10 Years

WARNING: NAVEL-GAZING AHEAD

This is my last full weekend as a single woman. It’s been ten years since my divorce.

Planning this wedding has been a great lesson in patience and creativity, and it has been humbling too. I thought I could coast through this, spending not too much money or sanity. And I would say that, with one week to go, I’ve done pretty well — but not as well as my pride led me to believe I would. I’ve had a meltdown. I documented my bout with insomnia (over now). I’ve gossiped and complained about friends who were being high maintenance about the plans. I’ve spent far more money than I anticipated.

None of this means that I’m not excited and happy — that’s definitely the way the prevailing winds blow. I picked up Damon’s wedding band yesterday and he was wearing it around the apartment last night. It gave me a little thrill every time it flashed by, and I was even more tickled by how happy he seemed to be to wear it. It’s safely back in its box now, waiting for the big day.

This is just an attempt to open my eyes wide and learn what I can. It’s also a good time to enjoy saying “I want…” so many times in a row. Damon and I hope to be parents and if that all works out I suppose that phrase will go down in usage frequency.

I’ve also spent some time thinking about my last 10 years as a single woman, seven of them before I started dating Damon. I was rarely a sad single — I liked dating different guys, I liked living alone. It was, with the rare exception of when I was pining for someone, a way of life that really suited me. It speaks volumes about Damon that he’s someone who can make me want to walk away from it forever. I think of my friends who both enjoyed and suffered single life with me. All of the laughing and commiserating and planning we did. A lot of it was predicated on being single. Now some of us are and some of us are not. I’m lucky to be able to say that almost all of those friends are still with me. But our friendships have changed. Most of them have gotten deeper and stronger, but a few bonds have slipped. I wouldn’t change who we are to each other now, but I have so much affection for those younger (mostly) women with whom I burned so much energy. And I have a little shrine in my heart for all of those guys I dated, but who weren’t the one I would make it to the finish line with. I’ve been so extraordinarily lucky with the men in my life. Exempting all the random three-date-or-less guys — I probably can’t remember most of them unless either he or I did something really embarrassing on one of our few dates — I can’t look back on any romance of my adult life and shudder. Well… maybe one. But those six or seven guys who really had an impact on me, who knew me and spent a lot of time with me, each one left such rich gifts behind. If it wouldn’t be weird and inappropriate, I’d love to write them each a letter telling them how much I still love them and am grateful to them for helping to make me into the woman I am now. At least I can still count almost all of them among my friends, and so get to keep lots of those old benefits.

And there’s another tip of the hat to Damon. He loves my friends and loves how much I love them, even those guys I dated. I’ve never gotten a moment’s static from him about it. I find this remarkable, especially because he doesn’t have any ex-girlfriend friends. He must have liked being single even more than I did, because he doesn’t even have many exes. We had a night out with some friends one night that sticks in my memory. It was a woman and a man, who weren’t a couple. I had slept with the guy, he had slept with the woman. We all knew that we all new, neither previous relationship had been a secret. And there we all were, eating and drinking, laughing and enjoying our night. And not one of us seemed (can’t speak for them for sure) even slightly weird about it. I love that. I love that I can have a relationship like that.

Obviously, I’m feeling introspective. I’m trying to indulge that. I can be pretty blithe, but it’s a serious thing we’re about to do. And I don’t want my current work chaos, or wedding planning nuttiness, to keep me on the surface the whole time.

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