Misery loves company. Boy does it!
We’ve all heard this; cliches become cliche for a reason. But sometimes misery needs some alone time to shut the fuck up & get over itself.
I’ve wallowed in my fair share, and maybe more, of misery this past year while coping with the less than desirable outcome of a stressful, drawn out divorce process. There were a lot of sad work weekends (and weeks) alone in my big empty house where I did basically nothing other than work and sleep. Maybe I would go for a run… maybe, but every other week the cold, dark days of this past winter were ,for the most part, spent holed up in bed trying to avoid…basically everything.
I was a bad friend and a terrible employee.
If people called I didn’t return their inevitably missed calls citing my crazy work schedule as my excuse when they’d finally catch up with me weeks later. I pushed the window of lateness at work regularly, rushing in (past the annoyed looks of afternoon staff waiting to leave) & heading straight to the time clock to get punched in before I was technically late.
Thursdays were the worst day and then the best day of the week; my kids switched back and forth between their dad’s house and mine each week as I rotated between living and coping, human and robot, while this thing that I never thought would happen became our routine.
I was sad, angry, lonely, and just generally miserable. The weekends without the kids were always the worst. Weekends are supposed to be fun but every other Thursday evening after my kids had left and the usual whirlwind of chaos that is life with kids died down I’d look into the bleakness of weekend with a sense of dread.
And I would wallow in it.
Mentally burrowing into the blankets of loneliness, of sadness and general disappointment in life.
It was during this time that I discovered Divorce Blogs.
Turns out other people were wallowing in misery too.
And they were writing about it.
All that uniquely similar pain was laid out in Blogland. There it was written up in stories that were different in the details but expressing an emotional turmoil that was oh so familiar. Somehow that was comforting. There was an odd solace in finding others who were wallowing in the same brand of misery that I was currently imbibing in. It was like I had stumbled on a sad, secret club full of anonymous members and just belonging, knowing the code word to get in the door, made my state of being more tolerable.
It was kind of great.
I could read and commiserate while maintaining my self-imposed isolation. Here and there I’d read someone else’s pathetic tale of divorce and think Yeah, I know exactly how you feel. Other times it was more along the lines of Psh, you think you’ve got it bad that’s nothing (I mean, seriously, you’re upset because the ex wants to joke and act friendly??? Try dealing with the constant barrage of insults via text and e-mail that I get on a bi-weekly basis….but whatever.).
And of course there is always someone who has it worse too.
At any rate, my misery had found companions and was truly enjoying itself…if such a thing is possible.
But then something happened.
A couple weekends ago, it was a work weekend/weekend without the kids, the old familiar sadness was creeping in. Plus I was struggling to stay asleep and needed a distraction. I tapped the WordPress icon on my phone screen and scrolled to the Divorce Blogs. As I shuffled through and read I realized my usual tactic wasn’t having its usual effect.
I could definitely empathize with these anonymous friends but other than that I felt…fine.
Mildly sad, irritated that I wasn’t sleeping and should be but in general I was okay. Or maybe better than okay.
I was good.
Life, overall, at that point was… good.
It suddenly occurred to me that sometime over the past couple months ,during the business of surviving the end of another school year with the kids, through the process of accomplishing my goal of enjoying summer I was just living again. Even though there were and still are down times and moments of sadness I really wasn’t wallowing anymore. I didn’t need to.
While I was busy living, my life started moving forward. In fact, when I stop to think about it I realize I am living the dream, accomplishing long term goals on a day to day basis.
I own (well, me and the bank) my own home and have finally stayed in one place for more than two years.
I’m in the process of training for a half marathon.
Starting this week I’m a full time student again with a concrete plan in place for a career and one I’m excited about. I’ve gone on vacation this summer (first time in almost six years) and I’m even dating and meeting new people.
Yeah, my life is pretty good.
But here’s the thing about good, it doesn’t exist without bad.
If you don’t have bad times you won’t recognize the good ones. There has to be contrast and perspective to be able to appreciate when life is not bad. It’s easy to get stuck in the Life-is-Bad mentality, to perpetually wallow.
Sometimes one must pause and evaluate the state of things and decide how bad they truly are…or are not.
Sometimes we need to break the habit of being unhappy and look for what it positive in life.
They say it takes more muscles to frown than smile but sometimes to smile does require more effort.
It’s well worth the effort though.
This song reiterates my point…plus it’s fun and I like it.