Ser-en-dip-i-tous / serâ€²enÂ·dipâ€²iÂ·tous / adjective / occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way. “a serendipitous encounter”
I think of serendipitous as accidentally being in the right place at the right time–even when it sometimes feels so wrong in the moment. Karma eventually comes along, patches the potholes and, if you don’t self-sabotage, takes what looks like a dead-end road after a disastrous U-turn and spins it into a fresh and fabulous adventure.
Before I filed for divorce from my ex, the invisible man, in 2013, I frantically dialed P., my trusted counselor and scheduled a series of appointments. He’d helped me over rough patches before and knew us as a couple, and his advice had always been spot on. But this time, it wasn’t long before he told me in therapy, “You’ve been living an illusion for 30 years.” I felt like I’d swallowed a needle.
“You’re crazy,” I rallied back, my voice rising. “Everything I had with him was real, I could taste it, touch it.” But little by little, the facts came together in black and white, showing me that I had missed the signs of a serious problem by thinking it was “misbehavior,” as my husband wanted me to think, as his way to ease boredom in the marriage.
As the layers of my life lay flayed out on the therapist’s operating table, and I saw how I unwittingly enabled mr. invisible’s behavior, the constant loop of labels began ticker-taping through my head: “You’re an idiot. Stupid. A naive fool! How could someone like you, educated and independent, be conned by this son-of-a-bitch?” Finally, at the end of those first few sleepless weeks that were filled with molten anger burning at both ends, P. offered this: “Your husband’s choices brought you here–and it’s your decision to stay in this place with him, or get healthy outside of it.”
It would be easy to say that the rest of the journey was all pink clouds and rainbows, but then I’d be the liar. Making the decision to change your life is just the beginning. There’s a seismic shift as you start over, feeling the blank-slate freedom of youth while simultaneously stepping off the precipice into a black hole. For me, life had put the brakes on, ordered me out of the car and insisted I take stock of things. So, I took the wheel as my old life slid onto the passenger side with a smile that seemed to say, “It’s about damn time.”
By 2014, I moved across the country from the city I’d called home since birth, having to leave behind my beloved daughter, her husband, my grandchildren, and friends, many of whom I’d had since the days of baby blue eyeshadow and skirts that barely covered my ass, to trade in what was broken for something I prayed would fix one person–ME.
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