Wedding Bell Blues

Royal Wedding tea bags
The first few years after my divorce I could not attend a wedding without crying and feeling cynical at the same time. There I was, in my early fifties, after the dissolution of a 26-year marriage and 32-year friendship, watching a young couple pledging "'Till death do us part." Hah! I would think. Wait until reality sets in.

People with worse marriages than mine were still married. At the time he left, my husband was looking for something new and different. His sister had just married her third husband, and his brother his third wife. I was married for life, but he was looking for ways to extend the excitement in our marriage. He wanted to re-experience the fresh, tender feelings that his siblings and their new spouses were exhibiting. At first he lost weight, bought a motorcycle, purchased a van for his bikes and drove it cross country, took a sabbatical in New Zealand, etc. But nothing would stop the progress of his aging, including his graying wife.And so he started to look at me with jaundiced eyes, until nothing I did was right.

With that experience in mind, I would watch a marriage ceremony with a cynicism that, had the young couple known of my doubts, they would never have invited me.

Time has a strange way of healing. The process is slow and uneven. Although this vestige of bitterness stayed with me for a long time, I knew I had changed when I became caught up in the Wills and Kate Royal Wedding hoopla. I won't be watching the ceremony live, for I will be working. But my cynicism has largely gone. I hope this young couple will find a lifetime of wedded bliss in their gilded fish bowl. Heaven only knows how, but QE2 and Prince Phillip managed to do so.


Stressed and No Way Out

Post divorce-copalypse. That's been my experience this past year. It's been over ten years since my divorce and I thought I was coping. There were times a year and a half ago when I was feeling strong within my self and on top of my finances. Then the economy hit bottom and my pay check was frozen. Prices started to rise. I needed a new car. The roof, which had just been replaced, was leaking. That is when I discovered that the roofers had chiseled me, for they used substandard materials and failed to follow code. So I coughed up my savings for a second new roof in four years, which also leaked. I then borrowed money to fix this problem.

Now I am living from paycheck to paycheck. But, wait! I have a job. Yes, I am grateful that I am one of the working stiffs. But for how long? I am no longer the fast, multi-tasker I once was. With no new staff and many jumping ship because of the pressure, we are still required to provide as many services as before, if not more. The work keeps piling up.

I've never worked so hard for so little personal satisfaction. This is the 4th weekend in 7 that I've worked just to keep up. I was supposed to take time off - but I spent the half day on Friday working instead. I also worked on Saturday. Today is Easter and my new car wouldn't start. So instead of visiting family, I am all dressed up and home alone.

Given the terrible situation in Japan and the deaths in Syria, my troubles are paltry. But the truth is that I feel a constant tightness in my chest, I am eating for comfort and have gained weight, and I see no pleasure in my days off, since I spend them recovering my energy for the next week's onslaught. I am also deathly afraid of losing my job, for I know the chances of finding another one at my age with a good salary are slim to none.

How did I lose control of my life so quickly? Sometimes I think wistfully back on the days when I had a mate who would shoulder half the house and yard tasks, when I had someone to play and laugh with in bed, when life was hard work, yes, but also offered moments of leisure with friends, trips to the lake, and vacations to exotic places.

I've tried working just from 9 - 5:30. But that tactic put me farther and farther behind, to the point where I can catch up only if I work nights and weekends. I called a good friend this morning after my car wouldn't start and burst into tears. He didn't know what to say. I knew then that I had reached the end of my rope.

I'm going to try doing something I haven't done in a long time - and that is to chill out, read a book, and sit and do nothing but listen to the birds. Their spring voices are so lovely.

Besides, this is the only vacation I can grab. Does anyone else out there feeling stressed? What are some of your solutions?

Hint: If you are a single woman of a certain age, the best yearly investment is an AAA membership. This investment has reaped more benefits than I can count and has given me peace of mind. From flat tires, locked in keys, towing, and battery problems, Triple A has come to my rescue at least twice a year.

Image: The Scream @Wikimedia Commons