Thursday, April 11, 2013

My side of the bed

“I'm not sure if it's better to be alone but it's probably safer.” 
                                      --Eleanor Prescott

This morning, I woke up on the other side of the bed.

You might wonder why this is at all important.  I'm single, after all, and I have the full run of my bed.  I can sleep on one side, on the other, in the middle or upside down for all anyone else cares.  But for the past 18 years (and, if I were honest, probably a little longer than that), I have slept soundly on the left side of the bed.

When I was married, there was always the space for my husband reserved, whether he was in town or out.  I've been (mostly happily) separated and then divorced for almost five years and, for all that time, I have continued to sleep on the left side of the bed.

I'm sure there's a psychology that goes along with it.  People might say that I'm still reserving that spot for my "soul mate" or they might say that I miss the companionship of a marriage (I do, sometimes) or they could speculate that I'm just not content to be on my own (I am, for the most part).  I have often looked at my bed and sighed exasperatedly because I have this wide open space that I'm simply not using.  I may as well buy a COT.  But I still always get in on the left, even though it's farther from my bathroom and, until last night, I STAY on the left all night.

Last night, like most nights, I read until exhaustion.  Sparky, my deliciously cuddly labradoodle, was asleep on the floor.  Usually he joins me in the bed (he is required to sleep on TOP of the covers though because I loathe black fur on my white sheets) but last night I suppose it was just too warm and he opted for the floor.

Then, because I am a creature of habit in spite of all of my crazy antics, I turned on the tube with the sleep timer set for 10 minutes and then I piled up all my pillows near the center of the headboard.  And that's all I remember until I woke up this morning to "Dancing Queen."  You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life... I rolled over to hit the snooze and patted Sparky instead WHO WAS LYING ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE BED.  I opened one bleary eye and lifted my head, confused.  Why was Sparky on the left side?  WHERE was the alarm coming from?  Was I on the FLOOR?  I realized how far away the alarm was and then patted the right side of the bed and hit air.  Not only was I on the RIGHT side of the bed but I was ALL THE WAY on the right side.  I managed to crawl across the bed and hit the snooze before ABBA told me again how I could dance and collapsed in a heap on top of Sparky.  As he licked my face in morning greeting, I raised my fists in the air in victory:  I am finally, truly a single woman!

After being connected with someone in marriage, it's tough to shake that feeling that you're MISSING something (or, rather, some ONE) in your life.  I have had more than one friend who separated after me and have already remarried or have started shacking up.  I have missed having someone on that right side of the bed and someone to have a glass of wine with me on the deck before bed.  But last night was peaceful.   I feel content now more often than not when it's just me and Sparky and I enjoy my little single person rituals.  And, apparently, I can enjoy sleeping in ALL of my bed now.

I decided to think about all the things I love about being single:

  1. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I don't have to worry about waking anyone else up.  I can go downstairs and grab a glass of chocolate milk, turn on a movie and dance.  When the kids are with their dad, I can make a 3 a.m. trip to Wal-Mart.  I can take a walk.  I can laugh out loud.  It's a glorious freedom to know that you can live OUT LOUD at 3 in the morning.  
  2. I can eat cereal for dinner.  I don't have to prepare a meal.  If I want, I can skip dinner and have a glass of wine (or two) instead.  I don't have to please anyone else but me (there's that selfish thing again!).
  3. I can read instead of clean the house.  The boys could care less if the house is tidy.  The only one who gives a rat's patootie is me.  So, if that new Harlan Coben mystery is calling my name, I can sit on the couch in my jammies ALL DAY LONG and finish the book without anyone complaining or thinking I'm lazy.  I can always clean at 3 a.m.
  4. I can go (just go) at any time.  Sometimes, I like to jump in the car and drive...north.  Or south.  Or whichever direction the wind is blowing.  I don't have to answer to anyone anymore, so I can just hop in the car and drive in whatever direction I choose.  I have stumbled onto some wonderful moments and places this way.  
  5. I get to choose what's on TV.  It's how I was able to watch almost all three seasons of Downton Abbey in only two weekends.  :)  It's how I can watch Marley and Me and sob out loud.  I haven't watched a single sporting event in almost five years.  
Would I like a partner in my life?  Sure, I would.  But I don't have one right now.  Sure, the On-Again is there sometimes, but he has his own life and I just don't know how or if that will work out.

So I'm going to continue to enjoy and grow in my Single Status...and enjoy the RIGHT side of my bed!

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