About this time ever year, I get a little sentimental and reflective. August 22, would have marked my 19th wedding anniversary, if I had remained married. I was married in 1998, and divorced August 20th, 2008. Two days shy of 10 years. Divorce doesn’t happen the minute you separate from someone in Canada. We have to wait a minimum of one year before we are allowed to file. My separation took place two years before the divorce, so in actual fact, my marriage ended 11 years ago.
For many years after the end of my marriage, I would feel sadness during the “would-be” anniversary date. Time has happened, however, and so have my feelings. I no longer miss my ex-husband or the life we had. New holiday traditions have formed, lovers have come and gone, and I am not the same person I was back then. Unlike many people, my marriage did not end on a bitter or hateful note. My ex-husband was not an asshole; he didn’t cheat, he treated me ok, and I cared for him deeply. Sometimes, things just aren’t meant to be forever. We were young when we married, and we were not equipped to handle the difficult childhoods we had come from. We needed eachother for a time, and we (or at least I) learned from the experience.
I still thing back, however, on our anniversary. The memories I used to cry over have faded, but I’m reminded of where I was in life at the time. The struggles I had then, and the struggles I still had to face. Years have passed, and I’ve made mistakes, failed, and picked myself back up many times. I don’t have any illusions that I have completely figured out my life, but I do feel wiser and more settled. I’m now in my 40s, and I feel a certain peace with myself. I’ve grown to love myself, and I allow myself to feel proud of who I am. I’ve learned to accept and forgive myself, and I’m generally happy with where I am in life.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 19 years since I walked down the isle. So long ago, when I naively believed I had all the answer. Life goes by in the blink of an eye, and it’s not until we are older do we start to appreciate our days. Probably because we know how few days we have left. Aging is bittersweet.