It wasn't easy. In a lot of ways it was an uphill battle. In some ways it still is. But now heading uphill doesn't seem so terrible. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm finally cresting the hill.
A lot of people do not agree with the process through which I discovered my happiness. Some people seem to think I am supposed to be miserable until my divorce is finalized. I was apparently supposed to sit around all alone and sulk for at least a full year. I was supposed to sob and cry and feel bad for myself. I should (according to some people) be wallowing in self pity right now as I write this.
People do not seem to understand that LIFE HAPPENS no matter what's going on. My world did not stop turning just because I decided to leave my husband. I was trapped in an unhappy marriage for 7 years. I was unhappy for the better part of a decade. That isn't an exaggeration. That's the truth. And I was unhappy right after I left. I grieved my mistakes and the marriage I wish I had had, but I didn't have. I wished things had turned out differently, but you know what? Things didn't turn out differently.
So one day I stopped feeling bad for myself. I stopped being angry. I let go of the bitterness and I stopped hating myself for leaving. I stopped hating my husband for making me feel like I had to stay as long as I did stay. I just stopped with the negativity. I dried my tears and I stood up and I decided to be happy.
That's right: I DECIDED to be happy. The first step to my renewed happiness was a complete overhaul of my attitude, and most particularly my selfish materialism. I wanted to simplify my life. So I did. No cable. No home phone. No new clothes. No new designer handbags. No new shoes. I didn't buy anything that wasn't absolutely essential. I lived that way for a month. I didn't make a big deal of it. I didn't tell anyone I was doing it, but I did it.
I'm glad I did too. It taught me that I really don't need all of the "stuff" I thought I "needed" to be happy. None of the material things I gave up improved the quality of my life. I still don't have a home phone or cable. I don't think I'll ever have either again. I have more time to do truly important things--things that actually do improve my quality of life--because I'm not sitting around chatting on the phone or flipping 200 channels on the tv. I'm sure I'll eventually cave on the handbag, but I don't feel like I need a Coach bag to prove anything to anyone anymore and that's a pretty big deal.
I also cut a lot of people out of my life. Some of them acted in ways that effectively cut themselves from my life. If you were not supportive, overly negative, insistent upon telling me how to live my life, judgmental, or immature then I decided that I did not need you in my life. That was the hardest part of this transformation--realizing who my real friends were and leaving the not so real friends in the dust. But it was worth it too because I am no longer constantly angry or driven by a need to keep up with the Jones's (so to speak). I am completely convinced my new self awareness and my new brighter (and much more positive) outlook on life has a lot to do with shedding the negative people in my life.
One of those people recently tweeted a passive aggressive comment about me. I know it was about me because I know her very, very well--she was once my "best friend" or at least I thought she was. The old me would have blown a gasket over her catty remark, and I must admit to an initial spark of white hot anger. But that anger quickly faded and was replaced with sadness, sadness for her not for me.
You see, I no longer care what other people think of my life. I no longer care what she thinks of my life or my choices. I don't care because I am finally really and truly joyful. I am blissful. I am at peace. I am at peace with myself and my life and my choices. I am peaceful and so other people's opinions on my life no longer affect me.
I am sad for her. I have changed so momentously in six short months, and she is still the same angry, catty, passive aggressive person she always was. I've moved on to greener pastures and her remarks prove she hasn't done that yet. I hope she does soon. I hope she finds herself, and I hope she finds the inner peace and happiness that I have fought for and been blessed with. I hope my ex finds that peace too.
You know why? Because life is good. It really is. And I'm going to enjoy mine.