Wednesday, 23 December 2015.
It’s a school holiday morning just before Christmas in wintry, dark, freezing Finland, and the wind is blowing hard and relentless in Helsinki. Anna is alone – her new home finally ready, inside out, after a couple of months of shopping for furniture and household gadgets.
The new stuff is from Ikea, K-rauta, Kodin Ykkönen, Verkkokauppa and Masku, and the handpicked second-hand objects are from antique shops, as well as tori.fi. As she looks around, Anna feels satisfied with the Kenwood kitchen appliances and the PAX wardrobe with its shiny white doors.
The moving process has taken lots of the usual pragmatic creativity and focus, hard work, screws and nails, boxes, closet space, hooks, and above all the help of two-three friends. How would she have managed without them?
Gratefully, she realizes that now that everything has fallen into place, she’s feeling happy – strangely enough…
You see, Anna has just moved out of her ex-husband’s home, six days after their twentieth anniversary. Sure, they’d spent the last two years discussing a possible divorce, so it hadn’t come as a total shock, really. (The first time they discussed the idea had been eight years earlier).
Oh! So many attempts to adapt, improve and change followed. Good times, too.
Then, when he recently made up his mind to go through with the divorce, she hadn’t been able to avoid an exhausting ten days of sudden tears in the shower, the car drive to work, and eurgh… even in the middle of a lesson once, in front of her pupils!
All the investment of time, affection, energy, forgiveness, faith and patience – had it all been for nothing in the end? What a waste of time those marriage years feel like now!!
The first night all alone at her new place had felt like a nightmare. Until the next morning, when her childhood friend Tom, a Brazilian living in America since he was ten, called to check up on her. An experienced divorcé, he had lots of empathy and quite a few good tips to offer. After his call, the world felt a little brighter, as was usually the case.
Today she is listening to a YouTube link Tom has sent her. It’s a lecture on love, sex and dating by Andy Stanley, who provokes the listener with the challenge “Are you the person the person you’re looking for is looking for?”
Andy believes that after a breakup, people should take a year off dating and spend it on becoming a better person instead. That way, one will later be able to both expect and welcome into their life a better partner.
Hmm, wow, brilliant, Anna thinks to herself, I’m gonna try and do just that!
Her teens Kristiina and Joey are spending the first days with their dad, before they come to stay for a week on Christmas Eve.
Mr. Ex helped her with the move, financially and otherwise. Besides agreeing with all of her suggestions, almost demands. For example, that the teens live every other week with a parent, so both will get to hang out with them and keep a close bond.
Who wouldn’t want that privilege, right?
They are actually going to have their first Christmas party as a separated couple together, hoping to make the new beginning a little less tough on the teens.
You see, although the day comes when there are no options left but to face the music, dealing with the marriage-turned-bad with truth and courage, it’s still important to think of the kids and make the whole mess as easy as humanly possible for them, she believes.
There once was a tough period during which I felt I was becoming a bitter wife. But… Sigh. What now??
I know. I know!!
Life has given me tons of lemons, but just you wait, Mr. Ex!
Wait and see how much lemonade I’m about to make! I’ll let you have a taste of it first. Or drown in it for all I care…
Anna rides that stupid emotional roller coaster.
This is turning bitter – and bitter is most certainly not the taste I’m after now. No, no.
Long, long sigh.
OK. Then what?
Think, Anna, think.
Feel it in your gut!
She looks deep into her soul where she has a very nice vision.
Instead of bitter………… My first ingredient:
Lots of sugar for my future Mr. One and Only. — Anna smiles now, satisfied.
I am actually very sweet. Very loving! — she protests silently — Humpf.
If you really, really know me, you can’t help but feel it.
For the most Anna’s emotions have been positive – at least during the long days she’s been super busy organizing her new place. You see, she loves hard work and easily dives fully into it.
Now, sitting down on the brand new couch, she’s thinking that she’s had enough negativity, enough tears. She’s simply had enough. She just desires a new beginning. Anna does not want to end up alone and unhappy.
Is that even realistic??
What the reader may not yet fully understand is that Anna simply cannot deal with too many sour emotions right now. That would be exceedingly overwhelming. She’d have a break down, poor thing.
No, she must be brave. She needs to go to work, earn a living, pay her bills. The teens need her! She just has to survive this hurricane with dignity and joy – and not too many tears. Yes, that’s it. One must have goals!
It is thus that, in that spirit of fortitude, she decides.
You know what?
I’ve been a cheerful person, strong and forgiving even in the midst of life’s many problems. I’m not going to go bad now!
A bitter forty-year-old divorced woman?
After all, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Yay!
Lemonade, with just the right amount of sweetness.
© 2017 rf