I saw this quote this morning from Word Porn on Facebook and felt it was quite apropos. A year ago this week, I returned home from Costa Rica after my first solo international trip in just under 16 years.
For the better part of the last two decades, I shared my most meaningful international travels with my now ex-husband. In fact, it was a trip to my Paris and London for my 30th birthday and my Grandma’s 80th birthday that helped inspire this blog. Yes, of course, I recognize my good fortune that my Grandma’s birthday falls so very close to mine and she enjoys traveling as much if not more than me.
We wrote a series of emails to family and close friends about our adventures. Some of the titles are tongue and cheek, but we enjoyed writing about our adventures. With some inspiration from my Grandma and Grandpa, we started documenting our future trips for ourselves in Moleskins; however I found my voice on this blog and started to explore what makes me happy.
Back to last year….
In January of last year, I was really clear on what I wanted in bringing closure to the longest and most meaningful relationship of my adult life in a respectful way.
Then the actual end started manifesting. It is not easy to live with each other once you know it is ending. The two weeks between signing the petition to divorce and him actually moving out were beyond difficult.
The day after we signed the final decree a month later, I started a new job. We had the good fortune to be connected with an amazing mediator, which made it possible for us to sign our divorce decree a full month before we could even file the final decree with the court.
If you ever need a mediator to help you navigate a compassionate end in Arizona, I highly recommend Ms. Andi Paus with Arizona Mediation. She was able to help us get from the closing session to be able to make the decisions in terms of how to split our assets.
One of the assets that we split: our frequent flyer miles and hotel points, which is fitting as during the marriage I became notoriously good at using our points to garner us fantastic luxury vacations for a fraction of what they would have cost in money.
It was my goal that post divorce, we would each be able to enjoy a solo getaway to regroup on points and miles. I booked mine to Costa Rica, a place near and dear to my heart as it was a place that my Dad carried in his. While I never got to go there with him, I feel his presence when I am there.
As with the best laid plans, s#%! hits the fan just when we think it is perfect. Starting a full-time in office job with unlimited vacation and amazing benefits with the perfect salary to refinance my house proved to be way more than I could take in the midst of adjusting to life post marriage, including living by myself for the first time in my adult life and this whole big world of dating, and I left my job shortly after starting it with no real game plan for making money other than a healthy dose of faith and gumption.
Whereas I thought I would be embarking on my first solo trip with the fearlessness and bravery that I felt in the initial separation, I instead arrived in Costa Rica and humbled myself by calling my ex-husband in tears as I experienced arriving in a foreign country without any plan and without knowing anyone. Bless him for being compassionate to me in that moment.
I also spent the better part of that trip checking the court website to see if the divorce was final. While it was final during my time away, the court did not update it until I got back.
At first, the small boutique hotel that I chose, El Mangroove, felt too small and intimate and romantic a first to be a place to spend my first solo trip. Yet it was this same intimacy that afforded me the opportunity to meet people that took me under their wings. Couples married for the 2nd time, couples enjoying their honeymoons and an amazing group of woman from Texas and most gratefully their lovely staff
While I cried just about every day that I was in Costa Rica, I was encouraged by a long-time friend to look for just one bright spot every day. This helped so much. Honestly, some days it was the beauty of the sunrise or sunset. Other days it was a yummy meal or a photo of Merlin from home.
Limiting myself to look for just one bright spot rather than looking for all happiness all at once gave me the freedom to experience each day just as it occurred.
There was light at the end of my Costa Rica trip that did not exist in the beginning, however I came back from Costa Rica with 3 distinct options for how to handle my living situation and my unknown income at the time: sell the house, rent the house, or get a roommate.
In my lovely chart of pros and cons, the first two options carried one distinct con: moving. The third option involved inviting someone to move into my house, so I preferred someone known to me or a friend. I also tried posting online, but it just did not feel right.
For the last year I sat with the knowledge that while the house was one of the only things I wanted in the divorce even forsaking some things to which I was entitled, it would be best to fully let go of the dream of what was meant to be here, a life shared with a man I loved and the family we so painfully wanted, to be able to energetically continue to propel myself into the freedoms afforded in this new so called single life.
During the first year after a loss, we experience everything for the first time as though it is new again. When we seek this change (divorce) versus being forced with this change (death), there is a certain responsibility that we may feel.
I experienced several bouts of great sadness over the last year, depression really let’s face it. The last one was the most challenging.
I went into super reflective mode and made some good choices as well as bad ones. It started at the year anniversary of signing the petition and the cloud appears to be lifting at the year anniversary of the official proclamation of divorce, which was final a year ago this week.
In two weeks, it will be the anniversary of becoming my name again.
Time to finish spreading my wings….