In between husbands one and two, I had a bit of a crisis (for those of you who don’t know/remember, Sig Other is husband number three). The crisis was an obvious one of identity and lasted for about ten years. During that time, I sought counsel from a wonderful therapist who was neither analyst nor medical doctor but was enormously helpful just the same. I’ve not seen her in years now, having ditched her some time ago and graduated to a nice woman with “Dr.” in front of her name. The Good Doctor and I are just getting to know each other and I’m not entirely sure it’s an enduring relationship and as we chart our course I think often of my old therapist.
My old therapist’s specialty was addiction – patients who suffer addiction as well as those drawn to those who suffer from them. I was in the latter category. I loved me an addict. Alcoholics, drug addicts, sober or still suffering – I was drawn to them all like a moth to flame. Husband #1 was in the midst of his downward spiral and husband #2 was sober but without program. One was certainly more civilized than the other but each was a train wreck in his own self-absorbed way. It took me fifteen years, two disastrous marriages and a decade or more of therapy to burn out on what I now realize is the MOST boring story of all time – that of an addict. Because no addict’s story is as interesting to anyone else as it is to him or herself.
I spent a good deal of time with my old therapist talking about WHY I was a person drawn to addicts. We’d discuss my childhood, my memories, my feelings. And sometimes, we’d just talk about life. I loved just talking about life, and so did my old therapist. She had a million funny phrases and anecdotes about the state of love and life and femininity and growing up. And I remember a phrase she had – a phrase that stuck with me and which I found amusing and depressing and apropos. “Life,” she said, “sucks. Its hard being alive. And often its boring. And mostly what we find ourselves in is a rut. And the challenge, as an adult, is to decorate your rut – dress it up in a way that makes it feel fresh and new and exciting and not old and stale and boring.”
“Decorate your rut.” That was the phrase echoing in my gut as I approached the redesign of The 43rd Year on the eve of my 44th. I can’t blame alcohol – I’d had none. I can’t blame advice – I asked no one. I simply felt that one year of the same design was enough and boldly pressed the “design” button on Blogger. My gentle dove grey background became boldly blue and words popped off the page in neon hot pink. The 43rd Year was suddenly the blog equivalent of a virtual Woman on the Brink – dressed up in platinum wig, frosty white lipstick and a too-short mini, she took herself out for a 48 hour spin on the town. Those of you who experienced my aesthetic misstep can now thank Miss Whistle, who chided me gently about my poor choice of colors both on Facebook, on the site itself and in person. So I return now to my original format – albeit slightly updated. I acknowledge that I am a person more comfortable in earthy greys and browns – I am not a person who wears color or lives in color and therefore am surely not a person who should have a colorful blog. I accept the design of my rut and, in fact, quite love it. I apologize, dear bloggettes, and return you now to the comforting shades of black and white and grey of the original 43rd Year…