Thursday, November 20, 2014

Scorched Earth Cleaning and Life Lessons

As readers of this blog or my followers on Twitter (@iferlohmann) know, I'll be divorced come December. The end of a marriage is heartbreaking, it's true, but I'm at the end of the state-mandated one-year separation period and am at a point in the process where I am building my own life. This means learning to enjoy my life as me and not as part of a couple. And the freedom is pretty great, especially when it comes to my house. The walls are painted the colors I want them to be, the art is art I want, and the house is as clean as I want it to be.*

Throughout this process, I've been mindful to evaluate how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking about my new life and my new future. One of the lessons I should know from writing novels is that as soon as you think you've got your shit together, you realize you've been pulling the wool over your own self and that realization comes in ways you couldn't predict.

In my case, it came as I was hunting for Halloween costumes.

My ex-husband is a pack rat. And my first sign that I was healing emotionally was that I started cleaning, really cleaning. I took boxes home from work and went through closests, the attic, dressers, etc, packing up whatever I hadn't used in years and taking it to the Goodwill. There's still stuff to be gotten rid of, but I realized I had to take a break. I thought I'd been thoughtful about each item that had gone into a box, but the week before Halloween, I learned I hadn't been as mindful as I thought.

I'd gotten rid of most of my Halloween costumes.

I work in a public library and most of us dress up for Halloween for an entire week before the actual holiday. I don't need one Halloween costume; I need seven. And I'd built up many costumes over the years. I was using those random pieces of clothing. But in what had been a scorched-earth cleaning frenzy, I threw away small but important pieces of my life. When I packed up a vest, I saw only a vest I don't wear, I didn't see a key piece in my cowgirl Halloween costume. And I did this for a number of items--never for the whole costume, but always for the piece that makes or breaks the costume.

Now, not only am I building my new life, but I'm also building my new costume collection.

I probably needed the reminder that I'm not as mindful as I'd like to think I am. Or perhaps the lesson here isn't to be more mindful, but to be less confident in how much thinking and evaluating every last details prevents me from doing something stupid. Overthinking doesn't stop me from occasionally being an idiot, it just means my idiocy comes as more of a surprise.

What about you? Have you gotten life lessons in unexpected places?

*Don't get me wrong, I think marriage to someone you love and respect, someone who really sees and understands you, is worth compromising paint colors and a vacuumed floor for. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be writing romance novels.

1 comment:

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

Jennifer,

First all of big congratulations for your RT reviewers Best book of 2014 nomination. Great news during this difficult time. I learned the most after my Dad died when he was only 62 to treausre each day and live for the moment not the future.

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