Today has been affectionately dubbed “D-Day” by my family and friends (or “Independence Day” by my friend Sarah). One year ago today my divorce became final. One year ago today I became a single parent (though admittedly, with a fairly actively involved co-parent). One year ago today I became single.
The past year has been a roller coaster, and I’ve tried to handle it with as much strength and grace as I could. It’s been painful, but it’s also been enlightening. I can’t say I’m glad it happened, because I loved my husband and was happy in my marriage. I was devoted to making it work. I can say, however, that today I am also happy in my divorce. I am fine. In fact, I think I am better than fine. Most days, I feel I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this life. I am happy with who and where I am, and I am grateful for the innumerable blessings that surround me.
To celebrate that, I’ve comprised a list of 100 Perks of My Divorce. (I probably could also come up with 100 downsides to this whole scene, but I’m choosing not to roll that way.) So here, in no particular order, are 100 reasons how and why my divorce has been a positive change in my life over the past year:
1. Spur-of-the-moment weekend getaways.
3. An abundance of “me” time.
4. Not having to answer to anyone.
5. First kisses.
7. Spiritual exploration and growth.
9. LONG bubble baths, guilt-free.
11. Always being able to watch what I want to watch on TV.
12. Rediscovering the importance of my girlfriends and how much I truly enjoy their company.
13. Finding in the blogosphere a community of brilliant and hilarious women out there writing about the aspects of life I find most interesting and reveling in the connections.
14. Cancun, baby!
16. Fabulous dinner parties with entire groups of new people (thanks, Charles–when’s the next one?).
18. Going to more concerts (U2, Elvis Costello, KISS, Robert Earl Keen, The English Beat, Kelly Willis, Bon Jovi, Bruce Robison, etc.) in the past year than I went to during my entire marriage.
19. Realizing the truth of “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
20. Having time to read for pleasure.
21. Discovering the depths of my strength.
22. Getting to sleep in every other weekend.
23. Meeting new people and making new friends.
24. Realizing that I was exhausted in my marriage, and recognizing that I am no longer weary.
25. Day-long dates.
26. Returning to work in a way that still allows me to be a hands-on mom.
28. Having more sister time.
29. Never listening to snoring while I’m trying to sleep.
30. Being able to go see first-run movies in the theater … without having to get a babysitter.
31. Never having someone else drink the last cup of coffee in the pot.
32. Having time to miss my kids so that I am always overjoyed to see them.
33. Spending time with someone who hasn’t already heard all of my stories.
34. Spending time with someone whose stories I haven’t already heard.
35. Dating in the age of texting (SO much easier!).
36. Losing weight (nothing like the Divorce Diet to lose those last 10 pounds, even if they came back eventually).
37. Guilt-free flirting.
38. Not having to run anyone’s errands but my own.
39. Living without The Ex’s ever-present cynicism.
40. Finding out who my true friends are, and moving on from the ones who aren’t.
41. Girls’ nights.
42. Girls’ weekends.
43. Still having plenty of room in the bed and getting a good night’s sleep even when little ones crawl in with me.
44. Eating family dinner early enough to get the kids bathed, calmed and bedded at a decent hour.
45. Summer trips to Nova Scotia.
46. Getting to keep all of “our” friends.
47. Being able to eat salads every night for dinner if I want.
48. Realizing that revenge is beneath me.
49. Finding, and appreciating, balance.
50. Always controlling the remote.
51. Not having to pretend to be interested in watching sports.
52. Along those lines, not having to feign support for the hoodlums also known as the FSU Seminoles.
53. Doing laundry for 4, rather than 5.
54. Smaller grocery bills.
55. Not having to cook a full-on grown-up meal each night.
56. Going to bed as early, or staying up as late, as I want to.
57. Not needing to justify my daily activities to anyone (when I was married and a SAHM, there was always the feeling that at day’s end, I needed to confirm that I’d been busy each day).
58. Justifying having more regular child-care.
59. Doubling my closet space.
60. Finding the perfect excuse to clean out every closet and drawer and get rid of a lot of old memories.
61. Not having to argue with anyone about how money gets spent.
62. Never being aggravated because I’m doing chores and The Ex is sitting on his ass drinking a beer and reading a book.
63. Knowing the Truth and no longer living a lie.
64. Seeing The Ex’s true colors—better now than later.
65. Being granted a “Do-Over” with my life at age 38.
66. Realizing that being single isn’t something to fear.
67. Rediscovering the joy and satisfaction of writing.
68. Never reaching for leftovers in the fridge for dinner and realizing that someone else ate them for a midnight snack.
69. Never having someone else drink the last Diet Coke.
70. Not having anyone squeeze the toothpaste tube from the middle.
71. Feeling the fabulous stomach butterflies when you discovery chemistry with a new someone.
72. Knowing that I haven’t done anything to lose the respect of my children.
73. Being able to be a shoulder to lean on for other friends going through divorces after mine.
74. Being the one to provide the stable, unchanging home for my children.
75. Eating sushi as often as I want (The Ex wasn’t a fan).
76. Socializing somewhere other than my own living room sofa.
78. Learning that the lows never last, because everything changes.
79. Ceasing to be embarrassed by saying, “I’m divorced.”
81. Facing things about myself that I need to improve or do differently in my next relationship.
82. Realizing that all I really need in order to be content in life is for my children to be happy and healthy.
83. Being able to realize and admit all the things I didn’t like about The Ex, and being happy not to have to deal with them anymore.
84. Realizing that no way, no how, under any circumstances, no matter how hard I tried to justify it, would I ever be able to have an affair with a married man (it’s good to know your limits).
85. Finding my babysitter Morgan, who is truly a loving and positive educational and moral influence on my children.
86. Being able to enjoy indulgences—massages, pedicures, facials, etc.—without having to justify the time and expense to anyone but myself.
87. Becoming a homeowner … BY MYSELF.
88. Family vacations with my family, without worrying about whether The Ex is enjoying himself.
89. Getting to hear, repeatedly, that The Ex is an idiot.
90. Going to Austin for Willie Nelson’s 4th of July picnic and maybe/mostlikely/veryprobably scoring backstage passes to hang with The Man himself.
91. Getting bangs (the requisite haircut necessitated by a bad breakup).
92. Justifying new clothes shopping (married mommy wardrobe does NOT work for single mommy).
94. Doing things, whether it be writing, exercising, traveling, exploring, etc. solely FOR ME.
95. Never again having to spend time with certain in-laws.
96. Being a recipient of parents’ generosity, and not having to share.
97. When they are with me, getting to be the sole recipient of my children’s love and attention and desire for closeness.
98. Realizing that I need other people, and being ok with that, and coming to terms with the fact that I cannot (and don’t really want to) do this life alone.
99. Treating myself to a blingy Divorce Ring (more on that to come) and putting my former engagement ring to good use.
100. ME, living life my way, on my terms, as fully as I possibly can, taking nothing for granted.
Without my divorce, I wouldn’t have had any of these things, and they’re all good things. Important things. Things of substance (well, mostly). I am grateful for where I am now and for who surrounds me. Life is good. Different, for sure, but just as good as it was before. It’s been a helluva journey from June 30th last year to June 30th this year and I’m looking forward to seeing what the coming year’s ride brings.