Monday, October 31, 2011

A New Life

So what’s this new life I’m talking about?  I’m on the move again, and I’m heading to Houston, Texas!   I spent 35 wonderful years in Anchorage, Alaska.  I loved it.  I was young, a newlywed, and life was new and exciting.  The winters were cold and long, but the summers made up for it.  It didn’t notice the effort, and nothing was a struggle back then.  Well, except finances, I suppose; my husband and I were as broke as all young marrieds seem to be.

But life happened, and I found myself divorced at 49.  My husband—ex-husband—had been coming and going in my life for nearly two years, unable to commit to returning to me or staying with my ex-friend he’d first run off with.  Every time he left, I started back in the bottom of the pit of despond, tried to climb back out, and just about the time I was starting to find my footing, he’d come back.  It happened five times before I said, “No more!”

By then, I had to get out of Alaska.  Every time my ex took off, he did so without a word to anyone—including me, three of those times—and I was left not only to pick up the pieces of my life but to make explanations and excuses to friends.  I was so broken, so overwhelmed, so...persecuted, I had to leave.  I just didn’t have a purpose.

I spent some time in the Midwest with my elderly mom.  I visited friends.  And finally I landed in Houston, where my sister has lived with her family since the early 70s.  I found I liked it, and I stayed.  I got a job, bought a house, made friends, and slowly worked through many of my issues.  After 2-1/2 years, though, I was homesick.  Deeply, sincerely, I felt the need to return to Anchorage and see what, if anything, was left of my life there.

There were other reasons to return:  most notably, a house that I still owned with my ex-husband.  So I packed up my things, sold my house—in two weeks, no less!—and headed north.  I was glad to get back; it felt like home.  I reconnected with old friends, took care of the house, and even got a job.  And I spent some good, quality time figuring out how I felt about my marriage, my life in Alaska—with and without the ex—and discovering the person I’d become after everything I’d gone through.  They weren’t the kinds of things I could really talk about with people; they were things I felt, and I had to make sense of them, understand them to the depths of my soul,  and come to terms with what that meant for me, as a person, and for my future.

After nearly 18 months, I’ve decided that, as much as I love Alaska, Anchorage is no longer home in the same way it once was.  I don’t love the winter as I once did—especially the short daylight hours—and I’m tired of the isolation.  The cost of living is high and, as a woman providing for myself, I have to think of myself and my future.  I find that the person I became during that time in Houston is the new Wendy, and there’s no going back.

That came as something of a surprise to me.  I certainly didn’t expect it when I returned to Alaska.  On the other hand, I moved with an open mind, understanding instinctively that the only way to know what I want is to know what I don’t want.  And there’s no way to know that without trying.

So I tried.  Things didn’t quite work like I expected, but I have no regrets.  What’s to regret?  I gave it my best shot with an open mind and an open heart, and I moved one step closer to finding the place that’s right for me.  What else could I want?

Not much, I find, so here I go again...  I leave in a week, and I'll keep you posted.


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