Living My Best (Boring) Life
It happened while I wasn’t looking.
A shift from a topsy-turvy, runaway life of mindless shopping, men who were Not Good for me, and a stressful job I had outgrown to a quieter, more mindful existence.
The day-to-day escapism I used to create for myself through bad choices that temporarily brought me joy but left my heart seasick — it’s shapeshifted into this plodding, quiet space, a realm where I write workouts on my bathroom calendar, call old friends, water my orchid carefully each week, go home and write on Friday nights after work. An ocean after the storm, with grey skies, but calm, green waves, gently pulling themselves up the shore, over and over again.
It’s boring but wonderful.
I don’t feel much emotion about my ex-husband any more, which is saying a lot. Unable to let go of his anger about me finally leaving him, he drove us both into debt and hooked up with a former close friend of mine before our divorce was legal. He even abandoned our cats at an animal shelter without telling me, where they died alone.
I cried about all of these things, off and on, for a while.
Yet now he has become non-existent, a neutralized mistake I learned to grow beyond, like ivy climbing up an old gate. I know I’ve reached this point because last year, I wrote this searing essay about my ex-friend that would have hurt them both. But then I realized I had no desire to publish it. Maybe I’ll keep it as an unpublished draft on Medium, the way a museum might have a saber-toothed tiger on display, fierce and frozen in time.
My approach towards “fixing myself” has also changed. I lived between extremes for a while, either decadent dinners and drinks or spartan eating and relentless exercise plans. Nights out and passion, or missing the guy, worrying about what I was doing. Buying nothing for months or binging on clothes and facials. It was all driven by this idea that I was not good enough, that some part of me had to be adjusted before happiness came my way. But no one can live like that long term, and it dishonors the parts of me that were never bad to begin with.
Now I’ve mastered making a delicious, creamy cashew sauce but I still eat cheese from time to time. I call it Whole 30ish. It’s led to me slipping into baggier pants, stepping on the scale and noticing I lost a few pounds without trying, enjoying my old clothes again. I stand naked in my apartment, wrap a robe around my body and appreciate what I’ve got, even though no one is admiring it at the moment.
With men, it’s a little trickier.
Sometimes they look at me quickly and hopefully when we pass each other on the street or I’m sitting in a bar with my friends, and sometimes I look back, but most of the time I don’t. I pass no judgement on myself for whatever comes next: something casual, something unexpectedly serious, possibly love. But I’m not looking for it. I realize I don’t know how to see the right person yet. I’m not ready, and I’m honoring that.
Instead, I’m ready for building back my savings, now that I’ve paid off huge chunks of debt that were dragging me down. I’m ready to continue being what I like to call a budget tourist in Washington, D.C., my own lovely but expensive city, where you can see a talented jazz artist perform on an early Sunday evening at a nearby hotel for free, or wander through the National Gallery of Art on a Thursday night after work without paying anything.
I’m ready to mentor women and grow into my new job, which is creatively challenging and expanding my skills and experiences. I’m ready to take care of my friends, help them feel brave about making changes they want in their lives. I’m ready to give back more, to volunteer again, to keep writing and hopefully reaching hearts beyond my own.
I’m not quite out of the woods yet, though. I’m having a hard time trusting my ability to live my best but boring life.
I feel pretty certain good things are happening inside and out, but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The woman in me who still longs for surface and style and misses handsome but selfish lovers still secretly thinks that shoe is a pair of strappy gold sandals I’ve been coveting for months.
The woman I think I’m becoming, though, simply hopes for something comfortable I can walk in, in any direction I choose.
Living My Best (Boring) Life
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