It's funny how life can change in an instant. One moment I am walking into the house to talk about what I wanted for my birthday with my wife and then the next you are reading a note, finding out you are single. You learn real quick what a deer feels like when it sees headlights. And then there is the impact with what is behind those headlights.
With that little seven word note, everything I had known for over 15 years, almost 13 in marriage, was gone. I remember standing there stunned, wondering if it was all just a dream.
As the days wore on it seemed exactly like the kind of nightmares people have. Nothing made sense, everything was out of sorts and I'm pretty sure the world was black and white, but that could have just been the alcohol distorting my vision.
Unfortunately my vision wasn't distorted when I took a long hard look at myself. It didn't take me long to realize I didn't have any "Husband of the Year" trophies on my mantle, although I had plenty of work and sports awards. I looked in the mirror and saw that I had stopped trying all together, leaving the door open for jackals seeking easy prey.
As the days dragged on I went on the "My Wife Left Me Diet" and lost an amazing 38 pounds in a month. Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers only wish they could get results like that. I thought about doing a commercial and marketing the plan, but people kept telling me how bad I looked. I thought greenish hue and dark, sunken eyes was the in thing. Guess I can cancel my plans to be a runway model for skinny jeans.
There came a point though where I could have gone one of two ways. Instead of taking the route where I get a tattoo and fall for the first person who was nice to me, like some have been known to do, I decided I needed to fix myself.
So, ever the reader, I bought such classics as "How to Survive Adultery," "Overcoming Lies" and "The Idiots Guide to Hiring a Hitman." Unfortunately I didn't read any marriage handbooks 13 years before or even to listen to those wise souls who kept telling me "you can do better." I guess we live and learn.
And that is what I did: I began to live and learn, which is the only way I could fix myself. The first thing I learned was I could come and go as I please without having to check in with the boss. Being able to come and go as I wanted led me to realize that there are actually people out there having fun. Did you know that people like to do more than go out to dinner and to the occasional movie? I had no idea, but now that I did, it was time for me to start living.
So I started having some of that fun, going to the lake, piano bars, wine tastings, baseball games, football games and concerts. By being single I actually had money I could spend which meant I could do other fun things I always wanted to do, like travel to Colorado and Florida.
I also had money to change my wardrobe, which was a necessity since losing nearly 40 pounds leaves you with very little that doesn't fall off when you sneeze or move for that matter. Gone from the closet were all the old clothes that didn't fit and clothes that I wore just to make others happy.
And while I was throwing things away, I learned there is nothing more therapeutic than burning old pictures, decapitating stuffed animals, donating old clothes and destroying anything with a sunflower I could find in my home. (Oh sunflowers, how I have always hated thee.) After the "cleansing" as I called it was like a 200 pound burden being lifted off my shoulders and given to somebody else.
Of course my biggest adjustment was learning how to date again. Entering the dating world is a lot like being a newborn baby. There are a lot of clueless looks, crying and everything is new. But my learning continued and I realized there are actually people of the opposite sex that like me. Wow, who knew?
So here I am, 38, single and starting over all while realizing there is a lot left for me to learn. It is almost like I am getting a do over, although this time I realize how quickly life can change. Only if it changes again, I hope it isn't in the form of a note.