My Job, He Said, Was ‘To Make His Life Easy’

My midlife crisis was no laughing matter. Well, maybe I can laugh at it now after the hard stuff is over.

When you first decide you are getting divorced the first thing that comes to mind is everything you will be losing. But did you have those thoughts on your wedding day? Did you ever think that vowing yourself to the person you love would end up costing you pieces of your soul? Most people don’t realize that to bind yourself to another person could mean giving up parts of yourself. That was something I definitely learned.

I got married too young. I was 25. Which didn’t seem young at the time. In fact, I remember thinking I better get married soon, or I would end up an old maid. Boy was I was naive. And spontaneous. I married my husband (ex) after dating for 6 months and only living in the same state for 3 months. My hormones were screaming “it’s time to get married and have babies”! I was completely swept away by how handsome he was and how I thought I was the luckiest woman alive. I couldn’t wait to be a wife and mother. Looking back, it was an incredibly foolish decision. But, two wonderful, resilient children came from that decision, so I don’t regret it.

I know that by saying “I do”, I was pounding a nail into the coffin on my wedding day.

Before my marriage, I had huge creative dreams of making it big. I was ambitious. Creative. Unstoppable. I had dreams of owning my own business, and using my talents to create new things. Each year, I would hone my talents a little more.

Little did I know that marrying my husband would bury my creative spirit. I moved from one of the biggest cities in the US (DFW), to the rural Midwest. The middle of nowhere. The closest town had a population of 256.  You read that right: two hundred and fifty-six people. It was the prairie, where women stayed home and raised their children, while the men went off to make a living. At first, I thought I wanted that same lifestyle. I liked the idea of being the type of woman my mother was. I had grown up wanting to be just like her. Raise a family like my mom had done. But that was another decision that came with a price. If you haven’t noticed it is quite hard to rule the world in a town of 256 people.

My divorce gave me a fresh start that emitted signs of spring to my creativity, coaxing the dormant seed to come out of hibernation. I had everything it needed to grow: water, sun, and fertile ground. A level of energy I hadn’t had in years, excitement about the future, and loads of pent-up ambition.

Especially if you can’t leave the house without his permission.

I was busy chasing after 2 little kids, who were 15 months apart. I didn’t put much thought into what was going on in the big picture of my life. I didn’t stop and analyze how my husband was systematically separating me from my friends and family. How isolated I had become. How I had stopped pursuing my dreams because my husband disapproved of them.

My online classes were a waste of time, he said. So, I dropped out of my MBA program.  Starting that side business was a waste of money, he said. Spending time away from him or our home was bad for our family, he said. He needed me all to himself. His life was so stressful, he needed my life to be empty so that nothing would detract from me serving him. My job, he said, was to make his life easy.   

So I put my career on hold and focused on being a good wife and stay-at-home mom. I don’t like to cook, or clean, but that’s where my efforts went. And trying to coax him into a good mood when he came home at night.

My creative spirit was buried. I didn’t have the time to find the time to pursue it, whilst caring for my kids. I didn’t have the energy to go against what my husband said. Rocking the boat caused the kind of wave I didn’t want to deal with. My hands were full in caring for my kids.

My hands were tied in subservience to my husband.

My creative spirit went into hibernation, while I couldn’t tend to it. It was my dormant seed.

When our marriage ended, I went through a period of grieving. I like how Susan Rowland says: “We who are divorced have lost so much: The person we gave our lives to, the life we were used to, the future we expected. Take the time to grieve. If you skip this step, you will never fully recover, never really heal and be able to go on with life.” I grieved for everything lost to me. The loss of my husband. The loss of my dream family. The loss of the identity I had created for myself.

Once I had worked through my emotions I started putting my life back on track. I moved to a new town and started over. One of the best decisions of my life.

It was a whole new awaking for me and my dormant seed.

But some called it a midlife crisis.

My divorce gave me a fresh start that emitted signs of spring to my creativity, coaxing the dormant seed to come out of hibernation. I had everything it needed to grow: water, sun, and fertile ground. A level of energy I hadn’t had in years, excitement about the future, and loads of pent-up ambition.

I now feel three times as ambitious as my peers, because they didn’t choose to hibernate like I did. They have consistently been working up the ranks in their career, while I was changing diapers at home, waiting for my husband to give the ok for me to go to the grocery store.

I was MIA from the workforce for 7 years. And now, I am on a mission to catch up. I am so motivated to make up for lost time, I feel like I just have flight-grade fuel in my hybrid car. Maybe I’ll get lucky and build such momentum that I will end up passing by the other gardeners who grew lazy and complacent over the years.

I don’t regret the decision to take time off during my marriage to raise my children.

My children are my focus and will continue to be until they leave the nest.  But my divorce was an unexpected shift in my plans. My plan had been to be married happily ever after, and simply to work with my husband in our family business. Needless to say, that plan backfired.

It was the best backfire that ever could have happened to me. I no longer look at my divorce as me losing everything. Instead, I choose to view my divorce as this wonderful awaking that sprouted the seeds of my creativity.

I shudder to think my seed might have remained dormant forever. If I had never gathered to courage to leave.  What a tragedy that would have been.

Call it reviving the dormant seed. Or call it a midlife crisis.  Makes no difference to me.

I’m young enough, maybe I can squeeze in a second midlife crisis.They’re great.

 This article originally appeared on Divorced Moms

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