Friday 6 September 2013

Catching up on one year of life – Part 1: The Split-Up

Goodness me, THAT was an intense year! It is often said that time flies faster the older we get; oh how much would I love to get the time back from when I was a kid and waiting through those loooong, long weeks until Christmas, or all the time that I have wasted in front of the telly watching soaps in the middle of the day, when I was a student. Now things were so busy that I have not been blogging since March – that is almost half a year.

Well, time was only one reason to take a rain check for a while: The things that bothered me most were hitting too close to home and this is not helping to write fluffy lifestyle columns.

I always was fascinated by the idea of a Bucket List and this last year has taught me that it is one thing to tackle the things I chose myself, but that it is quite another to deal with the things that life at times will add. I am glad about my previous deliberate challenges, I don't think I would have coped the way I did without already being in this 'head on' frame of mind.

The first big challenge was to resolve a marriage of 28 years. I guess the relationship had a shelf life and it just slowly expired. We had achieved everything that we wanted to achieve and all of a sudden there was a bit of a void, which we both wanted to fill differently. It needs a while to realise that something is not quite right, and then it needs a lot of guts to actually do something about it. I learnt that resolving a long relationship is more about loss of status, what the neighbours and friends might think, to not worry family and close friends too much, financial stability, and all sorts of other stuff which I tend to call external, as they don’t have anything to do with what was going on between my husband and me.

In the eyes of the world we had the perfect marriage, were a perfect team and a perfect match. I could see the fear in the eyes of other couples: If we wouldn’t make it… how would they ever…

And that was my status: I was the perfect housewife, the hostess, the carer. That was my thing, the role of my life – and all of a sudden there was… Nothing!

I needed a couple of years to come to terms with the fact that our marriage was closing to an end, and after I had learnt to cut out all the external factors it became easier to move on. When we eventually split in October 2012 all the grieving and detaching and finding a new position in live had already been done and it was a relief to do the final step.

The one bitter fruit that persisted was loss of financial security, and again: From previous experience I learnt that procrastination is the biggest killer of joy and happiness… if it is looming, do something about it! My husband was incredibly generous and still fully supported me, so that I was in the quite lucky position to keep the house, but …

… did I want to stay dependent on other people,  e.g. husband, potential new woman… ? Short term a wonderful and effortless thought of not worrying about money; Long term this thought was unbearable. So I cut the strings. I felt depressed by the thought that I might never see my Tangkahan family again, that I might not have any contingency for illness or the comfortable things in life that we take for granted like cars and washing machines.

Scary! But my guts told me to find my independence, so I started work full time in February and by April it became clear that I would not be able to maintain the house. The house that I had loved so much; all my efforts had gone into building it into a home. Yet again it I needed to find the right point of view: What I wanted to keep was the ‘home’ and after I had realised that all that was left over was a house, it was easy to sell. Within four month it was gone and I had moved into a smaller one. Well, and as I was on it: Why not move to where I wanted to be? Closer to my new biker friends, back into a more rural area and away from work. That way I ended up in the small town of Stowmarket.

… and I love my little house. During the one month I am living here it has become a home and I can hardly remember the old one.

Life did well, to fiddle with my bucket list!

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