Thursday, June 07, 2007

If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Be Doing It

B has still not signed the property settlement, which, for whatever reason, makes him believe we are still married. You would think a man who was married to an attorney might defer to her certainty of their marital status, but you would be wrong in your assessment. It doesn't really affect me in any meaningful sense, but today, I found myself thinking about all of the stuff we had to divide and what I really got out of the marriage.

Yes, I got all the material stuff. All of it. I wasn't a bitch about it whatsoever and, in the 2.5 years we were separated, told him many times that he could have whatever he wanted. I admit there was a period where I didn't want to give him anything, as I believed he had bailed on the relationship and was therefore not entitled to recover anything from our home. As the anger subsided, I realized it was just stuff and I was attached to very little of it (with some exceptions). It is coming up on three years and he still hasn't demanded anything.

Thing is, I would trade him all of it for what he got in the settlement - our history and life together. In the aftermath of the separation and my misguided attempt at the high road (to say nothing of the very misguided anticipation of a grand gesture on his part), I bailed out of our life. Friends, family, etc. I think I just didn't want to talk about it with anyone who knew us both and was terrified at getting caught off guard and (gasp) getting emotional about it in public if that had happened (which it did, once or twice). B and I resolved early not to discuss our private life with our friends and I don't think he ever really did. If anything, he probably shouldered all of the blame and defended my honor.

Nevertheless, I disappeared. Poof. I was polite if I ran across our mutual friends and sported a winning smile, but I retreated. B does not retreat. Hell, I don't think, until I just typed those words, that I fully realized what I did, but retreat it was. B is not that kind of person whatsoever and I never thought I was, either. B stayed in the picture, continued socializing with our friends, and eventually, my absence became expected - the status quo. B continued with our life without me and therefore got our former life in the divorce.

That is one of many of my regrets, as there are many days that I just miss my former life. I know that I can rebuild it and all that and I will, in one form or another. But I feel like I lost a 14 year history that has simply been erased. That is not his fault whatsoever - that one was all me. It is amazing how I can rationalize decisions at the time, but with the hindsight of clarity, it is stunning how bad of a choice it was.

I thought of this for a variety of reasons, some of which included other things that I miss, including traits of B. God knows, he is flawed, as am I, of course. But with the benefit of hindsight and some distance, I can remember most of what I was attracted to when I met him. He was definitely an "outside the box" kind of thinker, whereas I was more prone to drawing within the lines. He brought me pretty far outside my comfort zone when it came to the "safe route." I don't think we ever took one in the 14 years we were together. That probably sounds more exciting than it was.

What I was utterly enamored with was his decisiveness and willingness to just fucking jump in and do it.

Buy a boat and live on it?

K: No way, how will we make the payments, we don't have the income, what if something goes wrong and it requires a ton of cash or it will sink and then we will be homeless?

B: We'll figure it out. We do our best work when our backs are against the wall. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Stop with the worrying and let's go for it.

Let's open a deli!

K: OMG, you have to be kidding me. Do you know how much cash it takes to open a restaurant? Lease obligations? Insurance? Failure rate of new business? This neighborhood can't take another eatery.

B: Nobody got anywhere without taking some risks. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. You handle the lease negotiations and the licenses. I'll handle the renovations and together, we'll build the business because we fucking know everyone in this neighborhood.

Go to law school wherever you want.

K:OMG, no way, I'm staying here and going to UW. Georgetown is too far away, USC is in California and therefore off limits. Notre Dame is in the middle of nowhere.

B: We'll figure it out. We'll see each other every 6-8 weeks, I won't be in your hair, keeping you from studying, ND is a kickass school and you have a full ride - w00t to no debt

When we were in premarital counseling, I made some asinine comment about him being the bird, me being the rock. As soon as it came out of my mouth, I realized the banality of the statement. That statement became a running joke in our marriage, but part of it was utterly true. I will say that in the settlement of our collective property, I got some of that fearlessness from him. I am still the rock, to be sure, but I no longer draw within the lines.

At times, that has created more problems than it solved, but I much prefer living this way and not so goddamn afraid to rock the proverbial boat. I am a better problem solver and risk manager, and I guess that isn't the worst thing to take from our settlement.

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