Looking back, I have remarkably few regrets in life. There are events it would have been infinitely more comfortable to have avoided, a few others I would very much like to have turned out differently, but wishing isn’t going to change anything and, at worst, I’ve learned lessons that will influence future decisions.
Like so many others, too much of my earlier life was devoted to trying to appease the expectations of everyone around me. Having found the strength in my mid-thirties to pull free and stand up for myself, it is unsurprising that being independent became so important in my life. As recently as May 2011, I blogged somewhat facetiously about wanting to close my own doors.
Closing doors was one of many life lessons I learned at the time of the divorce. It had taken four years to accept that, almost fifteen years in, nothing was going to improve a rocky relationship and moving away to a different playing field had quite seriously become a matter of survival. Making that move set off a string of decisions that left a trail of hollow friendships and associations behind me. It was far from easy at times and I didn’t have a game plan to guide me. One of the only things I remember resenting about the failed marriage was the difficulty I had in finding my own identity and interests again.
Two years ago today I ended a relationship of four years because it wasn’t going anywhere. I felt I would be happier on my own than with someone who wasn’t able to stop looking back over his shoulder to the extent that his failed marriage travelled the road alongside our relationship and sometimes sat between us and behaved badly. That is not a decision I regret but the last week or two has given me reason to look back at how I’ve handled the period since. I still relish my independence but, in closing one door, I unintentionally closed a whole row of them by cutting myself off socially, surrounding myself with myself.
After hours I’ve become absorbed in solitary hobbies and our pets and have felt little need to have people around me. It was recent unexpected correspondence that brought home to me how fully I’ve isolated my personal life from the wider world and how inept I’ve become at letting people in. I don’t know if a fledgling friendship has been blown out of the water but the laughter and feeling like I’d met a like mind has been the incentive needed to rethink the island I’ve become.
And so, with toes unfurled, I venture forth into forgotten waters.