Right after my divorce, it was pretty hard for me to “keep my chin” up, as they say. Hold my head up high? That took months, and in some ways, years.
This weekend, I went to my hometown with my parents and one of my brothers to attend a fundraiser for the wrestling club that my three brothers participated in for years. My dad was a coach, too, and I spent hours of my youth watching wrestling practices and tournaments. The smell of wrestling mats will be with me for life.
At the fundraiser, which was held at the small-town golf club, I ran into my former piano teacher, my middle-school principal, several people from my high school class, and of course lots of my brothers’ teammates and their families. Isn’t it funny how people look so different and yet exactly the same? And how you can remember people’s names after you haven’t seen them—or even thought about them—for twenty years?
As we were driving home, I couldn’t believe how relaxed and happy I felt.
“You know,” I told my family, “I used to hate running into people from high school.”
“You mean right after your divorce?” Mom asked.
My divorce hadn’t even crossed my mind. “Well, yeah, but even before that, too. But now it’s totally okay. Fun, even.”
What’s the difference? I simply know who I am now. In high school, I was really involved and probably seemed to fit in, but I wasn’t really comfortable in my own skin. I don’t think I really came into my own until I moved home after my divorce. After going through something so epic in my twenties, I had a totally different perspective about who I was and what mattered to me.
For a while, it really bothered me that I might be judged for being divorced, but I came to realize that I didn’t really care. And you know what? Most people didn’t—don’t—really care. Life happens. Every family has its drama, and your divorce news will only be an interesting tidbit of gossip for so long.
Going home has never felt better, and I wish the same for each and every one of you.