last forever. I had to accept that there was no more our life, no more us, no more we. From today on it’s just me. I cried buckets, ate ridiculous amounts of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (and of course more chocolate), but slowly I have started to enjoy the new routine…the peace… just being me again. As I look around, my children are enjoying this change as well and even Mister Taquito, our mischievous sato dog, seems more at peace.
I wish I could say that we remained friends, but that is not the case. It got very ugly at times although not “Drogon on King’s Landing ugly”. But weirdly enough after all that has happened; as I walked out of the courtroom all I felt was peace.
I am thankful to him for our children, for loving and protecting me when he did, for teaching me how to cook (I can proudly say I don’t burn rice anymore), for making me laugh so many times, for introducing me to the wonderful world of kettlebells, for binge watching with me so many geeky series (Game of Thrones of course) and for being there for me when he did. As we both parted ways I wished him health, love and peace while wishing the same for myself.
A while back, my very wise aunt Olga told me: when you get a divorce, it means you believe in love. What? “Divorce is giving up, it’s a failure” I told her. Fast forward a few months and now I fully understand what she was trying to tell me. Divorce doesn’t mean that you don’t believe in love, that you failed or didn’t try hard enough. Like my aunt, now I think it means that you believe in love so much that you are not willing to be in a relationship without it. That you are willing to change directions and let go. That even when you love somebody; if it doesn’t work out you move on. It’s true that not all divorces end up the same; some get Drogon ugly even years afterwards, so I am very thankfull that mine did.
In one of my favorite movies, Under the Tuscan Sun, the main character celebrated her divorce with a beautiful chocolate cake. Her best friend told her “You start a marriage with cake and champagne. Finish it that way too“. Since I get drunk by just smelling alcohol…no champagne for me, but my Mom got me a gorgeous chocolate cake and I celebrated today with my family: Nueva Vida (A New Life).
So, to all the ones that are going thru changes in their lives right now (personal or professional): please embrace and accept them. Trust me, with a lot of patience things will work out and you will feel even better than before. It might get scary at times, but there is no sense on being stuck… you just have to move on.
And now I have an Annual Report to get back to…and enjoy another piece of cake.