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402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Tag: people

When Getting Divorced Isn’t Terrible

Ok. So. Divorce. 

I had one last year. Which is maybe a strange way to put it, because it’s not like having the flu or having COVID, which I also had last year. It’s a thing that stretches backwards and forwards from the moment it’s official. It can’t be pinned down to a series of days or specific symptoms.

It stretches backwards, in that the fog starts to clear on the pathway that led the two of you to that moment. It goes forwards, in that the path that leads away from that moment is quite different than the one you imagined you were on. There’s a different collection of people on it. A different amount of money. A different living arrangement.

And the moment itself is so… quiet. It’s clicking “yes” to put your e-signature on a document and then texting your former partner a cheers emoji. It’s reading books to your child that evening the way you always do and wrangling them back to bed an hour after bedtime like you always do. It’s watering a plant and wondering if it’s your plant or his plant. “Who bought this plant?” you think. “Should we have been keeping track of who bought this plant?”

It’s not a ceremony. It’s a slow pitter patter through spreadsheets and assets and schedules and then a soft little sigh.

As far as divorces go, ours was easy. It was respectful and straightforward and free of drama. Much like our marriage, in all honesty. 

This is difficult to explain to people. These things should be hard. “Well. Other things were hard,” I say. And people nod politely.

Someone asked me once how I felt about having a failed marriage. Did I feel like a failure? It wasn’t a mean question. It was a curious question. But it had never occurred to me that our marriage had failed. It was successful and then it ended. 

Can a successful marriage end in divorce? In my case, we released ourselves from our legal contract before we were angry and resentful. We took care of ourselves so that we could take care of our child. Together, but in separate houses. The same combination of care and emotional independence that was present in our marriage is now present in our divorce.

Things aren’t perfect. But they’re very good.

I travel around the bed at night sometimes. I find myself sleeping across it the wide way or in a diagonal or with a limb trapped partially under my cat. When I wake up and realize that I’ve traveled, I feel distantly curious about it. Was I dreaming? Have I always traveled but maybe I held myself in place with the barrier of another human body? Sometimes on my “parent nights” I wake up and my son has crawled into bed with me and lodged his feet into my stomach, where it’s warm and soft. It’s both comforting and annoying. 

I ask myself periodically if I’m lonely. Like, “Really, how are you?” And the answer keeps coming back that I’m good. I’m settled. I’m grounded. My child is settled and grounded. I’m still vaguely salty that I had to relinquish my retirement account and the nice car. But that salt will dissolve. What’s left is the feeling that we did the right thing. 

I would call that success.

Me and the afore-mentioned cat

Day 138: What to Expect from Your Job

In my three decades on Earth, I feel really lucky to have had many different jobs in many different fields. I’ve been a grant writer, catering server, adjunct professor, administrative assistant, marketing manager, barista, hotel sales coordinator, yoga instructor, writer, production manager, cleaning lady, lighting designer, babysitter, stage manager, DJ (not so great at the DJing, as it turns out), program coordinator, sales associate and research assistant. Right now, I’m a contract content producer (and I love it).

My history gives me what I’d call a pretty well-rounded perspective on what makes a good job. So here are eight things you should expect from your place of employment:

1. Challenges. Tiny ones, quick ones, long ones and gigantic ones. If you’re not being challenged, your brain is probably dying.

2. Like-minded people. People who understand your satisfaction with a beautifully organized Google doc (for example), and who can empathize with you when things aren’t going quite right. These people keep you grounded.

3. Different-minded people. People who are able to look at a situation from angles you didn’t even know existed and pull metaphorical rabbits out of metaphorical hats. These people keep you on your toes.

4. A way for you to move around and not sit or stand in the same place all day long. Whether it’s a nice outdoor space or a mobile indoor situation in which you can work wherever feels productive, good jobs let you move.

5. Good tea and coffee. And some healthy snacks. Simple pleasures make a big difference.

6. Quiet space where you can focus without distraction. It’s important that you’re able to plow through a problem or a project uninterrupted when you need to.

7. Distractions. Being able to adapt and switch gears based on the needs of the people around you is an important skill that will serve you in all areas of life. You might as well hone it at your job.

8. Laughter. You should be skeptical of anyone who wants to be serious for eight or more hours straight. Human beings are built to laugh.

Happy jobbing.

Day 46: Cats and Dogs

I started a super cool new contract position at a creative agency yesterday, and will be spending the next few months learning more about cats than I ever dreamed I would know.

Yes, cats.

In the process, I’m sure I’ll learn a bit about dogs, too—but mostly cats. In perusing the brand voice files yesterday to learn more about a particular cat and dog food company, I came across a really interesting chart about the differences between cat and dog pet owners, and how they view their relationships with their animals.

Which made me curious about the differences between my cat and dog-owning friends.

If you have a cat or a dog, why did you choose the animal you chose? And how do you view your pretty pet? As a friend? A child? A sibling? What were you looking for when you found and/or adopted him or her?

I realize the relationship distinctions above require thinking of your animal in human terms; but thinking in human terms is how we make sense of all of our relationships, so it’s not that strange. I freely admit that I view Brian Boitano as my independent roommate (except when he needs food or clean water—then, he’s my little buddy). He’s my company when I come home and he is decidedly not warm or snuggly.

If my lifestyle supported a furry friend, I always imagined I’d run around with a dog. But with all the interesting things I’m learning about felines, I can no longer be sure. I’ll have to discuss it with my new four-legged co-worker, Waffles (pictured).


Day 3: Seven Types

Here is a list of seven types people you should probably have in your life (in no particular order):

The Unconditional. Even if you accidentally set your own hair on fire while blowing out the candles on your birthday cake, The Unconditional will still think you’re tops.

The Supportive Skeptic. You can count on The Supportive Skeptic for pretty much anything (helping you move, jump-starting your car, bailing you out of jail, etc.), but s/he is not convinced that all of your decisions are good ones. You know you’re in skeptic territory when you hear a lot of silence.

The Blunt One. Wondering if you should retire those 12-year-old jeans with the “tiny” hole near the back pocket? The answer is yes. In fact, you didn’t even have to ask, because The Blunt One has been telling you to get rid of those jeans for almost a decade.

The Internet Fiend. The Fiend knows a good meme within five seconds of its arrival on YouTube. S/he is your unending source of sloth videos, animations, auto-tunes and obscure blogs. Remember Peanut Butter Jelly Time? The Fiend invented it.

The Naysayer. Not only is that movie you suggested terrible, the coffee shop you frequent is full of fascists. The Naysayer knows more about most things than you do, and you can count on him/her to cause you an occasional epiphany (“This organic deodorant is giving me cancer!”).

The Peacemaker. Rather than debate “goose” or “grey duck,” The Peacemaker will change the game to “grey goose” to get everyone to play. S/he is happy when everyone is happy.

The Up-for-Anything. Want to leave a pile of burnt cookies on the neighbor’s doorstep? Sure! Want to glue a paper cutout of a dog to a stick and walk him around the mall? Definitely! The Up-for-Anything doesn’t care what you do together as long as it’s something.