Episode 7: Four Analogies
Howdily-ho. It's such a beautiful morning.
Here in Central Florida, my new pond is refilled at the passing of our drought season. The afternoon rains are ramping up.
The water was so low at times, I could see all the critters. The edges had grown over with moss.
The sand filtered from the soil had created a little beach for the alligators, turtles and swimming birds to rest on.
I imagine my old pond is also filled and happy. I miss seeing it, on walks with my dog(s), chatting daily with friendly neighbors about life. I miss them.
Enough time has passed for me to feel stable in this new space, in this new pattern.
I'm incredibly grateful for the allowance of nearly a year, to process all the emotions of our leaving and the empty nesting.
I think I've arrived at being grateful that they both happened at the same time.
Just throw all the hard stuff together into one big batch of minestrone.
Beans and pasta, all at once.
I've been braced, like on a roller coaster, fingers squeezing the padded bar and ready to be tossed.
I'm thankful that the bar was padded, and for the scaffolding that held me up.
I'm thankful for the support that gave space for crying and silence and introspection.
I'm also pretty darn impressed with how I've showed up.
I make one heck of a minestrone.
The pasta: Empty Nest. My kids are the pasta.
They have been the most enjoyable, fun, ever-changing piece of our life together.
In assessing what foods work in my body and which ones don't, I have learned that rice feels more insulin-stable than pasta. Pasta is a bit of a roller coaster. It's more complex than candy, but still gives a good ride.
My kids are awesome. Perhaps I cry at the thought of them because I gave so much.
The dailies were all about their needs, really. And wants, yes.
I gave my body first, in a very literal way. Happy scars.
I gave time and creativity and I guessed about what to do.
Sometimes I guessed wrong.
But we did okay. They were born amazing, but I rocked the mom job.
Not perfect--but no one is.
They are my ditalini.
Steve's the Beans. Steve is my ex, for those who don't know, if I've never mentioned.
"Steve is my ex."
It's taken a while to put those words together.
He's my bean. He's very balanced, practical, intelligent, musical, a fun dad.
Beans have carbs and fiber and protein. That's Steve.
I am grateful to him for not being the guy who would rush through a divorce.
For not being the bitter guy.
He's aware enough to not say things he'll regret.
I choose to believe that he has pulled back on the gas when I was in the thick of emotions.
Or maybe he was emotional.
Maybe not. Maybe he's waited because it's easier to do one thing at a time, and he's had two siblings pass away since we separated. He's adjusted to a new place as well. He's worked hard at his job.
He is the bean.
For whatever reason, we've taken our time to feel all the emotions, and not make divorce agreement decisions under emotional conditions.
We're smart. That's how I want to think about it.
So today's dinner is minestrone, in honor of my bean and my pastas.
I will eat it with thankfulness.
Today's Deep Breath: a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.
Recap, in case you missed it: we decided to separate a few weeks before covid landed last year, then spent six months in the same house with an officially separated mindset.
During our in-house separation, I took an online class from Yale,
The Science of Wellbeing, taught by Laurie Santos.
It's a free course; there's even an app for it.
During that class, I was grasping to be grateful for the time we had in the house because of covid.
It was very difficult. I thought if he and I were not under the same roof, I would not feel bad.
I felt bad because of my mindset. I was thinking: this is bad.
I listened to Laurie talk about gratitude and overcoming brain biases.
Having money, true love, and a lean body won't make me happy, but wanting those things doesn't either.
I took a slow digest on all of that.
I think what I have learned in this last year, with a lot of help, is that the majority of what I think is not actually true or happening in this minute.
In my journaling this morning, I wrote,
"Sometimes I revert back to the unloved, alone child-teen-young adult."
That's my Limbic Girl.
My limbic brain, remembering what was, and reliving it today, when it's not actually happening.
Then I wrote: "But that's over.
The war is over."
That's my frontal brain taking over and parenting those old beliefs.
The problem was, when I thought that, it made me incredibly sad,
reinforcing a very low self image,
and I believed it.
Yes, I am alone and unloved, in room full of people. Because that was so familiar.
And familiar can be comforting, even if it sucks.
But it wasn't true.
And it's not true today.
Here's the point. When we relive the past like it's happening right now,
we tie today with what happened with him or her or them,
or even a previous version of ourselves,
and we ruin this moment.
Or don't give it a chance to be great.
This moment becomes less than it could be.
We become less than we could be.
Memory is not bad.
Yes, the facts are the same. I was raised by a woman,
along with a brother, and sometimes a half sister.
Those are the boring facts.
Lush. I want to think LUSH thoughts about right now. I don't want my mind to ruin this day.
I'm really not that girl anymore.
So cheers to living your best life today--for you, for them.
Build your minestrone the best way you know how.
It'll be delicious.