Since—wise or not—I’m the kind to tie my self-worth to achievements, for the last five or so years, I’ve brilliantly spun my birthday (last Friday) as a designated moment to be bummed out that I haven’t gotten more done. Or rather, that I haven’t pushed to do more with my life. I’ve got the capabilities, just not so much the drive.
Achievement-wise, I’m treating this calendar year a little differently than I have in the past. Should I be successful, at the end of the year I will have calmed the hell down. (I see the irony in this.)
Now, I don’t take responsibility for the Wasband’s unbelievably shitty choice to have an affair and ditch me for her, but I had a part in the marriage’s demise. I was unavailable. I was busy. I was off achieving stuff. I was designing and selling prints. I was working on the Masters degree. I was doing my drug job. Writing that out, it doesn’t sound like much, but I was really busy. Too busy for a husband. Since the divorce, I’ve fatalistically joked that I had better make something out of my writing degree because I lost my marriage over that thing. It’s not true. But it sort of is.
Since reappearing on this blog and telling the tale of my divorce, I've received comments and emails from gals worried about their own marriages. But you seemed so happy! You really loved him! I'm scared this could happen to me! The bad news is this: Yeah, it can happen to you. We weren't unique. Since I have a 100% fail rate, I can't give tips on how to avoid losing your marriage to the whore next door, but I can serve as a cautionary tale.
When I started my Masters program I told my then-spouse that these next two years were gonna be tough. He said he knew. He said he’d tough it out with me. And it started that way. But as I got busier, he fell further and further down my priority list. It’s the most common of affair stories—one spouse gets immersed in work or school or even kids and the [insert adjective here —I suggest something along the lines of "weaker," "pathetic," "selfish," or all of the above, if you're feeling generous] spouse ditches their post.
Again, I don’t take responsibility for what he did. But I know I had a starring role in the beginning of the end. I’m achievement-oriented, and I failed in that I didn’t see a strong marriage as something to achieve.
Necessary side note • I am holy smokes! happy to be divorced. With all this blather about the dead marriage, don’t think I’m mourning some loss. I’m not. I’m stupid happy right now. (More on that later. If’n you’re lucky, that is.)
So, in the aftermath of the Infidelity Fallout, I’ve decided to chill. I’m not pursuing design work. (Part of that might have to do with my genius resolution to make less money so I pay less taxes.) I’m not fretting over writing. I'm not even going make sure that I'm the guy The Guy counts on. What I’ve scrawled in my notebook is that my plan right now is to—Do yoga. Work my job. Enjoy myself.
I’m going to put less pressure on The Self to do anything beyond those three things. Though I’m delighted to be done with that marriage, I got some wounds from losing my fight to keep the union. Healing happens naturally with time, but I also believe part of it has to do with making the choice to get better, to get over stuff, to move beyond, and so on and so forth.
I do need to submit essays to journals. That’s important in making something of the graduate degree. But I have essays enough to submit and submit until the pieces find an appropriate home. And I’m going to enjoy doing that. It’ll be work, but I have a perverse love of rejection letters, and the more stuff I send out, the higher my rejection potential.
This year I’ve been trying to get to my mat a lot, do a good job at my job, and give it a rest already. Even though I found some success in my design work and my writing, even though I felt more love from my family and friends than I could have ever imagined, last year was poisoned and can be summed up as "effing awful." So I’ve got to reorient. I’m on it.