Life’s Odometer

I received the text just months shy of our tenth anniversary. The divorce process being what it is, the marriage persisted after the ten year mark. The wedding was never the year we marked, however. We always added six to go back to when we started dating. So, by the time it was over, we had been together for sixteen years. That was half of my life.

Odometer
Odometer (Photo credit: trickhips)

It felt like my life odometer had been abruptly and violently forced back to 000000. It was painful, but it was also frustrating. It felt like those were miles wasted on a pointless journey that was aborted before its intended destination. The consistent rolling of the numbers indicating the length of the relationship felt purposeful. They spoke to where we had been and where we were going to go.

When my boyfriend and I reached the six month mark (an important period that frequently delineates casual dating from more serious partnerships), he commented on how long we had been together. I remember scoffing internally. Six months was nothing. I had been with my ex thirty two times that! I didn’t get it yet.

Then, one year came, again commented upon by my boyfriend. I still didn’t get it. I can be a slow learner at times.

It wasn’t until two years when I finally understood. First, due to the magic of ratios, it was now only 1/8 of the time that I spent with my ex. But, more importantly, I viewed my entire life odometer differently. I had been viewing it as the primary and permanent wheel in the center of my console, quietly ticking away through the journeys of my life. I saw the divorce as an assault on the dial, overriding the system.

Then I realized that life is rarely that linear. Our lives are perhaps better marked with trip odometers that are reset to mark the beginning of a new journey. These parallel journeys should not be quantified; the distance is not what adds to the quality. Rather, each trip should be accepted for what it is with the understanding that the odometer can be reset if needed.

I now don’t worry about sixteen years. I don’t compare times together, creating ever-improving ratios. Now, I just roll down the windows and enjoy the ride 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Life’s Odometer

  1. Nice….glad you realization that you was starting something new and improved. You and your ex lived one life but your second chance at forever was a new book; it wasn’t a continuation, it was a whole new serious. It’s natural to compare your past with the present but it should’t get in the way of your future. Fortunately, you realized it before you lost your happily everafter!!!!

  2. Beautiful post. I completely agree, one of the things I keep telling myself now – six months into my new life almost to the day – is to not let my past be my only guide to the future. I’ve been stuck looking out the rear view mirror a lot, it’s time to stare straight ahead. I want to thank you for being so important to my understanding of it all. I think I’m going to take my site down soon… you can read about that on my blog if you want. Not that I want to stop blogging, just move in a different direction now. Thank you for your wisdom and sharing.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad to hear that I have been able to help you through this. That is the reason I chose to go public with my story and my writing. I read this morning about your blog. That’s one of the wonderful things about blogging – we can let it ebb and flow and change to suit our needs and desires. I wish you the best on whatever direction you chose to go.

  3. I like this, Lisa, and it came at a good time for me, as I discovered over the weekend that my last boyfriend had spent most of our relationship dating and sleeping with others — ouch! I felt exactly as you describe it — like all those months were wasted and I’d been ticking them off, feeling like their passage MEANT something to the strength of our relationship, when, in fact, they didn’t. The man I’m with now (whom I’m calling “Pete”) has only been in my life romantically for 2 months, and I have found myself doing just as you did — scoffing at how little time that was by comparison to… well, anything, really. I was with my ex-husband for 13 years, my last relationship for 18 months… what is a measly 2 months?! And yet, that’s not fair, is it? It’s important to see the value in the time spent on the journey and sometimes we cram a lot into a little time. These last two months have been bursting with self-discovery and new awareness of all kinds of things; some of them he has prompted, while others he has simply observed alongside me. But either way, I shouldn’t diminish it. I know better and appreciate the reminder from you today. 🙂

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