They say you can’t go back. That you can not recreate the joys and happiness of your past that you remember so fondly. While I agree to a certain extent, I also think that the benefit of having a past is that you can pick and choose what you want to take into your future.
These last two years have been well documented on ADayinMotherhood.com. In fact, the last five years of my life have been documented. From the obvious signs of a very bad marriage in my early posts to the ugly divorce to the resurrection of my heart and soul from the fires of disappointment, you have seen it all. You have stood by me and for that, I am grateful. Now I am planning my future. I am learning that to do that, sometimes I have to relive my past.
Many of my loyal readers saw it all coming and held my virtual hand through it all. What you did not see was what was going on before in my life. My past… that thing that we all remember so fondly while forgetting the struggle.
I don’t know if it is human nature or not, but while going through the last 10 years of an unfulfilled relationship, I have often looked to my past and wondered why I was in such a hurry to get out of it. Sure, there was hurt and pain and what I thought were good decisions gone bad, but there was also an emphasis on taking care of me. Of course, it was also just me, a career, money only I spent and friendships I loved and cherished.
Ten years ago I was single – and hating dating as I do now, I won’t lie – but I was a stockbroker climbing the ladder to the middle, an avid tennis player who was improving weekly, a crossword fanatic that stayed up too late doing that instead of balancing my budget, and a savvy woman saving money, buying my first house and generally doing what I wanted. I got up in the morning, put on make up, got dressed in my size 6 clothes, and walked out of the door looking amazing. I see photos from then and I want that to be now.
But now comes with some significant changes… the most significant and amazing being my three beautiful daughters. With them came the larger waistline, the budget challenges, and the giving up of the game I loved so much. With them came a new life that left no room for the old one that I choose to only remember the good about. With them came the desire to make their lives better every single moment of every day.
I kicked my ex out of the house for them. Chose to be a single mom for their benefit. Decided that it was better for me to go it alone rather that deal with his infidelity and lies. Struggled minute by minute to rebuild what I thought was lost but was just hiding and waiting for me to be strong enough to find it.
Now that I have life back on track for them, it is time to get it running more smoothly for me.
But how do I start? How do I build a future when the last 10 years have been all about sacrificing every part of me for a person who appreciated none of it and tried to destroy my ability to believe in myself?
I relive my past.
Not all of it, obviously. I don’t want some old boyfriends back, I don’t want the corporate stress and lifestyle back and I don’t want to move back to the first house I bought that is now in an undesirable neighborhood. But the taking care of me, the importance of my wants and the desire to show my girls that you can be a mom and a woman at the same time are important now. So I sat down a few months ago and wrote down what I truly miss about who I was before. Before I turned my life over to someone who treated it so callously.
The main thing I missed was tennis. He never played. I beat him once and that was it. He did nothing but degrade my playing after that. To the point that the joy was gone. Well, now he is gone and I want that joy back. So, now that my kids are in school during the day, I can hit the courts. So I made some calls, bought tennis skirts that were twice the size as the past ones and have thrown myself into fitting in the sport I love any chance I get. It has been life affirming, changing and amazing!
Not only that, it has ignited my girls interest in the sport. I see the four of us knocking tennis balls around our entire lives!
The other thing I have done is to bring crossword puzzles back into the house. He hated when I would stay up doing them late into the night. So I stopped – to appease him. I think a lot of us give things up to make the other person happy. I bought a ton and now do them nightly again. I feel so good about myself when I complete one and love the challenge they present over the mindless games I played before.
For now, that is all the past I want coming back to me. It is what I loved about my past and what I always saw in my future but gave up readily for peace in a marriage of turmoil. It is what I miss about being me and being good at something besides folding the perfect shirt.
In marriage, good or bad, we all accommodate and concede to make it work. Not everyone gives up everything as I did, though, to someone who did not deserve it. By going back before him and remembering who I was sans his opinion and influence, I can start to plan my future and make it about me and my girls. Which is what it should have been all along.