Amid life changes, I embrace my routines.
With crisp Autumn weather here, I’ve begun taking daily walks again. I start in the shadows of the National Cathedral here in Washington, DC. I follow Wisconsin Avenue, a wide boulevard flanked by a mix of large and small apartment houses, restaurants, homes, and just about everything in-between.
My route doesn’t change, just the distance. Generally, a couple miles, sometimes more. Always on the sunny side of the street.
Yesterday, I switched sides of the street. I was stunned how my perspective changed. I passed homes I’ve never noticed. I saw loft apartments atop commercial buildings across the street.
I was completely surprised that a path I thought I knew could be so foreign.
Last night I dined with my brother-in-law Simon, and one of my best friends, Bill. Both have been supportive since I separated from Caroline, my wife of 28 years. Both men are family to me.
Over dinner I explained it felt like my marriage is truly over. I explained how Caroline and I are dividing our material life in half, which I wrote about in Like A Hurricane.
Simon and Bill were dismayed.
I laid out all the arguments why the union appears beyond repair.
Except for one.
Caroline doesn’t seem to take any responsibility for our marriage ending. While I’ve been striving to be more mindful and self-aware, Caroline seems to maintain a business as usual attitude.
I think we are no longer compatible. And I was scared to say that aloud last night.
Instead I listened while my friends urge me not to “give up.” Though both said if I wanted to move on I should, they focused on my finding a path back to my old life.
Bill and Simon want me to be happy and I am so appreciative for that. By the time we finished dinner I was wondering if I had given up too easily.
Since moving out six months ago, I eventually accepted there’s no hope for reconciliation. That acceptance empowered me. I no longer wanted Caroline to “take me back.”
What is so tempting, is how much easier life was, as a couple. Starting a new chapter, after 28 years, is the opposite of easy.
This morning Caroline and I chatted via text. She asked me to do her a small favor. I happily said yes.
Then, I asked her out. I’ve always felt “dating” is the only way to begin finding a path back. Caroline told me she’s busy for the next two weeks.
The confusion I felt after dinner last night is gone.
My future is a blank canvas, a painting that will reveal itself over time. Caroline will always be in the picture.The painting, however, will not look anything like that which I imagined for so long.
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PS: I rarely say this, but you should watch this short video. It is wonderful