When I drove away from my old place in Long Beach, I was crying. I loved that house. I loved being right by the beach, right by the shopping street. I loved being able to walk everywhere – to the store, to restaurants, to fun activities, to the beach. I remember movies by the beach, running by the ocean in the morning, seeing Catalina Island from my kitchen window while washing dishes, picking up a Starbucks before work, and walking to the playground with Christopher. Lots of memories with Christopher were made here. Holidays were fun in this neighborhood, everyone got so into Halloween and Christmas with decorating and I just love it! When we had originally found this house, I knew I’d want to stay forever. I absolutely loved the house, the neighborhood, and the person I moved there with. Driving away from it all was a bittersweet moment.
Not just the driving away was sad, though. The driving to was just as scary. I found a place in Yorba Linda in an apartment community. Going back from house to apartment wasn’t that big of a deal. I am still in a wonderful neighborhood and have quite the spacious apartment. And I really don’t mind apartment living and having pool and gym right here for free.
For the first time, I am all on my own
I’ve really never lived on my own, though. The only time I was in an apartment by myself was right out of high school when I started college. And that only lasted for two months and my parents paid for it. Then I got married and moved in with my husband, who supported the family financially. After my divorce, I moved in with a room mate, and then with my boyfriend. And now, at 31 years old, is the first time I am on my own two legs, responsible for everything in my life, and in an apartment alone.
After all that’s happened the last few years, I am quite proud of myself. I recently got a promotion at my work, I now live on my own, I am able to sustain myself and my son without the support of my ex-husband or my parents. And I finally got an iPhone. (Yes, I had to throw that in!) And while I am proud of it all, I am also scared about it. I sat down for weeks, going over details in my budget to make absolutely sure I wouldn’t overspend on rent, I could afford utilities, and gas to work. How close to work could I afford rent? Would saving money from using less gas compensate for a higher rent? This situation makes me realize how unstable life is, how quickly things can go south and how fragile we really are. What if I lost my job? What would I do? Where would I go? These things haunt me as I realize how much I am depended on myself.
I was deadly afraid to be alone
While these fundamental things make me worry, I was really much more afraid of something entirely different: Being alone. Since I had never really been on my own, that was a scary, scary move to make. I had to, there was no getting around it. But I really would have rather avoided it.
Coming home to an empty house every night was the scariest thought ever. Who would I talk to? What if I really needed someone to cry to? What if I got scared at night because of a strange sound? Should I buy a gun? Was I really going to cook for myself every night? Would I ever eat anything other than spaghetti and canned soup ever again? What if the garbage disposal got clogged? And most importantly: What if there was a big spider on the wall?!?! Sounds silly, but hey: These are REAL problems! Remember the white girl problems I was so upset about recently? Well. Here they are again!
But it all happened differently
So the move came and went and I’ve been in my apartment for 2 weeks now. As of the day I am writing this post, I’ve been here for two weeks exactly. To my surprise, it wasn’t scary at all to start coming home to an empty house. I am not feeling lonely. I don’t even feel alone. I’ve been so busy with life, I haven’t had the time to feel alone! When I finally do come home, I am actually relieved that I can just be alone. I still miss my old house and the beach, but I don’t miss the living situation.
Boxes are still not unpacked? Oh well. I forgive myself.
There is no one I have to answer to. Boxes are still not unpacked? Oh well. I forgive myself. I don’t have to listen to the constant sound of TV if I don’t want to. I don’t have to put my dishes away if I don’t want to. I can strip and run around naked! I don’t, but I could if I wanted to! I can arrange my furniture and decorations exactly the way I want. It smells like my food choices, like my deodorant, and like the candles I like.
Living on my own has turned out to be the biggest relieve ever. I did not see it coming that I’d actually be happy about it. It’s relieved so much emotional stress I was under, that I didn’t even realize I was exposed to. I literally feel freed, like a big huge burden was lifted.
And I realize that this is what should have happened right after I got divorced.
Instead of feeling alone, it feels like I have peace. I have the quiet time to think, to reflect, and to just have it quiet, that I should have had a long time ago. Being forced to have alone time makes me realize all the things I need to think through, and it’s not a stressful process. I have time to do that now. To sort things out. To become happy with myself on my own. And I do believe it now: Being by myself really will make me that balanced person I need to be to move forward in a healthy way.
But I’m not supposed to be alone
“I am a mom,” I would think to myself, “I want to be a wife. I am SUPPOSED to have a family around me. I am not supposed to be alone.” And while that is true, it is also true that I am divorced, and this in what divorce brings: Being alone. I have only myself to thank for that. But I consider divorce as part of the effects of my immaturity to manage life on my own. So now is the time to learn that. I truly believe that there is a reason for everything. There is a reason I am going through this fire, and I will come out refined and stronger than ever. And I can already feel it happening.
I will find love again. I will get remarried. And I will have more children. I am young. It’ll happen. This is not forever. This situation is placed upon me so I can get ready to make my next marriage and family really good. So that I will not mess it up again.
Instead of being scared of the situation I am in, I recognize it as a necessary (and good) learning and strengthening process.
God put me in this place to make me strong, not to punish.
And I do not feel punished at all. I do feel strengthened, stronger than ever, and self-reliant (while knowing that I am only self-reliant by relying on the Lord). I am in this situation for a reason, and I am learning from it. I am not negative about it anymore. I am, in fact, happy about it. It just shows me once again that I should trust in the Lord and on his timing with everything. There is no need to fret, because everything that happens, happens for a good reason. And all you have to do is let it happen and learn from it.
Finding ways to deal
I listen to more music now. When it gets too quiet, I turn on my favorite music. And I have a playlist for every mood. Mood management through music is my strength. And I skype. I have to say that online dating has not found me love (and I will not hold my breath… I should start blogging about THAT for everyone’s amusement!), but it has indeed made me friends around the world. When I don’t feel like being alone at night, or just having quiet time, I skype with those friends. I have found other women who are exactly in my situation, and that helps a lot. In the mornings, I can skype with my mom. Since I have an iPhone now, Face Time comes in quite handy to chat with Christopher throughout the day. Truly, in this digital age, no one needs to be alone anymore.
And I killed my very first spider on the wall. All by myself.