I’ve been on my own for a thousand days, following a bit more than twenty-two years of marriage—and I don’t want to calculate how many days that was. It feels good: every day a bit further from a long shadow.
But I’m not sure one can ever completely escape it. I’m no longer in my twenties. I’m not certain any more that a full-time, long-term relationship is a desirable or even a natural thing—see for instance Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality. And starting something now feels different; looking at dating site profiles I sense the scent of real desperation. But I’m not desperate, despite occasional loneliness and except in the sense that Leonard Cohen lamented regarding a time of life still distant to me: ‘one just wishes for someone to have dinner with now and then’ (I couldn’t find the original quote).
It’s mostly the possibility of a life of interminable financial servitude to my ex that supplies some sense of regret—not for the divorce but for the whole sorry story in the first place—and I think I must know a little of how the convict feels. The only advice I can offer here is: be damned sure; check the laws of your province/state and country, as in certain situations they certainly do not favour men; and consider pre-nuptials.
Here’s a (large) sparkline of my weight since my separation: hey, why not? Another data point.
F. Scott Fitzgerald apparently wrote that “there are no second acts in American lives.” I have no idea what book that might have been from, because I haven’t read him. In fact I first encountered the quote in a review of a Springsteen album when I was young, said album—The River (1980)—being devoted to identifying and exploring said second acts. Anyway, I’m Canadian. But I think the matter is undecided. Working with more limited financial and temporal resources, it’s not entirely down to will.
Shall I wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach? The fuck if I know. But it’s good to live near the ocean.