I have to tell you, the day of my divorce was rather a let down. After two years of stalking, drunk e-mailing, facebook lurking and mediations where I was told to either calm down or face possible arrest, it was really over. It was, as they say, a done deal, and frankly, I was ready. By now I was becoming sort of bored with the whole thing. In the beginning I spent the days sending my ex hourly insane text messages such as "I despise you," and then five minutes later, "Please come back." My latest ones were much more tame and geared more to simple questions such as, "That Orkin man with the glass eye is here. Is it okay if I pretend you are in the bathroom?" or "I forget. What does it mean when the yellow exclamation point is lit up on the dashboard?"
The night I signed those papers in front of a judge, I walked around my house several times before heading into the kitchen to heat up my Amy's Cheese Enchiladas. "Wow," I thought, I really own this place? I sat down with my meal and a glass of Chardonnay. "Ahh," I thought. "Now this is living. Just me, my iPad and five fresh lives of Candy Crush. Two hours, $10.00 and 50 lives later, I was still on level 65 and realizing that yes, this is quite fun and exciting, but perhaps not fulfilling enough to last me the next 40 years. It was time to propel myself forward and start living a new life which meant possibly changing my old habits and surroundings. Here are five things you can do today to begin moving forward.
1. Discard your old linens. Take back the bedroom! It's all yours now, and you can make it a real haven for yourself. Get rid of the khaki and olive colored sheet sets that he loved because they reminded him of his Army days. Go buy yourself beautiful sheets with a 20,000,0000 thread count. Get one of those goose down comforters that you always dreamed of but couldn't have due to his feather allergies. It's all you now, baby.
2. Restock on lingerie and underwear. I decided it was time to purge the lingerie and underwear drawers. I think I can throw away my nursing gowns now, my youngest one is in college. You would be surprised what a beautiful pair of panties and matching lace bra can do for a person. The best part about it, you are doing it for you. I promise you, at some time in the future, you may be modeling it for a handsome someone, but for now treat yourself like a queen even if it means getting rid of your favorite period underwear.
3. Dine out alone. Unless you consider coffee cake and a vanilla latte at Starbucks dining out, I had not eaten a meal alone in a restaurant since my marriage. Dude. Totally serious. I decided to overcome the fear, take the plunge and treat myself to a meal at my favorite Italian restaurant. I was scared at first, I just knew I would walk in, all eyes would turn to me and I would be immediately labeled as either a lonely loser, or a woman on the prowl. Guess what? No one gives a shit. I had a delightful meal, (linguini with clams), a fabulous glass of Chianti, and went home happy and full. Now this is not to say, put on a leopard tank top and black leggings and plant yourself at the bar at Bonefish on BangBang shrimp night hoping to be noticed. No. This is different. This is treating yourself to a sumptuous meal, at a restaurant of your choice and enjoying the freedom to do so.
4. Get a pet. Have you always wanted a dog but your ex wouldn't hear of it? Now is the time to find the companion of your dreams! Here is your chance to have a relationship based on loving devotion, companionship and fierce loyalty. Whether it be a dog, a cat, a bird or something off the beaten path like a ferret or something (weird, but okay if you must), a pet provides you happiness and daily purpose. Just promise me you won't dress it up and make it your profile picture on match.com. Also remember, owning a pet is a commitment. Don't get a pet if you are just trying to kill time until you meet your soul mate.
5. Redecorate. Look around you. What can you do to your home and surroundings that you couldn't do before? Paint your dining room that bright sunny yellow you love or go ahead and do that coffee cup stencil that you always wanted on your kitchen wall. It doesn't have to be a major renovation! Take down the metal collage of the New Orleans jazz players that you've always hated and replace it with a Georgia O'Keefe print or even a geometric quilt you've always loved but didn't know what to do with. The main thing is to make it yours.
I know it sounds trite, but now you have the freedom to be you and to let it reflect in your home, surroundings and daily activities. Embrace it, run with it and most of all enjoy it. Trust me, you will discover something new about yourself in the process.