“Think of all the FREE TIME you’ll have,” my well-meaning friends assured me when I confessed that I was devastated by moving out of my home.
Free time, I mused (while probably pooping). What a novel concept. Those two words fit together in my brain about as well as “Tom Greene” and “thong bikini.” While I’d heard about this “free time,” in the same way I’d heard about “anal sex” and “fun,” neither made any sense. Sure, I couldn’t recall the last time I’d been able to take a pee without the company of at least two humans and several cats vying for my attention and/or lap. Bathroom time was Happy Hour in my house and while it was somewhat awkward when there were guests afoot (who really wants to have to listen to someone else pee while a small child yells, “MOMMY FARTED?”)(Answer: not most people)(I assume), I’d grown so accustomed to it that whenever I stayed in a hotel, I needed some drab talk radio on to actually take care of business.
(what, me neurotic?)
So the nebulous concept of this “free time” didn’t really sink in as something someone would actually strive for.
And for months following my departure from Casa de la Sausage and my arrival at the FBI Surveillance Van, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Certainly, I had scads of time with which I could watch Mad Men reruns and fantasize about wrestling Don Draper in a vat of lime Jello, but it didn’t feel particularly… freeing. Instead (cue violins) it felt quite lonesome.
Starting over after a divorce – much like using the microwave – it seemed, was not, no matter how simple it looked on television, an easy process. In fact, I’d happily have shoved a porcupine up my snatch rather than start over.
Slowly, though, things, as they always do, began to change. I found a job. Then another. Then another still. Work kept me occupied and reminded me that while I may have felt like a steaming pile of dog vom, I had skills and I had the ability to take care of myself – two things I’d forgotten I possessed.
I began to reform old friendships and sought new ones. The times in which I was neither working nor taking care of crotch parasites began to fill. The formerly nebulous concept of “free time” became time in which I was able to do as I pleased with whomever I pleased – no one needed to know where I was or what I was doing at any given time.
My apartment, which had, in months prior, felt so empty without the giggles of my children, began to fill with laughter and love. I found myself laughing and smiling without the aid of a stunt double. My heart, once defeated, filled slowly with light.
Life, I finally was able to say (without fingers crossed behind my back), was going to be okay – no, it was better than okay. My life was finally becoming something I’d be proud to live.
And I am.
One year after my world fell apart, I’m still standing. The life I’d been so terrified to leave behind pales in comparison to the vibrant days I now live. Getting from there to here was, at many points, something I’d never thought I’d be able to do. So many days in between I didn’t believe worth breathing – dark, dark days, followed by even darker nights.
But now, today, my days and nights, they’re filled with laughter and love.
And my heart, well, it soars.