Wednesday, August 08, 2012
I remember well being in my late 20's and wondering if I'd ever find "the one." I knew I wanted to have children and I even remember having a conversation with my mom and saying that if by the time I was 30 and still had no prospects, I'd consider single motherhood. Older me now laughs at my young naiveté. When a friend suggested we check out Matchmaker International, I was game. They were the first in the "we'll find you a love match" business, and I figured, what the heck. If I could give them my "OK" and "not OK" list and they could narrow down prospective dates, I was game. Husband was my third date. We met August 11th, he proposed November 11th, and we were married February 9th the following year. After only six months. Six months. We scratch our heads after 22+ years and say, "What the heck were we thinking?" I was almost 28 years old with no clue of who I was or what I wanted in life, or in a partner really.
Sam was born two years later and I became a mom at 30. I fully shifted into the full and complete caregiver mode. I was a wife and a mother and a nurse. I gave and gave and gave.... to everyone, but me. Three years later, Sam was diagnosed with autism, and I became "the fixer and rescuer" who was going to do everything in my power to eradicate the autism out of my son. With steadfast determination and myopic focus, my own life was further put on the back burner. My weight ballooned as I nurtured myself with food. I'm not sure exactly how I got through all those years emotionally, as I felt so alone and so isolated doing it all by myself. Finally, finally... the brakes went on. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of how I ate and ate and began to do the work of healing myself from the inside. Part of that was learning who Jayne was, as I really did not know her. The weight was shed and what emerged was someone who would no longer settle for the status quo. Part of seeing myself as worthy and wonderful meant shedding and changing relationships with people who were used to my putting in all the effort and being the proverbial door mat.
I am a completely different person than I was in this photo. I've changed so much, and yet I am still evolving daily. I can easily see now why so many marriages end at this point in the game. When kids are older, menopause is upon you, and the focus has to shift inward for sanity's sake, it's a game changer. One spouse is used to the relationship being what it's always been, from one end at least... other-focused. But there comes a time when it truly has to become self-focused, and that's when all bets are off. I don't want to feel responsible for "taking care" of everyone and everything and resent the implication that I should. As a matter of fact, I wish someone would "take care" of me for once. I've never had that... seems like it might be a mighty nice thing. This seems to be a universal theme among women who reach 50. There is much compromising that needs to take place for marriages to survive this time when partners look in the mirror and say, "What about me?" It takes open and honest conversation to navigate these waters. I find myself now contemplating how I want to spend the next 20-30 years of my life. Transitions are about change and growth, and honestly owing who you are and who you want to be. It's all part of living an authentic life.