When I was 46 and Edgar was 60, we were at two supremely different life stages. Although I loved Edgar, and couldn’t bear being away from him, I also was immersed in my career and desired to be a more involved mother to my 11-and 14-year-old daughter and son. I was determined to balance it all–since I had no intention of giving up anything.
Edgar had different ideas. Dramatically different! He was preparing to wind down his career as the chief honcho of a multi-billion dollar, UK-based industrial conglomerate. His work had consumed him (not to mention his drinking and incessant cheating, I later learned), but he was ready to “simplify” his life, he announced.
By the time he was 64, Edgar had retired full-time to Long Boat Key Florida, a beautiful, serene, and wealthy community. I can only stand serene for maybe two consecutive hours. I would continually shuttle back and forth between New York and Florida on many weekends and holidays, and spend my days consumed with issues like Edgar’s philandering, whether my advertising sales staff would make its quotas, and which college would accept my 18-year-old son. While Edgar’s life had simplified, my complicated life was becoming more complicated, not unlike most women who are entering their FOF years.
It was around this time that I decided to leave a job I loved for almost two decades to launch my own custom publishing and conference business. During the next five years, Edgar managed to reduce his life to two simple tasks: Drinking and having sex with his neighbor. My business and my kids grew. So did I. My life became more complicated than ever.
When Edgar died in 2000, I was 53 and had spent a dozen years with him (more or less). Since then, I’ve wound down one business and launched another, moved offices and homes multiple times, and tried to be the best mother, friend, sister, aunt, former wife and current girlfriend I can be.
But something else has happened during this time: I’ve grown to understand what Edgar meant when he said he wanted to “simplify” his life. Simple seems, well, refreshingly simple. Now, if I can only figure out how to do it.
It’s all very complicated.