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reality check
Thanks for all of the well wishes, y'all. In the words of other great divas before me "i will survive." Big Ernie timed the whole thing just right where the worst of it hit on my two days off so I was able to rest. Dude is smart like that.

Poor middle aged gals don't spend money on magazine subscriptions, so I was puzzled to see one laying in the mailbox today when I eased up next to it to check for bills. There...with MY name on it...was a copy of AARP The Magazine. When I turned fifty I refused to join AARP because it costs money but when I saw a chance to join free through a drugstore chain, I did so and promptly forgot about it. Now, lying in my mailbox staring back at me, was solid evidence of my status as a "senior". Hoo boy! How in the heck did THAT happen???? I mean gah...I haven't even had my driver's license very long. Umm..well, okay maybe so. But I just graduated from college for God's sake! My whole LIFE is in front of me!!! Duh. Poop happens, and it happens very quickly. Now I can enjoy all the monetary benefits of being old like getting price breaks on hotel rooms and meals if I just 'fess up to being over the hill. I doubt that will happen, but I'll certainly enjoy the read :)

Yesterday while I was browsing the Sunday paper I looked at the book reviews and there was one that caught my eye because, well...it's about my life. Biographer Deirdre Bair's latest is titled Calling It Quits: Late-life Divorce and Starting Over. During the 1980's, researchers noticed a trend that they termed "gray divorce". Among people married less than thirty years, the divorce rate held steady but for those OVER thirty years, they rose by 16% and the trend has continued. Interviews with men, women and adult children of late-life divorcing parents formed the framework of her book. This looks like one I should read, if for no other reason to recognize that there are others out there in the same ship that I am sailing. Other factoids that I gleaned from this article and from Amazon reviews are that two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women, and that the most common reason for a man in a long term marriage to seek divorce is to pursue a "trophy wife."

I was married for twenty three years and have been divorced for five. The reasons that the marriage ended were the usual hodge podge. Money. Work. Stress. (Lack of) Communication. He never abused me, physically...but the emotional distance between us was abusive in and of itself. I wanted something more than what had been, while never easy, always familiar. I wanted a relationship that reflected my value as a person. My relief over escaping the tension of a day to day life on edge kept me floating during the first couple of years I was single.

I had no idea things would be so hard. In my mind, true love was just around the corner waiting to swoop me up and deliver me to the man of my dreams. I went this way and that for awhile chasing leads during the time I wasn't busy feeling guilty over the decision to end the marriage. Money was, and still is, a tremendous problem. The old adage that "two can live as cheaply as one" is true. Dual income households are almost a necessity these days, whether the union is legal or not. Many married folks will tell you that's the only reason they're still together, if they're honest.

The emotional isolation that divorce presents was quite evident during the first few years. Mutual friends tried to remain neutral, and did for the most part. Family members supported me as best they could when I began to stumble and question my actions. Co-workers were always ready and willing to give me a hug when I showed up in tears and tried to be brave on the job while my world was falling apart.

And then, one day, it hit me smack in the face. All that time I was moving away from something that wasn't good for me toward something that might never be. Along the way I have discovered parts of me that I had forgotten existed, like the Med Tech student and the smartass music lover. New character traits have become evident as I have stumbled over and recovered from land mines littering the path to where I am today. I have cried more tears and experienced more rejection than I ever thought possible for one little old country girl with a big heart and good intentions.

So, where exactly am I? Hmm. Content with my life. Lonely sometimes. Proud of my BabyGirl. Worried about my parents. Always on the lookout for rainbows.

And keepin' the faith. ^j^
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