Friday, November 1, 2013

Life Goes On

There is a rhythm that is returning to my life alone.  As much as there can be with dogs in the house anyway.  That routine that I talk so much about is more or less back, just a little different than it used to be, but I'm getting settled in to it and, for me, that is the key to being able to accept it.  I even had an interesting sensation last Saturday that I hadn't felt in a really long time:  I was completely free to do what I wanted with no one wondering where I was or waiting for me to get home.  Marissa was at her boyfriend's, the day was nice enough that the dogs could stay outside and be comfortable.  So, I was completely left to my own devices.  I could go where I wanted or do what I wanted for as long as I wanted.  What did I do?  I went Christmas shopping, got my oil changed and went grocery shopping.  Whoo-hoo, party animal!  But, despite the rather boring agenda, it was almost exhilarating in its own odd way to just be able to wander around for as long as I felt like it.

Later, as I sat at home and watched what I wanted (hockey), I began to fret a little.  Could it be that I would get so comfortable - or at least used to - living alone that it will derail us when my husband comes home in a couple of years?

I tried to research it.  I am a lazy researcher really, so when I didn't find just a plethora of data immediately, I got bored with it and gave it up.  But I did find a study done by Rand Corporation that proved out that the longer military personnel are deployed, the higher their divorce rate becomes.  I doubt anyone is reacting in shock over that little bit of news, but there was nothing but conjecture about why.  PTSD probably plays a role - how could it not, but one article I read speculated that people just grow apart.  But what does that mean?  Their interests change, their friends change and they get into different rhythms that don't gel any longer?  Makes sense.  But why is it that grown children can move away and get friends and have experiences their parents don't, yet still have a deep and meaningful relationship with their parents?  Maybe it's because they aren't living together.  Maybe that proximity just makes all the difference.  Like two now strangers trying to come back together.

I mean, for all of your readers who are married, think how interesting the first year of marriage was:  trying to mesh two different people's habits and routines.  There is the sorting out of what's mine, what's yours and now it's all ours.  Learning to remember to call if you're going to be late so the spouse doesn't worry.  Learning not to be upset when the spouse forgets to call.  Learning how to share the television schedule and not be jealous when the husband wants a poker night or the wife wants a Girl's Night Out.  And that's all when you're freshly in love, young and energetic and coming off a period of dating where, odds are, you were together.

Therefore, it stands to reason that after a period of time apart we all tend to go back to the coping skills we had as singles.  We get used to singular control of the remote control.  We get used to running around on a Saturday doing whatever it is we want to.  And we figure out how to cope with all those stressors that at first we thought would be our un-doing after our spouse was gone:  keeping up with the untold amounts of falling leaves, figuring out how to turn the outside faucet off for the winter, and simply being alone and lonely.  So once that life becomes comfortable, the spouse returns and shakes it all up again.  For both of them.  That's got to be a challenge.  It doesn't take an expensive study to tell you that a lot of couples can't handle that many major life-changing events.  The question is going to be whether we can.  But, that's for later.  For now, I've still got some sorting out of how my life will look and be in the meantime, and I've got to let go of worry over about things I can't control right now.  Leave it to me to overthink a pleasant Saturday afternoon.  For now, I hope for more of those, and I promise myself to just enjoy them with no guilt attached.  Because life goes on.

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