Death of a Shared Past, or Why Fluid Dynamics Makes Me Smile Alone

I’m in the midst of pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming moving and settling in to the new home. Those damned paint chips have been turned into almost a dozen gallons of paint that now cover the walls (marking our territory as Brock would say; Tiger has been busy marking his territory outside the home while his parents handle the inside). The kitchen is largely unpacked and the garage is staged with boxes ready to follow the carpet cleaner’s into the rest of the house. Even the man cave is taking shape and looking smart.

I’m exhausted. The last time I did a wedding/move/remodel at once, I was 22. I sure ain’t no spring chicken anymore, as evidenced by the blisters on my hands and the creaks in my back.

But I’m happy. Even more so than at 22 when I was beginning my first marriage in my first home. I’m more grateful for what I have, knowing how easy it is to lose everything. I’m more at peace, after living through my fears. I’m more focused on the relationships that will be nurtured within the home than on the home itself (the days of waiting to complete a project before inviting friends over is a thing of the past). It feels so good to start to send out roots again. This is settling in the best way possible.

Since my swollen hands and befuddled brain won’t allow me to string together too many cohesive sentences (seriously, how do new parents function with this little sleep every night? mad respect but also a little scared that there are that many new parent zombies shuffling around!), I provide you with a post about the loss of shared memories. It’s a timely post for me now that I’m cultivating a new shared past (and reconnecting with friends from childhood!) which softens the blow of losing the other.


Death of a Shared Past, or Why Fluid Dynamics Makes Me Smile Alone


Several years ago, my then husband and I were on the interstate heading out to our weekly Costco run. The roads were packed and traffic was doing that infuriating start-stop thing where we averaged about .87 mph. I took that opportunity to share the information from an article I had read that applied the theory of fluid dynamics to traffic congestion (disclaimer for those new to the site: I am a geek). I was excited about the research, animated. I used the cars around us to demonstrate the ideas in the article. He thought I was bit nuts. From that point forward, every time we were stuck in traffic, he would make a joke about “damn fluid dynamics.” It became part of our shared past.

I am an only child and I have lost contact will all of my childhood friends. My ex was the only person in my peer group that spanned across the decades of my life. I do not miss him, but I do miss the shared past. I now have entire mental storerooms of jokes and remembrances and no one to share them with. It’s a strange feeling, memories bubbling to the surface and just sitting, lonely at the forefront of my mind rather than being released through a conjoined history and recollection.  It’s an isolating feeling, a bit like being alone in a foreign country; no one else speaks the language of my marriage.

I am building a new shared past with my current partner, but, by definition, it takes time to build a history,a shared past from which to pull forth shared memories.

But for now, when I am stuck in traffic, I think of fluid dynamics and smile alone.

Thank you for sharing!

10 thoughts on “Death of a Shared Past, or Why Fluid Dynamics Makes Me Smile Alone

  1. And death is exactly what it is. That’s why they compare divorce to the grieving process of a death. Loved this post. Thanks.

  2. Reblogged this on Solving Maria and commented:
    Death of a Shared past – That’s what I’m feeling today. So much of my past is now gone. Or it has been rewritten. I’m not sure which hurts more. (See the reblog attached)

  3. As I am just beginning my journey, the “death of the shared past” is hitting my hard and often. Just yesterday, I was attempting to DVR a football game for 6 year old (so he would go to sleep), and there wasn’t enough space so I started deleting shows. The shows I deleted went back through our active marriage. It was like every deletion was another part of the end of my marriage. We used to have our shows we would watch as a couple. Currently, the whole idea of tv watching escapes me as I am now a single mom, but as I deleted and deleted; it made me realize that once I actually have time to watch our shows, it will be me alone.

    1. elizabeth2560 – ABOUT ALMOST SPRING Two and a half years ago my 37 year marriage ended suddenly through no choice of my own. I survived the heartache. I have taken control of my present. I am planning my own destiny, which is moving onwards to a life of purpose and meaning. This is my journey.
      elizabeth2560 says:

      Initially I felt that I had lost forty years of my life, but that has come down to ten as i am now beginning to be able to share with the children the happy times of their childhood. It has taken a while to get to this point.
      I understand completely how you would feel, when there is no-one to share the memories of those years with. It is like an empty chasm inside of you.

  4. I think of a million pieces of shared past each day. I’m hoping with time I can smile about them, at the moment each one is like a little knife.

  5. Yes! I think one of the saddest realizations I had was this whole shared experience and sense of humor with my ex husband which disappeared overnight. I concur that there are moments where I smile and know why, even if nobody else understands or sees me smile. Time seems to have faded things more positively for me rather than negatively, and for that I’m grateful. Especially for the people who come and go from our lives. Beautiful post.

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