Wow it has been a minute since I added anything to this blog. I regret that but let’s try this again.
I’ve been back in California for two years now, and coming back almost didn’t happen. The fear of the unknown is very powerful. Not to mention the mom guilt of taking my 13-year-old daughter (at the time) away from her friends of seven years. (And then there’s California traffic, cost of living, blah blah) Plus, living in routine, no matter how unhappy you are is just a safe, comfortable and familiar thing. You start to believe that this is life, this is where your choices have gotten you, and now you have to live with those choices. The thought of making another choice to change everything seems crazy, ludicrous and downright impossible.
However, in 2016 I got it into my head that maybe…just maybe it was possible to change the direction of my life and find this elusive happiness I’d heard so much about. So, it came down to this: Do I stay in Oregon? Do I stay in an unhappy marriage? Do I continue to go through my days like a robot, purely running on the needs of the day, shut down, and never really feeling anything. At first I thought maybe I was just missing my friends and family, so in 2014 my daughter and I got on an Amtrak train to visit everyone. Upon my return to Oregon I had realized something. I had missed nothing. Not even my husband. The next two years I felt like there was an itch beneath my skin that I couldn’t scratch. I couldn’t live like this anymore.
And yet, I still wavered. Going through the motions and being unhappy was just normal to me. I knew how to exist and function that way. However, that was the problem, wasn’t it? I was only existing. Not living. I should add that by this time I had lost quite a few family members, including my mother. The thought of the end was always at the forefront of my mind. And this ultimately helped me to make this tough and scary decision. I felt if I didn’t change my current life path I would be drowning in regret on my death-bed.
When I spoke to family and friends on the phone they would ask, “What is really the problem?” I would eventually give them the details of everything about my marriage and life in general, but at first I simply said, “I feel like swamp water.” Of course the response was, “Huh?” Simply put I felt stale, stagnant, unmoving, unchanging. I existed in this murky loop that on my worst days made me feel like I might as well have been dead. It felt like I was dying. It felt like my internal organs would start shutting down at any moment. I had nothing to look forward to. Nothing seemed to excite me. I did what I was supposed to do as a Mom and a wife. From my daughter of course I could feel love and joy but one day she was going to venture off into the world and I would still be here in this state and in this marriage.
I approached my husband to have an honest conversation, at first about our issues, and my feelings about living in such an isolated area. His response, “You knew what you were getting into. You knew how I was.” Indeed I did. My bad.
I approached him again later expressing how my unhappiness was no joke. I was not ok. And that my leaving was real and going to happen. His response, “Who’s going to watch the dogs?” That’s what I got from the person I was with for 9 years. Not, “Let’s work on things.” Or anything of that nature. Only an expression of how inconvenient it would be. That cemented for me I was doing the right thing. This part of my life was over. Oddly enough I did feel bad about leaving the four dogs. I did take the one that was the most attached to my daughter, but I still miss the other fur babies. Anywho…………………
My daughter and I came back to California and were taken in by family. The first year and a half was amazing and tough. Full of emotional ups and downs. Many days of crying on the bathroom floor. Followed by laughter and joy just being with my family again. (I might fill in these gaps another time) I immersed myself in online dating, which gave me some interesting stories to tell to say the least, and surprisingly it worked out after weeding through some craziness. To sum it all up for now I had in fact made the right choice. Not just because seven months ago I met the most amazing human in the most unexpected and weirdest way, but because life feels full of possibilites. Not just because I found the most solid and real love I’ve ever known, but because I’ve never looked back.
Now I know they say not to look for happiness in another person, well I’m sorry but I’ve never felt so complete, and whole in my life. And I owe that to this man.
It feels like every decision, and every bad, terrible, and painful thing led me to him. And now it all makes sense. I was earning him. I’ve been paying dues from my childhood on through the age of 39. If he is the prize then absolutely everything was worth it. Now, at the age of 40 I know what love is supposed to feel like. I know what happy feels like. It actually feels a little terrifying but I suppose that might be because I’m not used to it. I’ve been programmed that this emotion isn’t allowed, or is just a fantasy, something for movies and other works of fiction.
My daughter is also happier. At first she was “salty” as she put it. But as it turns out she likes the school she’s in better and has made some great new friends.
For the first time I feel like I’m living a life that just might be on the right path. I’m excited. I’ve traveled. I’ve eaten new foods. I have a renewed sense of purpose. A renewed fire to go after my dreams. I’ve made some important promises to myself: To never fear a life changing decision. To not fear the unknown. To embrace and welcome it. And most importantly, to never ever become swamp water. It’s not fun to be infested with angry, bitter alligators. Nopity nope, I do not want that again.
So, let’s see what happens…