I’m not sure of the current statistical number counting single/divorced mid-40s men in the USA. I just know I’m one of them.
During my first year and a half of separation and divorce I was angry. I won’t describe the reasons – just what I was feeling: resentment, rejection, anger, bitterness and relational failure. Let’s just say that “we didn’t see eye to eye” in many things.
Mostly, I was hurt. I felt (and still deeply feel) huge loss of not being in my daughters daily lives. My former wife is a minister and our daughters were growing up in that church that is her employer – I left the church and lost participation in my daughters spiritual home.
The turning point came after reading a book titled “The Co-Parenting Survival Guide”. A chapter there spoke of the addiction to confrontation and it hit home. I realized that I was addicted to years of confrontation and that the addiction was harming my children.
Days later, after intense introspection, I let it all go. It’s been much easier for me to focus forward as a result. Don’t get me wrong – I still feel the loss. But now, when those “triggers” pop up – and they still pop up – I ignore them.
The biggest thing that being divorced has taught me is that I am who I am. Never again will I try to be something I’m not, especially just to stay in or be in relationship. I lost my identity in that marriage – something I should never have allowed to happen.
Now, I’m just forty-five. I’m reasonably in shape and good phsyical/mental health. My attributes of caring for under-privileged, oppressed and down-trodden are stronger than ever. I understand I’ve had an amazing life, blessed by experiencing things not many have been able to experience.
As I look at the future, I’m content to see it singly. By myself. Sure, I want to share experiences with others – what I mean is this – where before I desired to partake of the world in companionship with a woman, nowadays that isn’t important. What’s important to me is being myself, trusting my gut. What’s important is being secure as a person, sharing myself with my daughters as a Dad that is happy and a providor. What’s important is measuring my success by the depth and breadth of my communities and the level of engagement I give to strangers.
My future looks good. While I suffer from hyperactive entrepreneurial disorder (not a bad thing), I’ve got a lot of sally-forthing to do in the second half of life. There’s a fair amount of stuff I shelved in the past decade. All those ideas and attributes have been taken down and dusted off, examined for usefulness and either regained or discarded. I’ve spent the last year repairing and rebuilding me. Perhaps this post is the act of throwing up the garage bay door and rolling out a restored and rebuilt vehicle, ready to hit the road in a big way.
I’m pretty damn excited about the future and what it holds. If you’re reading this, maybe we’ll see each other sometime on a dusty backroad in Central America, under the Big Sky of Montana or in a cafe in Boston.