When I tried to find the positive in my husband’s sudden departure, first on the list was,”I will never have to stay in a condo on a golf course again.”
Yet here I am.
My first blog post was written a year ago in Hawaii, on a holiday where I was supposed to be with my husband. He moved in with his girlfriend, instead, and I went alone. The golf holidays became, to me, symbolic of the compromise that defined my relationship. I didn’t golf and I liked adventurous travel, not repeat trips to comfortable resorts. Yet most of our holidays were exactly that.
Of course it’s different this time. I’m here with my grown children who, when offered a warm Christmas holiday, chose the Big Island. This isn’t a resort that we came to as a couple, but one where we brought the children when they were much younger. I’m loving the time spent with my daughter and son, and hearing them reminisce about our previous trips here. Being so busy with work and school, they are revelling in their first holiday in a while, and so appreciative. And nobody is playing golf.
On my first trip after the breakup I was tormented by the sight of couples our age, enjoying life. Now, when I see them around the pool I notice that most of them look, well, bored. The couples walking and holding hands? Maybe they’re not a long-time relationship, maybe they have only recently got together. And if they have been together decades and are still happy? Good for them.
I am rediscovering the appeal of relaxing. As a friend said, “You tend to be on a mission,” and that is often true, whether I’m travelling or at home. After my year of world and self exploration, I realize that is part of who I am, not just (as I thought for a while) overcompensation for a low sense of self worth. But yes, it is great to just stay in one place and have nothing on my schedule.
For a brief moment yesterday I wanted to talk to my children’s father, to share my pride in the wonderful people they are, with the person who helped make them. I won’t, of course. But I have begun to see my part in our failed relationship. No one can be that self-centred for so long unless they are being actively enabled by the people closest to them.
People tell me I’m better off now and even though I want to agree with them, I can’t. There were reasons I chose to build my life on the foundation of someone else’s certainty. Although there was a price to that stability, I paid it willingly and if he had not left I would likely still be paying it. But like the innocence of childhood, once lost it is gone forever. My eyes are open, and I cannot go back to being blind. There will be others in my life, but my future will be built on my own strengths, however shaky that foundation may seem.
I think of the journey of the last year, both the external travels and the internal changes. I may be inconsistent as I move forward, changing direction, wandering aimlessly at times. My future is uncertain. But I know beneath the shifting sand there are a few solid rocks. I will continue to travel. I will write. And I will hold close the family and friends, old and new, who are so important to me.
This morning, there were no mats in the gym, so I went beneath a tree, beside the golf course, intending to use the grass to finish my workout. Instead, I just lay there, listening to the birds, feeling the wind on my skin, watching the fronds move gently in the light.
Sometimes the bravest travels happen when you are not moving at all.