Yesterday was a bit of a milestone for me. I didn't know if I wanted to mention it, as it's personal as well as a bit of a downer. But the more I thought about things, the more I realized that it isn't sad. It's a story of the strangeness of life, how unpredictable our paths are and how no matter how bad things may seem at any given point, they always get better.
Ten years ago yesterday I was walking down the isle with a man I thought I'd be with for the rest of my life. Five years to the day later he left, saying he "didn't want this life." I was a disappointment--I didn't make enough money for him to live the life he wanted. It didn't matter that I had left the best paying job I ever had, per his request, to be with him in Arizona. My earning power was no longer there and soon after, neither was he. Such is the mistake of getting engaged while in law school.
In the years after I became very bitter. The low point was probably when I actually booed a couple I saw getting engaged in public. I was so hurt--I had a big, gaping, open wound that the world couldn't see but I could never forget was there. In the little bit that I managed to date nothing lasting ever resulted--at the very first hint that they didn't feel the same way about me as I did about them I was gone. I wasn't about to chance being fooled, and feeling like a fool, again.
Then, as they say, time healed my wound. I am scarred, yes, but no longer in pain. I look back over the last ten years and am astonished at everything I've gotten to experience. I've traveled a path I couldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams:
--Spent Christmas in South Korea
--Walked my dogs down the streets of Tombstone, Arizona
--Became self-reliant and learned to do things like change a tire, change the oil, and light a pilot light
--Moved halfway across the country...and back
--Saw Phantom of the Opera with my best long-time friend at the Victoria Theatre in London
--Trained horses in Texas for the APHA and AQHA World Shows
--Discovered my love for sushi and edamame
--Got to meet some of the greatest (and nicest) legends in the horse business
--Survived a tornado in Missouri
--Bred and raised many horses; rescued many others
--Revised the entire contracts process for a fledgling company
--Lived in Kansas City twice
--Discovered I had lived on an old cemetery
--Renounced my Republicanism and became an Independent
--Somewhat accidentally found my true calling
--Returned to school and found out I kick ass at science
--Studied and learned about managing 400 acres of farmland
If someone on my wedding day would have come up to me and told me in ten years I'd be back in school, studying nursing, working as a CNA (a job I never thought I'd have the ability to do) at nights, no less, have my own beautiful farm with three horses I bred, raised, and trained myself, have pretty decent horse facilities, a house undergoing a complete renovation that I get to design for myself (which I really do enjoy), that I'd have three dogs and a plethora of chickens, that I'd have a truck I like, a trailer I love, and a car I adore, that I'd be going to conferences for women in farming, that I'd actually be a full two pant sizes smaller than I was on my wedding day and be perfectly healthy and happy living the life that I want, alone, I'd thought they were out of their mind.
I'm still alone, yes. Someone else is now reaping the benefits of all my Army-wife sacrifice, but that's okay. I really feel like I have a better life now--the trade-off worked out fine for me. I have almost everything I ever wanted and it looks like the rest will come in time.
The only thing I regret is that I do wish that I had known, so I could have prepared myself and not wasted so much time being bitter from being so completely blindsided. A sign, perhaps on that day, ten years ago.... Something...like...
Oh yeah, that would have worked. Oh well, c'est la vie!
"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."
(George Bernard Shaw)