Pemberley, Tara, the farmhouse in Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome To Temptation, countless lovingly restored Victorians in countless novels, the Weasley family’s Burrow … I love houses. My path in life was meant to include a beautiful old house on an acre or so of woodsy land where I would put down roots and live out all my days.
Or so I thought.
The Ex and I moved eleven times in our twenty-two year relationship. Some were the annual post-college schlep from one rental to another, but there were also cross-state and cross-country moves. The closest I came to the dream was a one-hundred-year-old, fixer-upper farmhouse in semi-rural New England. That house—underneath its loud floral wallpaper and bright blue woodwork—was lovely with its high ceilings and huge windows and honest-to-goodness barn with a hayloft. One area or another was always torn-up as we worked our way through a remodel we’d never finish. Job changes necessitated another move and our marriage had already been dealt two deathblows; I didn’t yet recognize them as mortal wounds, convinced, as always, we could Work Through It if we tried hard enough.
About five minutes into my Post-Divorce Happiness Project, I realized happiness is way too lofty a goal for the newly divorced. Or, in my case, the not-quite-divorced. A more realistic goal for us is contentment, happiness’s quieter cousin. Now I call this my Post-Divorce Happiness Contentment Project. And I’ve learned a few things in the first week:
“I am at home with the me. I am rooted in the me who is on this adventure.”
—Dr. Oatman, Grosse Pointe Blank
Unlike the image At Home With The Me may conjure, this series of posts will not be about me hanging out at home in my oldest sweats with a pint of Häagen Dazs in one hand, Sauvignon Blanc in the other, and all the episodes of Frasier queued up on my DVR. This is a series of posts about being okay with who you are.
Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project was my inspiration for this blog so I’m kicking off my Life After Divorce by creating my own happiness project. Basically, I’ll create twelve months of resolutions that more or less follow the pattern in Gretchen’s book. If you’re interested in doing your own happiness project, you can find some great online resources here, including a chart to track your progress.
Welcome to the Interim Time. Welcome to the club you never wanted to join. O’Donohue’s poem perfectly captures the middle space of divorce, when your old life is over but your new life hasn’t begun and you live in an awful limbo.