Six years later. I have moved to Denver after living alone for four years in a log home on 37 acres and at an altitude of 8000 feet. While there, I learned to plow a driveway with an ATV fitted with a snowplow to manage winters with more than 150 inches of snow accumulation. I captured two bats and one hummingbird when they found their way inside the house. I managed to irrigate the property by using a shovel to manipulate the irrigation ditches. I supervised the construction of a detached garage and guest quarters. I saw deer, elk, bears, wild turkeys, a lynx, and a mountain lion. I orchestrated a four day wedding celebration on the property when my son married and before anyone knew that my husband and I were estranged.
On the days when I did not have to drive the 30 miles to town for work or errands, it was common to not see or have contact with any other humans. I drove a truck and used it to pull two different men out of the ditch when they miscalculated the borders of the snowy road that I had successfully maneuvered. I used a chain saw. I climbed a 12 foot ladder with no one spotting me to change a smoke alarm on the ceiling. I hauled a fresh cut pine tree behind the ATV and dragged it into the house and decorated it for Christmas.
And I finally filed for divorce. That probably should have happened shortly after I moved away but he would not, and I could not. Slowly, surely, it became clear to me that an unknown future would be far preferable to a future like that of my known past. I had learned that I was strong. I could do most anything I set my mind to do or I could find the assistance I needed if not. And I realized that I was far less lonely living in solitude than I had been living with my husband for many of the 28 years of my marriage.
I went toward my future with optimism and at the age of 52 took the second lover of my lifetime. And the third and fourth. I smoked pot for the first time at age 54—just a tad. I went to Seattle and British Columbia by myself. I got a dog to be my companion and for the first time, purchased a house and a car by myself. I discovered that my happiness was completely up to me and I chose to be happy. Very happy.
Change is often leveraged by circumstances that are not chosen. Circumstances gift us by forcing change that is not always wanted but is clearly needed. I can’t say I was an entirely willing participant in the change process but I can say that I am now fully appreciative and grateful for being nudged, perhaps a wee bit abruptly, to change.