Married with children. Didn’t someone do a sitcom on that once?
When I was ‘Married with Children’… I’ll admit. I got comfortable. Not as in sitting-on-my-couch-eating bon-bons type of comfortable. More like sprinting in a crazy-rat-race-of-expectations-to-try-and-be-everything-to-everybody type of comfortable.
It doesn’t sound too comfortable, does it? But what happened was that taking on anything new was out of the question and completely uncomfortable. So, I just… didn’t.
Nowadays, I have a different perspective. I’m mostly out of ‘that’ rat race but maybe in a different kind of race. The single-Mom-with-shared-custody-race. It’s completely different with its own sets of challenges and rewards. Not better. Not worse. Just different.
But in some ways, I feel calmer, in general, knowing that sometimes I will fail. Even fail big. But knowing it won’t be the end of the world if I do.
Given this, these days I find myself ‘game’ for all sorts of new places and new faces.
One important piece of this is the job I started last year. One that has been a pretty good fit especially as my old job was comfortable. This one has me out and about around town, involved in the business of the city and meeting lots of new people, learning lots of new things. Whether I want to or not. It’s an adrenaline high just to keep up and manage my schedule with my kids.
But what I’ve found is that I actually want to. Keep up, that is. And it’s not a deterrent from my kids or my life. I actually have capacity.
In addition to that, I’m lucky to have great groups of friends. Long-term friends and new acquaintances, in all walks of life. Inviting me to places when I used to say no.
No, because I ‘shouldn’t’ take time away from the kids.’ No, because I ‘felt guilty not spending the time with my husband.’ No, because I ‘should get things done around the house.’ And the list goes on. All, primarily self-induced.
Now, as a single Mom with joint custody, I recognize the choices I have. Choices, frankly I had before but thought that I didn’t.
The map to new places.
I can sit in my house and stare at my walls, never to be seen or heard from again. Or get out there and explore. What’s the risk? I might look ridiculous? As I’ve said, been there, done that. Got the complimentary t-shirt.
A few years ago, I had to be dragged out. And my friends and family obliged.Then, I started to go, more willingly, but still with trepidation.
Now, I really enjoy the new places, the new faces. And sometimes, I even seem to be the instigator.
In this process, I have to say, I’m acquiring some really great stories. Some that are downright hilarious. Some almost unbelievable. But most are just truly great experiences. With fun new people in fun new places that I would probably not have explored when I was “Married with Children.”
And the fact I didn’t explore them before is not the fault of my ex-husband. Not the fault of having children. Not some type of cosmic circumstance that I was dealt. It was my perspective, my capacity level and my moment in time that I mistook for forever.
Ultimately, it’s what I chose for myself.
So, now I’m choosing differently. What’s next? What will be my next new place? My next new face?
I really have absolutely no idea. But as I’ve said before… there’s only one way to find out.