On my own

WaldenThe past 3 weeks since my husband left me have been a whirlwind of learning, doing, and grieving.  The first thing I learned was how to draft a legal separation agreement to protect my future assets from being subject to California’s Community Property Laws.  The next thing I learned was how to calculate child custody payments and arrangements.  And then I learned how to disentangle 20 years of shared bank accounts and other financial obligations.  And then last night I learned how to buy a car (my spouse got our old car in the property split and I couldn’t continue borrowing friends’ cars).

But more than anything, I am learning how to do things on my own.  That first night sleeping alone was strange, as I contemplated how I would stretch my body into the spaces that usually John filled in our queen-size bed.  Then the feeling of coming into a dark house alone, locking the door behind me because I knew I would be the only person coming in that entire night was a bit eerie–if something happened to me, who would know?  And then there was the recent visit to Trader Joe’s where I wandered the aisles contemplating how to buy food for just one person (it’s harder than it sounds, after feeding a family for so many years).  And then feeling the awkwardness of going to a cafe and asking for a table for “just me.”

I married so young, 21, and never lived alone before that.  I’ve just recently begun traveling alone, so it still feels a bit odd to not have children or spouse tagging along.

Because we’ll be sharing custody of our children, there will be many times that I’m not alone over the next few years, but about 50% of the time I’ll be solo.  It’s not an easy transition, and I’ll confess that I’m more than a bit scared.  But something tells me that I’m going to be okay.

Note: this picture is of me, just before leaping into Walden Pond last September.  Though I went there with friends, I swam alone.  I felt completely alive and free in that moment, which is also how I’m feeling now…


Jana is university administrator and History professor. Her soloblog is http://janaremy.com/pilgrimsteps/

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8 Responses

  1. ECS says:

    You were the only person brave enough to swim in Walden Pond that day. And you swam with incredible strength and beauty and pure joy. I remember wishing I had jumped in with you, even though it was cold and a little windy. Peace and much love to you.

  2. Corktree says:

    This reminds me of a post you wrote a while back with the video about dancing alone. I loved that. I think it’s an important skill to learn, one that gives us the ability to truly know ourselves apart from anything or anyone externally, no matter how connected we are. I hope you continue to find strength in those moments and learn more about yourself that you may not have been able to learn otherwise.

  3. Alisa says:

    I love this post. In my life, I’ve been met with some new challenges that I’m learning to face with more strength. I love the strength you show to meet these challenges, and I love the scerenity of this photo. Someday I’ll join you at Walden Pond.

  4. JtG says:

    Being single and alone is as much a skill as being in a relationship, married, or with family. Hold your head high, be confident (feigned, if necessary) and as the initial awkwardness wares off you’ll likely find you enjoy the freedoms afforded to sole individuals.

  5. Kmillecam says:

    I love the picture. Swimming in Walden Pond sounds positively idyllic. I am further inspired by you bravely telling your story and how you are handling all the changes in your life the last few weeks.

  6. Klio says:

    As a divorcee, I just wanted to chime in and say that you can do this. I wasn’t married as long as you were, but I married young as well. When my ex and I split, I had also never lived independently up to that point. I was terrified. But at the same time, I found strength reserves I didn’t even know I had. Now, I’m a stronger, more independent, happier person.

    I realize that might sound trite right now. Divorce is so painful. What I’m trying to say is, you’re right. You’ll be okay. In fact, you’ll be more than okay. You’ll be magnificent.

  7. Linda says:

    Thank you for sharing your transition with us so candidly and courageously. It’s an honor to have you talk about being alone and at the same time have you connect with us this way. I have every confidence that you will flourish and stand as an example to many including your children – that you are made of Divine stuff.

  8. EmilyCC says:

    The beauty and candor you have shown on this journey inspires me, Jana.

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