In 2007 I wrote a post about turning 29, and what it meant to me as I transitioned into my 30’s.

Today I turned 31, and as I read back over that post, I am struck by how fortuitous it was without even realizing it.

My 20’s were pink. I wanted to prove to the world that I was still young, despite having kids. I wore things that I shouldn’t have, thinking they made me look my age instead of looking like a mommy. Damnit, I was still sexy even if I did have kids, and I was determined to prove it! Don’t you see me?? There is still a woman under these children! Look at me!!

At the time I thought I was wanting recognition from anybody, but looking back it’s clear to me it was in relation to my marriage at the time. I felt completely ignored, and not of much use to my ex other than as a housekeeper and caregiver to our kids. For years I’d told him how his lack of affection towards me made me feel unwanted, and for years I got no more than a less-than-token effort.

My 30’s will be red. I have always feared red, feeling like it would overpower me, call attention to me, and show off how unsophisticated I was. Yet now at 29 I am starting to realize the power it holds. Not a fire engine red; no more of that desperate, ‘look at me!!’ here. A burgundy. The color of a finely aged wine ready to come into its own. The color of a silk gown that hints at curves but leaves them guessing. Strong and confident, but subtle. Sophisticated.

It was a matter of days after writing that post that I decided I would eventually be filing for divorce. It was a few weeks later that Paul and I began talking, and a couple of months before I realized he was what I needed in my life.

The French have a saying that life is too short to eat bad food or drink bad wine. It has taken me till 29 to grasp this, and I plan to not only embrace it, but revel in it.

Revel in it I did, and at the highest of costs. Most of you know what happened from there. It’s no secret. For those that don’t, it’s in the archives.

With my hearing last week and literally waiting for my divorce papers to be mailed, I have asked myself often if it was worth it. The friendships I’ve lost, and possibly a continued battle for custody of my children to my ex..was it worth what I am taking away from this?

Though many might not understand, I have to say yes.

Being with my ex was like slowly suffocating to death. Everything was about him, with very little room for me. I had no concept of myself as an individual, because I wasn’t really allowed to be one. To get what little approval I ever got from him, I had to be what he wanted. Someone that I wasn’t. That life was all about appearances, with no depth at all. From the outside things may have looked ok, but inside I was dying.

Once that split was made, everything started to change. I have come out of my shell, and learned to stand up for myself, something I never dared do before. I started to learn who I am, and what is important to me. I stopped worrying so much about what everyone else thought, and started to live my life by the promise I made myself two years ago- to really start to live, without fear, and without regret.

The fear part I have managed, the regret part has not been so easy. There are things I wish I could take back or change, but how different would I be now without those experiences? Without the trials of the last year and a half, would I have the strength to face an uncertain future? It’s all woven together inextricably, and I can’t take the good parts without the bad.

All I can do is look ahead, and I am doing so with gusto. I am looking at going back to school, and just yesterday I found a pretty good candidate for the next place to call home. It’s not the west-end cookie-cutter house that I am used to, but that’s a big part of what I like about it.

They say life begins at 40, but I say 31 is looking like a damn good place to start. Here’s to the next year, and whatever it may bring.