Blog life · budgeting · health & wellness · lifestyle · mental health

What a difference a Year makes

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“Women are like tea bags, you never know how strong they are until they’re in hot water”

For the past year, the same song has been on loop in my head.  Not the whole song, just the chorus, and not all day, just in the first quiet moments of the morning.  The song is Ooh Child, by The Five Stairsteps.  “Ooh Child, things are going to get easier.  Ooh, Child, things will be brighter.”  God, The Universe, whatever you call it, speaks to me in song sometimes.  The significance of this chorus isn’t lost on me.  This year has had its moments of serious suck, but it was going to get better.

One year ago today I experienced the worst day of my life thus far.  Worse than being diagnosed with cancer, worse than the multiple breast cancer surgeries, worse even than chemotherapy.  I was forced to face the fact that my husband was a liar and a thief.  I came home and told him to leave and started the process of divorce.  He left that day and we haven’t been alone in the same room since.

I remember in those first few weeks, after all the busy was over of moving, filing divorce papers, setting myself up on a budget, creating a home for me and my daughter, I longed for the first year to be over.  If I could have fast forwarded time to the first anniversary, when the heartache wouldn’t be so gut-wrenching and I didn’t wake up every day feeling like I was stuck in a nightmare, I would have hit that FF button in a second.  Of course, life doesn’t work that way, we have to feel it.  We have to mourn and get angry, be a little self destructive and lash out, then cry and cry, and cry.  It was unavoidable.

Now here I am, suddenly at that most coveted of days – the year mark of the end of my 20 year marriage.  As is usually the case, I’m grateful I had to go through the past year.  It was necessary for me to strip away the years and layers of denial I had built up.  It wasn’t pretty sometimes, I relied on my best friends, a great counselor and my family for support, but I’m grateful for every day, even the ugly ones.

I made it, guys!  We made it!  365 days after laying the hammer down I am such a changed person.  I’m strong, self sufficient, financially better than I ever was during my marriage, I’m better organized and at peace for the first time in a long time and confident about my future.  I set out starting this blog, to learn about myself, to learn what I like and don’t like, without the input of another individual.  I’ve realized I can do whatever I want, or not do whatever I want.  I am not as scared of change or intimidated by adventure as I was a year ago.

Living with my ex husband was like balancing on a surf board, on top of a teeter-totter, while wearing roller skates.  The other shoe was always just about to drop.  We were always one bill, one paycheck, one late rent payment away from financial ruin.  Today, 365 days later, I consistently pay my rent early, my bills are always paid on time and my credit score is pretty darn good.

It all comes down to one of my favorite sayings, Women are like tea bags, you never know how strong they are until they’re in hot water.  Isn’t that the truth?  We think we need that partner, the plus one, the other half to make us complete, but what I’ve learned over the past year is that I am complete just as I am.  I make myself happy.  I am finally in love with myself and no one else.  I love my life as a single divorced woman – and I never in a million years thought I’d feel that way.  I look around my apartment, at my life and smile.  I have wonderful friends and a beautiful family that all surround me with love and joy.

The song lyrics were right.  Ooh child, things got easier.  Ooh child, things are brighter.  It got better, my heart healed and life just keeps getting sweeter.

And this is only the beginning.

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