At the very least it ticks over. There are things to be done, people to look after. It’s what keeps us going when we could do with sticking our pyjamas on and having a bed-in for at least a week. Preferably with room service.
And it’s not so bad. Tomorrow is another day and I will no doubt be chirpier. One of the downsides of the lack of open discussion about separation and divorce is that you have no idea what it’s really like, or how you are going to feel from one day to the next. Not forever of course, but for a while. And these are very early days.
It’s been a fairly dramatic week: my son has had his first night with his dad, who has only just moved out. At the same time, I have had my first taste of what life will be like with regular days off parenting, which is weird but liberating. I didn’t do anything exciting with this new found freedom but go to the gym, finish a blog, have a bath and early bed. All ordinary things that you take for granted before you become a parent, while afterwards you relish the freedom of movement. Put simply, your life no longer solely belongs to you.
And yes, of course, that is what we signed up for and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Except I have a feeling that I am also going to enjoy that freedom, something I feel a teeny bit guilty about. As a mother, it’s hard to admit that is nice to get regular breaks (not just for work) from him. At first, I was afraid of how I would cope with it; thinking about it upset me. Despite being able to do what I wanted, it did feel strange to be in the flat alone. Sad and happy all at once.
It’s a theme that’s continued all week and I guess it’s inevitable for a while. A big change has taken place for all of us, so things take a while to settle. If you are anything like me (impatient), once you have made this change, you want the new life to happen as soon as possible. Push headlong into it, hoping that you get to skip some of the pain of what is behind you by looking forward.
But it doesn’t work like that. Keep that up and you’ll crash and burn at some point. I know, because I’ve been there before; reality always trumps denial in the end. I’m reading a very helpful book that a friend bought me which is about the stages of getting through separation and beyond. It’s cheesily, but appropriately called Crazy Time, and it’s based on the stories from interviews and research on the subject. The comfort of the book is in recognition of other people’s stories. And there is every possibility that going a bit crazy at this time is exactly what you might do, but it helps to know you are not alone. This is normal, because you are going through a grief process and life will not be easy.
Unless you are super rich, money is likely to be an issue at some level because you will be financially worse off. Depending on the situation, you might have little childcare support. If you are 40 plus, you might look at the flappy bits on your body and wonder if anyone will ever want to look at them again. And even if they did, wonder how you could work up the nerve to show them. You might wonder about your social future with mostly coupled friends.
Even if you’re not afraid of dating, you might be a little bit frightened of the modern methods. I met my husband through internet dating and it was fairly common back then. But things have moved on in a decade. We now have smart phones and apps for everything. Swooshing left or right, deciding yes or no, in an instant, based on an image. Fairly brutal stuff, but lots are doing it. Despite the shallowness of it, there is an honesty there: look at them, do you fancy them, yes or no? Swipe. There are other apps, like ones that search your friend’s Facebook profiles, looking to match you with their friends.
The technology is no doubt sophisticated, and I have benefitted from it in the past, but I now think the internet has killed the romance of finding a date. It fits with our consumer nature now: we categorise ourselves as this, we have a checklist of that. Then we can browse for something to put in our basket, or reject. If we can communicate via devices instead of real life, so much the better. I wonder how the human race ever perpetuated itself before the internet existed? I wonder if we are beginning to forget.
At the moment, this is the scary stuff ahead. Doing anything about it now exists in the crazy time. And in the meantime, life rumbles on, it rearranges itself. The future becomes the new normal.
Until next time,