I downsized my emotional life by getting rid of my boyfriend.
Kicking him out definitely freed up plenty of space in my house, when I boxed up all his things and gave them to the Salvation Army. But it also created a man-sized hole in my emotional life.
Marie Kondo would be proud.
Kondo is the author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” a wildly popular book about de-cluttering which promises to help you transform your home from the chaotic mishmash it is now to “a place of serenity and inspiration.”
Essentially, you’re supposed to lighten your load by taking a good look at each item you own and ask yourself one question: “Does this spark joy?”
If it does, you hang onto it. If it doesn’t, you get rid of it.
Which brings me to the man I’d shared my life with for 20 years. He definitely sparked joy. Lots of it. Until last July, when I discovered that he’d had a secret girlfriend on the side for the last decade.
When I stumbled upon that little piece of information, it sparked something that definitely wasn’t joy.
Disbelief. Rage. Fury. Heartbreak.
So? I Kondo-ized him.
Kicking him out definitely freed up plenty of space in my house, when I boxed up all his things and gave them to the Salvation Army. My walls are now free of his artwork, my bathroom counter is unsullied by the clutter of his toothbrush and toiletries, and I’ve reclaimed all of his dresser drawers.
But it also created a man-sized hole in my emotional life. That was tough at first. I missed him all the time. But I’m getting used to enjoying life on my own. I’ve begun filling that empty space with the company of good friends and loving family who are helping me regain the joy that I’d lost.
Finding a replacement? That’s going to be a challenge. Online dating seems daunting. Embracing the pleasure of being a solo act may be my best move.
Or I could “downsize” my companion by replacing that cheating 180-pound cad with a devoted 15-pound canine. I’m thinking maybe a Bichon Frise. Adorable, fluffy, loyal, and loving.
Of course, you can’t take a Bichon out to dinner or to a museum or to see your favorite stand-up comic. But we could definitely go for long walks together, which was one of the things I most loved doing with Mike.
And my favorite pastime — sitting in front of the fire reading a good book — is something you can enjoy with either a man or a dog. (And the dog won’t keep getting up to go out to the sun porch for a smoke.)
I certainly wouldn’t be the first 62-year-old librarian who lives on her own and talks to her dog. Besides, what’s wrong with confiding in a four-legged friend? They don’t really understand or care about what you’re saying, but, as if turns out, neither did my boyfriend.
I don’t think that I’m quite ready to give up on finding a new guy. Still, when it comes to Mr. Right, I’m definitely looking to downsize. What I need is a man with everything I enjoyed about the old one — minus the secrecy and the deceit.
Wish me luck.
Mild-mannered librarian and humorist Roz Warren is the author of “Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A Collection of Library Humor.”
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