Tuesday, April 22, 2014

So What's Your Plan??

Every Saturday when I stop in to get breakfast, Deli Guy asks me, "What's your plan?"  Most weeks  I tell him I don't know. He thinks I am playing with him. But, the truth is I sometimes have no freaking idea what I am doing. He usually means my plan for the day, like immediately after leaving the deli what will I do. It is a simple question. There should be a simple answer.  I don't always know. Often my plan is ~ make it through the work week without getting fired, make sure I keep the kids fed and clean and exhale on Friday. Say goodbye to the kids on Saturday morning as they leave with their Dad. Then get breakfast at the deli. End of plan.

Deli Guy seems so disappointed when I don't have a plan to share. Sometimes I am tempted to make one up. But, I don't.  Sometimes he will suggest- are you going shopping? getting your nails done? Taking a road trip? Those sound like good ideas and sometimes I incorporate them into my day.  However, in general after I eat breakfast I usually get in my car and then figure it out from there. It depends on my mood, who is around to hang out with, what events I must attend, what I can skip, etc.  Sometimes I do have something planned, but don't feel like doing whatever it is. So plans change.

Now that it has been months and months of no plan,  Deli Guy is starting to wonder not only what will I do when I walk out the door of the building, but what will I do with my life?

Who knows?!

Is it important to have a plan?

I used to think there was a significance to it. I mean a Life Plan seemed like a big deal in my 20s.  I
planned to find The One, get married, have babies, buy a McMansion, travel the world, hopefully have a meaningful career, live happily ever after. I checked a few things off the list so far. More traveling is still in my plan. I am convinced (maybe naively) that happily ever after exists so it's still part of the plan.

And….some things you just cannot plan for.

There is a quote floating around that I love, "Tell God your plan and he will laugh." So true!
Really does anyone have a plan? Even if you do, does it matter? Life can change in an instant and so what was the whole point of the plan?

I do feel like a loose plan for the general living of life has some meaning. Like my "5 year plan" is to survive the day to day, keep my house and make sure my kids can stay in the same school, hopefully not drown in debt, don't screw the kids up too much and pray that somehow they stay awesome.  Also, discover the people, places and things that inspire me to live life to the fullest. That seems like a good plan. I have 4 more years to see if I achieve those lofty goals.

Beyond that? God only knows.

Plans are different after Divorce. Also, life changes after you watch a parent battle Cancer in the their brain. I have learned that nothing is forever. Nothing is set in stone. Life is ever changing and fluid. No contract can protect you. There are no guarantees.

That is not necessarily a bad thing.

Most of the time I feel like I took a flying leap off a very high cliff and I have been falling through the air with no landing in sight. Perpetually free falling is exhausting and knowing there is no safety net is scary.

But, there is freedom in not having a set plan. When it's not exhausting and scary, developing a new plan is exciting and fun. Who knows where it will lead.

I started my Saturday trips to the deli to escape my house after the apocalypse of my personal life. It was to get out from where disaster had struck, to avoid the inevitable arguments that came with close proximity.  After, the dust had settled and life regained a new sense of normalcy I realized I liked the deli and the staff is insightful. Much cheaper than therapy and the coffee is incredible.

It cracks me up that Deli Guy still thinks I have an amazing Master Plan hidden within me somewhere. At least I appear to be someone that knows what the hell I am going to do with my life. It gives me hope that maybe I do.

I may not have a fully developed plan together yet, but I have a motto: Hope Floats Bitch!
The rest we will have to see about...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Takin' out the Trash

Divorced people arguing is similar to a dog chasing it's own tail; you go round and round in circles, but never actually make any progress. Despite an amicable divorce, Oz and I can debate pretty much anything. Last month, our son had surgery. While we sat in the waiting room we watched Good Morning America. Seemed harmless enough. One of the hosts was being given a party. I thought it seemed like a baby shower since the balloons were pink, blue and white. Oz thought it was a wedding shower because of the white balloons. I noticed a gift basket being presented to her with baby bottles in it. But, Oz insisted it must be for a wedding because he watches the show and I don't and he had heard that the woman was getting married. In the end, it was revealed that she had in fact gotten married over the weekend AND had announced her pregnancy. SO we were both right.
And then…we debated the age of one of the guests Jenna Bush. I thought she looked older, Oz thought younger. I felt her make-up and hairstyle aged her. And on and on until Oz looked it up on google and revealed her age was younger than I thought.  Score one for Oz.

Next, we got into whether or not Bruno Mars was actually playing the drums live during the Super Bowl. At that point, the woman sitting next to us spoke up. The poor soul had been trapped in a tiny waiting room with us. She said, "Wow, I can't wait to see who wins this round."  OMG! I was so embarrassed for us.

The thing is no one wins. It just keeps going. I informed her that there would be no winner, but in the end one of us would leave because we are divorced. She seemed surprised. A lot of people are surprised to find that we are divorced.  She revealed to us that she wished she could get divorced too. I highly recommended it to her. Her poor husband was undergoing surgery while we discussed her running away and never looking back.

But, that is divorced fighting. Circular. The topic can be anything. The results are always the same. There is no winner. It is not much different than married fighting, except it always ends with one person leaving.

Unlike married fighting, there is nothing sacred about it. You don't have to be on your best behavior. There are no rules like "don't go to bed angry." There is nothing to protect either person from the unleashing of built up resentment and anger.  You just dump it all out and pray the other person loves your children enough to not destroy you.

It seems at first like divorce fighting is easier than married fighting because you know how it ends. But, it is actually worse.  You have to work twice as hard to resolve issues and you have more to lose because nothing ties you. There is no contract. It is null and void.  Yet, you are bound to the children you have created and their lives can and will be destroyed by your actions against either parent. So for their mental health you work it out. You resolve issues. You move the fuck on.

No matter what we fight about we have managed to smooth things over enough to have a peaceful life. No one has any extra energy to stay angry and what would be the point of it anyway? So in everyone's best interest things get let go. Rehashed several times over and over and brought up many months down the road in a conversation completely unrelated to the actual issue.  But, let go for all intents and purposes so that everyone can live daily life without being dragged down.

One thing that has not changed is that Oz takes out the trash at my house. By Divine providence, one of "his nights" with the kids also falls on "garbage night." So after the kids go to sleep he takes out the trash as he leaves. I am more than thrilled with this arrangement. Growing up the trash was always my brother's chore and when he moved out my Dad took care of it. After I got married that was Oz's job and one that I do not want to take over. The first week on my own I had to drag the trash out and I hated it. Not that I am not capable. Just don't love it. So Vincenzo took over helping out. I reminded Oz that "garbage night" was still the same and that technically his children make most of the garbage so it is really helping them when he takes it out.  Eventually after a couple weeks, Oz took over again.

It is a simple act - taking the trash out. But, the symbolism is there. Despite our differences, our inability to make forever work, there is something sacred about the family we have created. There is a stability in knowing we will do what needs to be done to ensure our children have good lives.

Only once in the past year and a half he told me to take out my own fucking garbage.  Most times the trash is quietly put out to the curb on his way out, I acknowledge it with a thank you as often as possible.

There are other times (like after one of our more heated arguments that occur monthly or every other month) I might receive a text messaged picture of my overflowing trash can. A subtle reminder from Oz.  The line is thin, tread carefully or take out your own trash! Or it can be a sign of forgiveness for something I have said or done. Or a peace offering from him for whatever I have found fault with at any given moment. Either way that blue can sitting out at the curb on Garbage Night equals Peacefulness. There is nothing more valuable to a divorced family than Peacefulness.