A Thing is Just a Thing (unless you make it something different)

When you’ve been with someone for 18 years, you tend to collect a lot of things.

My things, her things, our things. Some things just blend together. But when you decide that your relationship is over, suddenly the things take on a whole new meaning.

Several years before the end of our own relationship, my ex and I heard from some dear friends that they were separating. For months we listened to horror stories about potential support payments, splitting of assets and issues around child rearing. At one point, our friends spent an entire mediation session arguing over frequent flyer miles. Yes, you heard me correctly. Frequent flyer miles. One person had ’em and the other one wanted ’em, or at the very least half of them. We were shocked! Surely we would never do that to one another, we said. Definitely not, we told ourselves. We love each other too much to fight over things.

Fast forward a few years to our own separation and eventual divorce and guess what? The things took centre stage:

  • the listing of the things

  • the monetary valuation of the things

  • the arguing over the things

  • the crying over the things

  • the eventual splitting of the things

It was brutal to say the least. The realization that an entire 22 year friendship, 18 year relationship and 7 year marriage came down to dollars and cents made my heart so heavy I could barely drag it around somedays. It also pissed me off to no end. Why on earth could two adults not just sit down for one freaking afternoon and figure this shit out? Why did Every Single Thing have to go through the damn lawyers?

One day as I was ranting and raving to my cousins about yet another injustice that had been done to me, my very wise cousin stopped me and said: “Debs, it’s just stuff. Even if you lose all of it, isn’t that worth your freedom?” I felt like I was having an existential Eat, Pray, Love moment! He was right! The arguing of the things was ironically keeping me tied to a relationship that I was fighting to let go of. Duh.

Fast forward 2+ years and I’ve learned that I can do without a lot of things. In fact, I quite like not having so many things to tie me down. Instead, what I’ve learned to cherish are the moments. The quiet ones, the beautiful ones, the crazy ones, the sad ones, the heart-stopping-take-your-breath-away ones and even the bumpy ones. Moments are the only things that matter to me now.