I am not afraid of my still-relatively-new freedom. But there are moments where being free takes an adjustment. It’s not the big things – having to purchase a new place, for example – but it’s been the little things that have caught me off guard. But after I get over that, it is amazing.
I still remember the first moment I was alone in my new place. My son had been with me the first week, but then he’d gone to his Dad’s. I had a hankering for a hamburger so I decided to go to one of the few places around the corner. I froze at the bottom of the stairs, about to open the door – because for 15 years there’s always been someone I need to tell. Or think about.
The moment of realization that there was no husband, no child, no dog, NOBODY, was not frightening. It was exhilarating. Of course I also had the realization that if I was murdered whilst getting that burger, it would take a while for anyone to figure it out. But I don’t live in fear.
Off I went to get that burger and I think it was the best one I’d ever had.
Buying a car was also like that. I traded in the station wagon we’d bought when I was pregnant. In our split, I took that car and my ex kept the two awesome convertible 2-seater sports cars. Some things I didn’t want to debate. Anyway, I’m practical. I figured he’d get a different car since who carries around a child and a dog in a 2-seater car that just has a “parcel ledge” in the back. Anyway, that’s a post for another day.
So the day I spontaneously decided to trade in my station wagon and get a beautiful used sedan – the ultimate in impulse purchases, I suppose – I felt funny. It took me a while to realize it’s not because it was a dumb purchase (it was luck and good timing, and I’d been researching for a while), but because I’d never bought a car on my own. As a teen I got hand-me-down cars from my Mom (I commuted 1 hour to school the weeks I lived with her, so a car was required). I still had one of them when I met my ex. When he totalled his car we decided together on the one we would purchase. So this was the first time, at age 40. It was so much fun.
Then this morning, I woke up early (after finally getting a good nights sleep) and went downstairs to make myself a latte. I pulled out a mug that I bought on my trip with my son. It crossed my mind that had I still been with my ex, he would have been annoyed at the purchase. But now I’m sitting in my bed writing this with my latte in my mug feeling quite chuffed.
My ex had a lot of rules. Things had to be a certain way. Some of the things he didn’t like were:
- artsy or funny or any fridge magnet that wasn’t plain
- pottery (or funny) mugs
- family pictures
- art that wasn’t original (no reproduction posters allowed!)
I could go on, but won’t, or I will be late for work. You get the picture. So it’s with glee that my fridge has the magnets on it that were relegated to a storage bin years ago. One has a cat on it and one is a reproduction of a favourite painting, so they break the rules in a few ways. My family pictures are being pulled out of storage bins and a wall is being covered with them. My son likes a print? Of course he can have it in his bedroom.
Freedom is fun.
(BTW the mug image is from Hyperbole and a Half’s online store. I adore her stuff and will probably buy this mug!)