The Colombian took me out for a drink the other night and he asked me to assess the state of my spirits.
Because, he said, he could see that I was struggling.
I gave him a quick overview of the topography of Unhappistan. Major tourist highlights, and all that.
As I have mentioned, the Colombian has been where I am. So he had something to tell me. And because of that, I’m inclined to listen.
His headline was this: move on.
Draw a line. Wrap it up. Stop thinking he’s coming back. He isn’t. Drop it. Forge a new path.
Don’t think of yourself as regressing, he said. Think of every step you take as moving forward.
And can I just take a moment to propose a question?
Do I not have the kindest, wisest, most amazing friends in the history of human civilization?
I’ll save you the trouble of answering.
Yes. Yes, I do.
So I spent the better part of the next day thinking about what the Colombian had said. And what it mean in concrete terms. To move on. Because the Colombian took me in hand. He meant what he said.
Should I take up tango? French? Surfing?
I should mention at this point that I have a meeting with my ex this week. We have to talk business. The date I have chosen is February 14th. And yes, I know I probably should have chosen a less emotionally loaded day than the traditional pagan festival of Lupercalia. But it’s done now. I’m a masochist. What?
So it’s bringing up stuff. Because I know this time last year my husband was perfecting his exit strategy. He had met the woman he vastly preferred to me, so he was getting ready to leave. He just hadn’t told me yet. He was still pretending he loved me .
It’s hard to think about. I can’t help not think about it.
So I’m thinking about being unhappy and how little I care for it.
One year on, I don’t enjoy crying very much.
I don’t particularly like feeling like a complete worthless human being.
I’m sure there are better states of mind.
I’m bored with it.
So I started to draw up a list of things that make me happy. Things that might draw me out of my present state.
In no particular order, the list goes as follows.
I like to sing. I like to dance. I like to write. I love cracking wise with my sarcastic, clever, achingly funny friends.
I like to swim. I like to meet new people. And although I don’t eat much these days, I like to cook.
I like to grow vegetables.
And there are the other things that I don’t enjoy doing, but make me feel better after I’ve done them.
As a novelist friend once said, “I don’t enjoy writing, but I do enjoy having written.”
I’m not like that. I enjoy writing. Always.
But there are things that I don’t enjoy at the time. Mostly they have to do with numbers. Getting on top of my taxes. Getting on top of my finances. I know that I need to stop shirking adult life.
All of those things were cycling through my brain today as I reflected on my Unhappistan exit.
Because it’s time to leave. The Colombian made that very clear. Get the visas, get the passport, or dig the damn tunnel with a freaking teaspoon. Just do it.
My friends are sick of seeing me unhappy, and I concur with them. I’m bored with it too.
Nostalgia, the Colombian said, was my enemy. I was holding onto something that no longer exists.
It’s time to let go.
I accept that. I just wonder what it means in practical terms.
What does moving on really mean?
So I thought about it, and I realized that the Colombian had provided the answer, although I didn’t hear it when he said it.
But it occurred to me today when I was drinking my afternoon coffee.
The Colombian told me that in order to move on, I have to forgive.
I have to drop my narrative.
I have to forgive my ex for the clumsy, graceless and cruel way he excused himself from our marriage.
And I have to acknowledge my own faults. Because demolishing a marriage involves two people. Not one.
Which means I have to forgive him. And I have to forgive me.
That’s the first step on the journey out of Unhappistan.