Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Today is my UNversary…that is, the date that’s NOT my anniversary. Had I stayed married, today would have marked thirty seven years of marriage. THIRTY SEVEN YEARS!!!! How could it be possible that I could have done ANYTHING for thirty seven years….I’m waaaaaaay too young!

Anyway, the point is that I always stop on this date and think how glad I am that I was finally able to get up the courage to end my marriage. Well, maybe courage isn’t exactly the right word, because I didn’t go about things in a way that I’m proud of, but the end result was that I was able to finally feel confident enough to make it on my own.

When you’ve been married since you were seventeen, when you’ve gone from your parent's house to a house with your husband, when you’ve never held a fulltime job, when all you have is a GED and no skills, when you have two small children to think about…..well, for me divorce was never much of an option. Where would I go? How could I support myself and my kids? Where would I work?

I don’t think my first husband was or is a bad person. He just wasn’t the right person for me. I was never able to get him to see just how wrong we were for each other. He didn’t change much over the course of our marriage, but I did, and for that he never forgave me. When I told him I wanted a divorce, he tried to talk me out of it by saying that in a few years the kids would be gone and then it would be just the two of us. How could I tell him THAT’S what made me realize I wanted a divorce in the first place?

I guess this will come off sounding tacky, or bitchy at best, hypocritical and mean-spirited at worst, but it’s the truth. And on top of that, I have to say that the two years I spent as a single woman were absolutely fabulous!  Yes, I worked two jobs, went to college part-time, had two kids in high school and no social life, but I was my own boss! I could come and go as I pleased, although with my schedule that was more of a theoretical advantage than a real one.

At thirty four year of age, for the first time in my life I was independent! I guess I really had missed out on what most people do in their late teens and early twenties. And no, I don’t mean lots of sex, lots of drinking and lots of late nights. I never did any of those things, but it was just the IDEA that I could do whatever I wanted that just absolutely made me high!

Eventually, after two years of being single, and after sort of resigning myself to the fact that I would always be single, I met Art. After two years of constant work, constant school and no social life, let alone a love life, I met Art.

To say that I fell head over heels in lust is putting it mildly. Not having sex for two years was no big deal…I’m into quality, not quantity, but it was more than just sex. It was also the camaraderie, the friendship, the feeling of knowing that someone was waiting (anxiously!) for you to get home from work…it was that and so much more that I’d missed without even realizing it.

I don’t regret my first marriage because to me that would be akin to saying that I regret having my kids, and I don’t regret them at all. I do regret the years that I wasted, the years that I spent too scared and too ignorant to prepare myself for a new life.

One of my favorite sayings is “The Lord helps him who helps himself”, and that’s what life’s all about. I’m glad that I was able to seize the moment, make my way into the world and find what I was looking for….a sense of self and independence, and once I had that I was able accept what came my way.

And so that’s why on August 2nd of every year I always think about what might have been if I’d never gotten divorced. No Art. No fun. No sixteen countries under my belt. I'd never have seen Hawaii, or San Francisco, or Turkey. I certainly wouldn't be living in Italy. Even more so than my wedding anniversary with Art, today is the day when I remember what could have been….and how much I would have missed.

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At 8/02/2006 11:27:00 AM , Anonymous linda said...

Wow! I thought your move to Italy was inspiration enough, but it's your life story that's even more inspirational. Thanks again for sharing and reminding us that one should never be complacent.

At 8/03/2006 08:37:00 AM , Anonymous Annie M said...

Did I write that? Nope, but awfully close!

September 21st is my unversary and it will be 38 years. Married at 18, a mom at 19; I realized within one year what a big mistake this marriage was. It took me 6 years to work up the courage to get out of it.

Then I met my "good, real, true" husband and we just celebrated our 28th anniversary on July 29th.

Those are both BIG numbers - and I don't feel old enough to have achieved either of them as anniversaries...how time flies!

I hope to meet you and Art some day, Barb. Your blog always has something of interest for me. As well as the fact that I love vicariously living in Italy through you :)

At 8/03/2006 03:14:00 PM , Blogger Kelly said...

Hi Barb, read your blog and am in awe. My husband desperately wants to leave the U.S. and move to Italy just as you and Art did. I'm in graduate school and I have 4 children in school. One is a senior so I for sure wouldn't do anything this year, but the idea is very tempting. We are visiting tuscany and umbria in 10 days! I know you said that you are retired does Art work now? Tell your friends good luck with the renovation of their home, and I'll continue to read your posts.

At 8/08/2006 04:04:00 PM , Anonymous Carolyn said...

WAY TO GO BARB!! You took charge of your life! How many of us actually do just that. Look where you are now because of a good decision. You have your soul mate and you are living your dream in Italy!!

Thanks for reminding us all things are possible. I love your blog!


At 7/30/2008 06:59:00 AM , Blogger leah said...

Hi Barb it my first time to read your blog but it realy sound great an make me think about it not tired to read it several time.


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