For the past several weeks I have spent my Saturday mornings hiking with the kiddo and a group of current and former coworkers. The hikes are short and usually followed by brunch or frozen yogurt and lots of laughter. It has quickly become one of my favorite parts of my week (even without the brunch…although, that helps).
This last Saturday was a little touch and go because a storm was expected to roll in, and while it was not slated to hit until after lunchtime, most of the usual hikers opted to stay in. I decided to risk it. The area we hike in is one of our local “regional wildlife” areas, and it is a beautiful drive. All morning I had this strange feeling, a sense of uneasiness and I could not figure out where it was coming from. I had chalked it up to nerves about the weather until a I happened to take a look at the calendar on my phone. It was March 30. My wedding anniversary. My first wedding anniversary, and had we stayed together it would have been our tenth anniversary. Which would make the following day the five year anniversary of when we decided to get a divorce. It was as if the universe knew and had Spotify play one of my favorite songs, Ani DiFranco’s As Is just as I was entering the more scenic part of my drive. I felt overwhelmed.
I don’t generally carry a lot of angst about my first marriage or the divorce. I think that without that I wouldn’t be where I am now, and I really like where I am now, so in a lot of ways I am grateful. Somethings do bother me though…but I find that all these years later what bothers me most is me. There were opportunities I had to be kind that I didn’t take. There were times when I could have been helpful, but I wasn’t. There were times when, as a spouse, I was really lacking. I have all sorts of excuses for this but that doesn’t much matter now. I let go of the laundry list of all the ways I felt my ex was responsible for the marriage now working, I felt that was important to move on and I did not want to bring that hurt with me when I remarried. What I had not done was let of the laundry list of all the ways I felt I had failed. It’s a strange sort of narcicssm, this inability to forgive myself and allow myself the same grace I allow others. I listened to the lyrics of the song as I drove and saw the low hanging rain clouds as they enveloped the tops of the hills and I realized it was time to make peace with myself and suddenly the song took on a new meaning.
“Just give up and admit you’re an asshole
You would be in some good company
And I think you’d find that your friends would forgive you
Or maybe I am just speaking for me
‘Cause when I look around, I think this, this is good enough
And I try to laugh, whatever life brings
‘Cause when I look down I just miss all the good stuff
When I look up, I just trip over things
And I’ve got no illusions about you, guess what I never did
When I say, when I say, “I’ll take it” I mean, I mean as is”
I found a new sense of peace on that drive. One that I had been chasing for years. I felt renewed.
It was just three of us on the hike that morning. The rain was kind enough to hold off until after brunch, which just happened to be across the street from the apartment complex where I lived when I was first married. It was perfect.
One of my favorite Ani songs, and as you wrote, it has taken on new meanings as I’ve gotten older and my relationships have changed. I’m always a little bit amazed at how much my relationship with others, who are long gone from my life, continues to change and grow.
This was beautiful. I love you, Jenn!
Awww Love you too! Thank you.