The Life Timeline, Reexamined or How Sometimes It Feels Like I’m So Behind But Also I Guess What Is A Normal Life Nowadays Anyway?

The Life Timeline, Reexamined or How Sometimes It Feels Like I’m So Behind But Also I Guess What Is A Normal Life Nowadays Anyway?

I grew up in a conservative family, homeschooled from second grade all the way through high school. (The well runs deep if you wish to read more about this subject…) and then attended a private Christian college for undergrad. 

So, it’s not at all surprising that I tell you that a great many/the majority of my friends from that period of my life are married, have a house and 2-4 kids by now.  

But I chose to work in theatre, where things tend to work out a little differently.  

But still, at age 26, I ended up getting engaged, and married at 28. Surprise of all surprises, it was to the only woman I ever dated. Perhaps it wasn’t the most traditional route, but I had reached some level of “normal settling down” and felt relieved to have hit that milestone in my life. When our friends would complain about online dating or talk about their loneliness, my wife and I would look at each other and sigh, “Whew! At least we don’t have to ever go through that bullshit again.”  

We lived in the city of Chicago and neither had particularly good paying jobs, so we rented a technically decent apartment in a neighborhood where kids literally got shot on our block. It wasn’t a house with a white picket fence, and it sure as hell had its issues, but it was ours and we made it up as cute as we could.  

The first order of business after we moved in was arranging the Booze Shelf

Because we were a same-sex couple of limited means, even if we were interested in having kids together, it was financially impossible. But that wasn’t a thing we had in mind for our future together, anyway.  
So, we had begun living our own little version of the American Dream together. I had finally arrived at some semblance of the place so many of my friends had reached 5-10 years earlier.  

You can tell where this is going, though, by the title of my blog. For many reasons the marriage didn’t end up working out and I was sickened by the acknowledgment that I had experienced one whirlwind marriage and divorce before I had turned 30.  

This wasn’t supposed to be my life. It’s like I was playing a game and I was sent back to the start again, left in the dust.  

Yeah, I know that life isn’t a game and there are no set rules, but sometimes it’s nice to have some stability and sometimes it’s fine to want the stereotypical house and partner and 2.5 children and half a cat or whatever they say. 

But when have I ever been traditional?  

After my divorce, I got a new job and moved across the country to a place where I knew absolutely no one. I gave myself the freshest start possible. This next chapter of my life could be whatever I wanted it to be.

But now I had to figure out what exactly it was that I wanted.  
I had to figure out who I really was now that I was all grown up and on my own, left to my own devices.

The first bitter pill I had to swallow was realizing that I was either going to have to live with strangers for housemates or live in a shoebox studio apartment. And I did both of those things in rapid succession, ultimately deciding that a 230 square foot apartment with a mini fridge and hot plate for a kitchen was far superior to sharing a house.  

But it was a huge blow for me to acknowledge that I no longer had a real home. Most of my stuff is still in storage at my parents’ house, halfway across the country until I land somewhere more permanently, whatever that means. It’s like I’m in college again, like I’ve regressed 10 years. I feel like less of an adult than I did 5 years ago when I was living with my ex, now sleeping on my glorified cot.  
As I watch my friends have their second child, sell their starter house and move into their next one, I feel twinges of envy. These things are now further away from my reality than they had ever been.  
I decided to give the Netflix original show “Love” a try the other day and, while I’m not entirely sure I’ll keep watching, there was one part at the end of the first episode that was TOO REAL.  
One of the lead characters is a woman named Mickey, and she’s probably around my age and had just gone through a breakup. She finds herself at some strange cult meetup and stands up and gives this speech: 
“You said earlier that if you ask for love, the world will send you love back. But I’ve been asking and asking, and I haven’t gotten fucking anything. Hoping and waiting and wishing and wanting love. Hoping for love has fucking ruined my life. But I refuse to believe that all those dipshits I went to high school with, who are married now and putting pictures on Facebook every day of their kids in little headbands have it all figured out, right? That’s gotta be bullshit. That can’t be the deal, that can’t be it.”

After my divorce, I’ve marveled at how anyone can get marriage right, let alone the majority of my friends. (This is not me telling my high school friends that they are dipshits, by the way.) I identify so strongly with Mickey’s words, though.  

And, after my divorce, I’ve realized that I really do still want some version of the American Dream.

 After some deliberation over the past year and a half, I’ve decided I really would like to eventually get married again. With the right partner, I would like to have kids (ideally whole ones, and before my eggs start to desiccate, which is its own fun timeline issue…) I would like to have a healthy work/life balance and a cute home-type apparatus in which to live. With a full sized fridge. 
So here I am, at age 31, setting out once again to do the damn thing, if the American Dream happens to smile upon me again. 

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On Things I Think About Talking About With My Ex Wife, or Conversations That Could Be But Shouldn’t

On Things I Think About Talking About With My Ex Wife, or Conversations That Could Be But Shouldn’t

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I haven’t had a conversation with my ex wife in over a year, barring one short exchange on what would have been our second wedding anniversary last August.

Cutting off contact was definitely the way to go for me.  It’s the way I’ve always had to do things to heal.   Talking with exes has always ripped the scab off my wounds, exposing the tender pink flesh underneath.

But, of course, every once in a while, I get curious.  I think that maybe I would like to check in on her life.

Continue reading “On Things I Think About Talking About With My Ex Wife, or Conversations That Could Be But Shouldn’t”

On My New Normal, or Moving On After My Divorce

On My New Normal, or Moving On After My Divorce

It has now been one year and eight months since shit began to hit the fan with my marriage.

Next month, it will be one year since my divorce was finalized.

I moved halfway across the country and began a new job one year and three months ago.

I moved into my current, cozy little studio apartment with my dumpstercat Chet one year ago this week.

I began casually dating eight months ago, convinced that I wanted to “play the field” and try out “ethical non-monogamy.”

About five months ago, I began dating this super cool guy, and about three months ago, I realized that I had no interest in non-monogamy or “playing the field” anymore and I was perfectly content to be in a “real” relationship again.  No anxiety about what I could be missing, etc.  And no weird residual hangups about my divorce.  It’s pretty awesome.

I have settled into my new life.  My New Normal.  Nestled into the cozy reliability of a routine, a steady paycheck, a great health insurance plan (for now…), a place of my own, and reliable snuggles.

Continue reading “On My New Normal, or Moving On After My Divorce”

On My Journey to Being A Bleeding-Heart-Liberal, or How My Christian College Made Me This Way

On My Journey to Being A Bleeding-Heart-Liberal, or How My Christian College Made Me This Way

CW:  Homophobic slurs, gay bashing, hate speech against people of color

I was born into one of those nuclear families, with two parents who were still together, one slightly younger sister, and various dogs, cats, bunnies, lizards and an ill-fated hedgehog.

spaanstra-family
Our church photo from the early 1990s.  My sister and I were wearing dresses my mom made for us.
We went to church every Sunday, and lived in a conservative area in the Midwest, surrounded by the homogeneity of other blonde haired, blue eyed people of predominantly Dutch heritage.

Continue reading “On My Journey to Being A Bleeding-Heart-Liberal, or How My Christian College Made Me This Way”

On My Marriage or How Forever Turned Into One Year

On My Marriage or How Forever Turned Into One Year

TW: brief discussion of self injury and not-quite-suicidal thoughts

Five years ago this Friday, I started dating the woman who would be my wife.

Two years ago today, I married the woman I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

Photo by Carolyn Sinon

One year ago today, she asked for a divorce.

Today, I’m half a country and worlds away from where I was last year, and I’m doing so amazingly well.

Things all work out.
But what happened?

Continue reading “On My Marriage or How Forever Turned Into One Year”

On Dating Again or How My Divorce Has Kinda Messed Me Up For Any Future Partners

Yep. It’s happening.
This upcoming Tuesday would have been my 2nd wedding anniversary, and this Friday, my ex wife and I would have been together for five years.

And I’m dipping my toes back into the dating pool.

And it’s weird AF.

Continue reading “On Dating Again or How My Divorce Has Kinda Messed Me Up For Any Future Partners”

On Soulmates, or What Do Plato, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Elite Daily Have in Common?

Note:  This post gets pretty quote-heavy, but bear with me!

The word “soulmate” is tossed around a lot.

It means different things for different people. Some think that there is one person out there in the world that they are destined to be with, and that is their soulmate. They will be the most perfectly compatible and complimentary couple in all ways.

I never quite subscribed to that philosophy. People are so unique, there are always going to be aspects that aren’t perfect.

And, after going through a divorce, perhaps I’ve become a bit jaded, in that nothing is as it seems.

Continue reading “On Soulmates, or What Do Plato, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Elite Daily Have in Common?”