“Did you put on sunscreen?” my mom asks.
“Yes, I did!” says my Dad.
I hear this exact conversation. Every single morning.
And it drives me nuts.
My dad, being the health nut that he is, goes out for a bike ride, or a walk, at 7:55 am, every day.
My mom, being the caring, over-protective, anxious type that she is, makes it her mission in life to ensure that no one gets sunburnt, no one forgets their keys, and no one puts mushrooms in the pasta sauce (my sister doesn’t like them).
Awwwww. How sweet, you might say.
And yes, it comes from a loving place.
But when you live with someone (day in and day out), who is trying their damnedest to bubble wrap everyone, and everything…..well…..it’s waring.
I know this.
Because for the last 17 months, I have been living with my parents.
And at 37 years old….it is pretty much the last piece of information you want to divulge to anyone.
Particularly the hot guy you go out for nachos and beer with.
“Your place, or mine?” he inquires.
(My high voice comes out in full force)
“Uuuummmmm…..let me see….maybe yours?” (please god, tell me that sounded nonchalant)
But when you leap off the cliff of life…..and you somehow find the balls to “start over”…..it is so often your parents who are there to catch you.
For me? My do-over, is divorce.
And it’s a decision that has made me a bit of an outcast. In some circles.
New beginnings are polarizing. And everyone seems to have an opinion about whether or not you’re making the “right” or “wrong” choice.
My parents? In the “wrong” choice camp. Which makes their support all the more difficult to receive (never mind how difficult it must be for them to GIVE it).
And don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful AF.
But after almost 20 years of independence….it’s….a humbling experience….to have to play by someone else’s rules. Especially when there’s an undercurrent of disappointment in the air.
“I’m in transition.” I tell people.
“My new life is….in the works.”
And there are days when those words feel true….and days when those words feel like a complete lie.
But my god. That’s “starting over” for you.
It’s a free-fall for a while. And more like a tilt-a-whirl than a roller-coaster.
But then one day, you land. And you start to find your bearings.
And the boulder you’ve been pushing, in this uphill battle to reorient your life….it actually starts moving.
And you almost don’t believe it, because well, you’ve been digging in your heels, giving everything you have, for so long. And that thing hasn’t budged.
I am now 2 weeks away from moving into my own apartment. And it scares the shit out of me.
Which is insane, because I’ve wanted it for so long.
But when the thing that’s existed only in your dreams, drops down to earth….it’s almost like….it can’t be trusted.
Movement is scary. Because, strangely, you were getting comfortable with being stuck.
And really? What I’m finding, is that “starting over” is a totally different thing than “starting.”
When you start something? Everyone is psyched for you.
You’re getting married?! You get an engagement party, a shower, a bachelorette weekend getaway, AND an over-the top wedding day!
You’re getting divorced? You get a trip to IKEA by yourself, and months of (literally!) rebuilding your life.
My mom, unsure how to support her daughter through a decision she does not support….got me 2 new frying pans. It’s….I care….but I’d rather you didn’t do this.
People love to celebrate new….but not necessarily new beginnings.
And depending on your perspective, new beginnings either scream “you fucked up” or “you’re growing.”
I have friends who are beyond psyched for me. They’re all….exclamation marks, and party gifs.
But I also have family members who are all…..good for you. Period.
Which…as a people pleaser? Kills me.
But change? It’s personal.
And if you’re gonna play the “clean slate” card (which….my god….it is anything but clean), you’ve gotta be ok with pissing some people off.
I think back to the day I moved into my parents’ place. Convinced that it would be a two….three month stay, tops.
And…..well? We all know how that turned out.
But that’s the other thing. Starting over is almost never…..wham bam thank you mam. It is full of false-starts, and exhausted “I give-ups” and second strength. It takes way longer than you think it’s gonna take. And for a long while, it feels like you’re walking in the dark, hands outstretched, not sure if you’re about to run into a wall, or an open road.
And so, as my reno’d life begins to take shape, I give my mid-air cliff jumping self a hug. Don’t worry, girl. It’ll turn out.
I am FILLED with pure fucking joy.
Even though I know. This summer? I’m gonna get a sunburn or two, and kind of wish my mom had warned me to put sunscreen on before I left home.