The low points are uncomfortable, but they make the high points so much more enjoyable.
Almost four years have passed since my ex-husband and I split up. I bring it up because it has been one of the most significant changes in my life. I have cycled through many different realizations and thoughts as I have tried to learn and grow from this experience. I am of the belief that there are no coincidences. Everything happens to help one learn the life lessons they were put on this earth to figure out. I’ve learned to let go, forgive, build compassion and try to live in the moment. It is my path, and I am trying to make the best of it.
Last summer, I read City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. I really enjoyed the story and the author did not disappoint in weaving some life lessons for me. Here’s something I took away from the story. Vivian, the main character remains a single, successful working woman during a time when she was expected to go to Vassar, marry and have kids. Instead she opens a bridal shop (as a talented seamstress) has many “relationships” but learns that marriage is not what she wants. Despite not marrying she discovers that by maintaining her independence, her name and pursuing her passions, life is about the connection, intimacy and vulnerability that humans are meant to have with each other.
Throughout her life she builds beautiful relationships with characters that did not follow the rules of society, yet have fulfilling, interesting, authentic lives. These characters are flawed (like all of us) and make big mistakes.
Frank, a WWII vet with significant trauma states:
“The world ain’t straight. You grow up thinking things are a certain way. You think there are rules...Our rules didn’t mean a thing. The world just happens to you...and people just gotta keep moving through it, best they can.”
Life isn’t straight, smooth or pretty at times. If you would have asked me if I would ever be divorced (in my younger days), I would have vehemently and arrogantly stated “NEVER!” Once I was faced with the challenges of my marriage, I struggled with feelings of failure and not being able to follow society’s expectations of marriage. Vivian reminded me that I can make my own rules and all I really need and want are those authentic, weird, funny connections with the wonderful people in my life.
That’s what matters. Not all of my mistakes but rather what has grown from them.
I was reminded to trust that my path is the right one for me no matter what it looks like to others. I can honestly say that I am growing as a human as a result of my divorce. So many beautiful things have come from this life change.
From the messiness of life comes a beauty that I could never have predicted or foreseen, but will be eternally grateful for.