We were barely past the trailhead yesterday when it started.
“OK, please tell me you’re not going to talk the whole time about ‘Eat Pray Love,’ OK?” I announced to Sara and Mia. They’d gone to late show Saturday night, and I knew they were itching to drag me into the post-divorce self-discovery drama.
“But, we still processing,” Mia said. “Women were crying in the theater. It’s very, very cathartic.”
“Honesty, Kat, what’s your problem? She found happiness after an unhappy marriage, just like we did,” Sara said, a hint of snark in her voice. “What in the world is there not to
like about her story?”
“Look, anyone can find some sort of happiness traveling the world for a year
if they don’t have to worry about paying for it and finding enlightenment in India. I mean, that’s
why people go to India in the first place, for goodness sake!” I said. “But, really — what woman eats with such abandon without freaking about getting fat?”
“So, that’s why you don’t like it?”
“No. I just think it’s self-absorbed and gives women a skewed message.”
“Look, we didn’t find ourselves while traipsing around the world. The real test of life post-divorce is being happy living your normal life. You know, the one when you wake up every day, go to work, do the laundry, figure out how to get your kid to the dentist and soccer when you’re in an office across the bridge from him, deal with the ex and make ends meet.”
Mia and Sara looked at me with scrunched up faces as if they were searching for some sort of a rebuttal. But what was there to say?
I’m all for escaping away from our regular life and finding adventure, spirituality, Javier Bardem. If I could, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
But the path to self-discovery for a woman post divorce has little to do with pasta and ashrams, and everything to do with being on her own and figuring out “Who am I now, at my age, without a husband?”
And key to that is learning how to be alone.
Most of us didn’t do that. We went from the pink-carpeted rooms of our childhood to bunking with college roomies to shacking up with a sweetie or two to the marital bed of a picket-fenced home — where so many of us lost ourselves.
I know some 8 million (mostly female) readers found Elizabeth Gilbert’s story an inspiration. She found herself! She found love! She made millions!
If she could do it, we can, too!
And maybe we could. But I wish she found herself, love and happiness from making better choices while living her normal life. Because most of us will never be able to take a year off to do what she did — and what does that mean for us when it comes to self-discovery?
- Have you “discovered” yourself post-divorce, or are you still on that path?
- Is it better to “find yourself” in exotic locales, or living your day-today life?