My momentum carried me until my divorce in 2018. I lost my way and I had no idea what to do about it. The circumstances were not all my fault, I thought I was doing something for my wife at the time. It turned out I was completely wrong about it.
2010 to 2014 was going great. My social life was thriving, going to see a lot of concerts with my friends. I even travelled to Europe by myself so I could see a Formula One race in person. I was in Spain for the Spanish Grand Prix. It was a dream come true for me. It was extremely difficult for me physically, but I managed to keep my limitations in check. I stayed in a small town near Girona. My hotel overlooked the Mediterranean Sea. I capped off my trip by traveling a short distance to Monaco to see the most famous race track in the world and then took a train to Paris where I got to do a Facetime chat with my daughter on top of the Eiffel Tower.
Then came 2014. I finally bought my first house and was able to move out of my parent’s house. That was also a dream come true. I moved into a cabin in the mountains. Basically, it was the only place I could afford. Southern California isn’t a cheap place to live. I wasn’t exactly getting rich off of my disability payments and I was on a strict budget. But I made it work. I completed some projects on the house to make it my own. It wasn’t too far from my friends and family, so I could still keep up my social life without too much extra effort.
Later that year I met what I thought was the love of my life. Things were great at the beginning. I eventually moved into her house. I ended up renting out my house for a while. She was pregnant and we had our son, who is a big 6 now. We got married, she worked and I stayed at home with our son. It wasn’t too much trouble because I didn’t work and she did. I think there might have been a little resentment there, looking back on things, but who knows. I certainly don’t. My daughter seemed happy with her for a time.
She had an extremely close relationship with her mother, I think that turned out to be bad for me. Things were kind of taking a downhill turn at some point. I think she wanted another baby, but it wasn’t in the cards for me. I was getting older and it was enough for me to take care of our son. But I loved every minute I spent with him, and still do. She would probably remember things differently than I do. That’s the nature of divorce.
A decision was made that we would all move to Arizona where my ex-wife had family. Her intention was to go to nursing school, that was my understanding of why we moved. And the cost of living is much cheaper than California. They bought a house for us, notice I said they, and we moved in on my birthday. 8 months later I was served with divorce papers, and just like that, the momentum came to a dead stop. This is where I lost my way. I am relatively sure that she would see it another way, but it’s tedious to go into detail as our ideas about it are much different.
There was a fair amount of devastation that I felt. For the first time in a long time, I had no idea what to do. I moved into an apartment, had to get another car, buy a crap ton of new furniture, and learn how to live alone in a city where I had no friends and no family. My daughter wasn’t living with me full time yet, so it was basically me and my son. Learning how to cook for one adult and a toddler is kind of a chore in itself. How do you make spaghetti for one person? What do I do with my time when I don’t have my son? What do I do with my life at this point?
Returning to California was an impossibility. I would have to leave my son for one, and California was just too expensive for me to afford. I was not going to leave my son even if I could afford it. One bright side is that the divorce went well for me. It still didn’t answer my questions. This crisis reminded me how painful it was to try and adapt to a new life as I did when I had my brain explosion thing. It was just as painful. The biggest difference was that I had friends and family to support me. In Arizona, I had none of that.
Adapting, part 2
My son was only 2 and my daughter was 16 at the time. The only person I had to talk to was my son on a consistent basis. Conversations with 2 year-olds aren’t exactly engaging. I couldn’t talk about life’s existential topics with my son. Changing diapers, farts, wiping his butt, playing with his toys, and spooning food into his mouth took up most of my days. It was all worth it of course.
It turned out that I needed something to fill the very large gap in my life. A purpose outside of my children. I thought I would have my family, but that didn’t work out so I needed to make a life for myself. I tried dating a little bit, but I wasn’t ready for that at the time. Women kind of disgusted me for a little while. I think I was depressed for a while and I couldn’t find the motivation to do much about it. But I couldn’t just sit on the couch and collect my disability checks for the rest of my life either. One of two things would happen, I would find out that I was still not able to work because of my disability, and/or I was not able to learn again. I needed to find out both so I could have at least a partial direction that my life could take.