Gratitude Day 31…and beyond?

The day has arrived.

Thirty-one days posting about gratitude. Some days were easy. Others nearly impossible.

Today I am grateful that this self-imposed challenge is ending.

I’ve learned that sometimes I definitely take for granted the little things that occur during my days and nights, and that trying to focus on simple happenings, simple words or gestures, simple and quick things like a smile, do actually make a difference in my outlook and in my ability to create positivity. Just remembering to laugh, even when it feels impossible, goes a long way to changing a moment.

I’ve also learned that, no matter how much I hoped to pull my grumpy, negative attitude up a few notches, the underlying reason for that attitude hasn’t changed. The situation that brought me so far down didn’t magically disappear…not that I really expected it to. No amount of wishing it so can change the root cause.

The root cause lies smack in the middle of my choice to attempt to endure a continuation of 30+ years of marriage. Yes, I use the word endure, which can and does mean to continue on during hardship, in this case. Since writing of marriage failure months ago, and then quickly putting any further words about that failure away from my blog writing, I have contemplated, and struggled with, and moved back and forth and sideways between, what was ultimately a black or white choice: stay or go.

I have researched the legalities of divorce in my state. I have read and analyzed just how divorce would play out for a couple over fifty where one partner (the woman) no longer works; where assets and long-term investments would be divided; where everything would be split and much of what financially exists after years of work would disappear in the end; where there are questions of health, job prospects, even things like finding a way to accept that I might need to accept alimony rather than be independent. Everything about staying grates on me. Everything about leaving does the same thing. I don’t like either choice.

That paragraph sounds somewhat shallow, like the only consideration I am looking at is financial. Finances are certainly a part of this, but not the entire reason. And perhaps this blog is not really the place, at least right now, to spend time on all the back and forth struggles with the myriad of reasons I debate each day.

The bottom line is this:

Right now I would rather be alone. Right now I would rather have responsibility for only myself, to live absolutely as I please. Right now I would rather not wake up irritated and go to bed mad. Right now I would rather not live with an individual who has become so foreign to me, who perhaps I suspect always was. Right now, the negativity shadowing most of my life is overwhelming and painful because I let it be so.

However…

Right now I have a home. Right now I am able to eat and sleep and function with relative comfort and convenience. Right now I can have the luxury of helping my children and grandchildren when they need it. Right now I am free to come and go fairly easily, without complication or thought. Right now, on some days the good surrounding all of those things wins out over the negative.

And so, the decision is to stay, and to continue to put forth small efforts to do what makes me happy, rather that is for moments or hours, while living under a black shadow that is both self-created and nurtured by dislike, disrespect, and the infuriating knowledge that I cannot lay all the blame elsewhere. I must take responsibility for my part in the choices to ignore, to overlook, to believe that so much did not matter, when in actuality I was doing no one any favors in my attempts to play a role that didn’t reflect authenticity and self-respect.

I am not assigning myself martyrdom. I do not stay because I want pity, because I seek sympathy. I stay simply, because in this moment, it seems to be the most logical thing to do.

The door remains open, always open, and one day there may be a new choice, a new decision.

Finally, my gratitude today to you, readers…who will continue to hold special notation in that category of things that make me happy…

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