Happily Never After…And That's Okay;)
When I was 17, I remember Christmas shopping for my first real boyfriend. For months I had listened intently to everything he had mentioned even remotely liking. I ran from store to store purchasing each item certain if I didn't buy it immediately, it would be sold out or they would no longer have his size. Some of the things, well, in my opinion, were downright ugly, but I knew he really liked them and I wanted to make him happy.
During one shopping excursion, as I carefully listened for more last minute ideas while my boyfriend and I wandered aimlessly around the mall, I spotted a piece of art and I immediately fell in love. It was an abstract picture of a man giving a woman flowers that would go perfectly over my bed.
My boyfriend catching my excitement asked, "Which one? The purple one or the black and red one?"
"The black and red one," I replied, marveling at it.
A week later I received a call from my boyfriend. "Hey, I'm at that store. Which picture did you like?"
"The black and red one of the guy giving the girl flowers. The abstract," I replied excitedly.
"Okay," he said hanging up.
A few minutes later my phone rang again. "You're sure it was the black and red one?" he asked.
"Yes," I said with certainty, "I'm positive."
"Okay, I just wanted to make sure," he said hanging up again.
"Hello?" I said.
"Hi, it's me again. I'm here and the girls at the store all really like the purple one of just the girl's face. Are you sure you don't want that one?"
"No," I said, thinking this present was more trouble than it was worth. "I like the black and red one. I don't like the purple one."
The phone rang again.
"What?!?" I asked with frustration as I answered the phone.
"It's just that the girls really like the purple one…"
"Then date them and buy it for them," I instructed angrily. "I don't. I like the black and red one. Just forget it. Don't buy it."
Christmas morning, I opened up my picture. It was the black and red one.
"Thank you," I said.
He smiled, "I still can't believe you didn't like the purple one better."
Needless to say, that relationship didn't work out. Fast forward ten years. My husband-to-be was a huge fan of the Giuseppe Armani statues. Armani, although beautiful, was a bit Old World and detailed for my taste. I preferred the more contemporary, sleeker statues of Austin. For a wedding gift, I bought my husband a beautiful Armani. For his wedding gift to me, he bought me an Armani.
Over the years, this trend would continue in one way or another. Being an artist, I had always wanted to work with oils. You can achieve richer vibrancy of color with oils than you can with acrylics. My husband, although not a painter, never liked oil paintings feeling they had a messier look. When I asked for art supplies for Christmas, I received brushes, canvases and acrylics. Then most recently, before we separated I had told him I wanted a Chi for my upcoming birthday. Once I managed to get it through his head that it was a hair straightening device, not a Chia pet, he told me that was a stupid gift and to pick something else.
I have been divorced now for five months. Whenever someone asks if I'm dating and I reply, "No, I'm single," I get the look. You know the one: head cocked to the side, the look of Awww, poor thing in the eyes followed by a pat on the arm and the ever comforting, "You'll meet someone. When the time is right and you're ready, you'll meet someone." The words are said out of kindness in an attempt to be reassuring, although sometimes I am not certain whom they are meant to reassure: me or them.
People don't like the idea of a person being alone. It makes them uncomfortable to think about someone eating alone, spending nights alone and not having the security of another person being there. It is difficult for society to comprehend the possibility that maybe someone would choose to be alone.
I used to think that too. After all, marriage provided love, security and the ability to know that someone loved you for who you were. Or at least that is the general concept.
Now, at the ripe old age of thirty-five, I have a very different opinion. Marriage doesn't guarantee security or unconditional love and support and as, I have discovered, there are a lot of advantages to being single. For instance, I have never been a picky eater, so instead of going through the trouble of cooking two dinners, I often just made what I knew my husband would eat. The same would go for choosing restaurants. Now, I am free to eat Mexican or sushi every night of the week, at whatever time I choose or just curl up with a bowl of cereal if I'm not in the mood to cook at all.
My house is always clean. No dishes with dried up food found around the house. No dirty clothes left wherever they may have fallen. No resentment about chores left undone or not getting help bringing in the groceries.
My schedule is completely up to me. If I feel the creative urge to paint or write, I can, whether it is 1pm or 3am without worrying that my partner is feeling neglected, that I am holding us up from doing something or because I am too tired from staying up late. I can watch the same movie twice in a row. I have always loved to travel but there were places I had always wanted to go that my ex-husband had no interest in visiting so we chose other spots that were mutually desirable. Now, I can go to those places without feeling like I'm making him do something he won't enjoy. I also have the ability to pick up and go on a moment's notice. I have a friend that opens language schools around the world. Last week he asked me if I wanted to come visit him in Guatemala-free rent, free food, just pay for airfare. I had never thought about visiting Guatemala before and when I was married, this is something I could never have even considered doing. But now, why not?
And while the ability to do what I want to do and not having to answer to someone else is a great appeal to the single life, I have discovered something even more priceless. I like me. I like the person that I am and I feel that person deserves to be happy. For the first time in my life, I am making myself a priority and I have to tell you, it's kind of nice.
So for all of you out there that are worried about me or look at me with pity or like I have just admitted to being an alcoholic or drug addict because I have fessed up to being single, try looking at it this way: I am involved in a relationship with a thirty-five year old hot blond that knows exactly what I like, takes care of me, makes me laugh, has a great group of friends, loves me for who I am, but still encourages me to achieve my dreams and even spoils me on occasion. Will I get ever get married again? Who knows? Maybe I will. Maybe I won't. Maybe I'll never date again or maybe I'll take a lover in each new country I visit. But there is one thing I know for sure; if I ever do date again, that person will have to treat me as well as I treat myself. Otherwise, why should I bother? I like this new adventure I am on and the endless possibilities that lie ahead of me.
Now if you'll excuse me, I want to get back to that hot blond that I've been neglecting. Turns out…she is pretty cool;)
The New Busy is not the too busy. Combine all your e-mail accounts with Hotmail. Get busy.