Escape to the Future (Fuga Verso il Futuro)

The Beginning of my new life in Florida

Ok, so one day approximately thirteen months ago, I decided to step out of my existing life. I didn’t really have much of a plan, except to get a divorce. I had no idea that during the first consult with my lawyer, he would advise me not to return home. I really envisioned this as more of an information gathering session, and thought I’d return home to make some silent plans for the future. But the events of the evening before had really put me on edge, so when he said don’t go back, it made perfect sense and I didn’t even consider the alternative. So, there I was with only the clothes on my back, and no idea of where I would live. In a split second, I had voluntarily decided to allow my husband to remain in our condo. To prepare for retirement, we had only one car and although it was titled in my name, I graciously and voluntarily surrendered it to my soon-to-be-Ex. Why? Because that’s the kind of person I am, much of the time more concerned about others than myself. I didn’t think it was fair to leave him without a car, so I put the burden of getting a car on myself instead of him. Sadly, that kindness would never be repaid by the other side as we went through the divorce proceedings. But everyone bears the burden of their own actions toward others. Karma wins in the end.

So, here I am out in the world, with a rental car, only the clothes on my back, literally homeless, with no plans. Our condo was in New Port Richey and I really had no set plans regarding where I would relocate. In spite of my circumstances, I am the happiest I have been in a very long time. I have always loved Sarasota, so I booked a hotel room for the weekend and headed down Friday evening. I stopped to shop along the way, picking up only some basic makeup, toothbrush and toothpaste, and a few pieces of clothes. Just enough to hold me over until I could get my possessions out of our condo. As luck would have it, Sarasota was hosting a beautiful fine arts and crafts show along St. Armand’s Circle that weekend. I figured a little me, myself and I decompression time, would be just perfect. On Saturday, I strolled through the Art Show by day and had dinner along The Circle by night.

On Sunday, I obtained a few much needed appointments for spa services at The Met, located, of course, on The Circle, where I received a manicure and massage that came with a glass (or two) of champagne. Excellent!

In the middle of all my relaxation activities, I had managed to locate a very nice furnished rental a bit north of Sarasota in Apollo Beach through a contact I had at Florida Luxury Realty, the brokerage I would be joining as soon as I passed my real estate exam. It was available immediately, so I headed there as the weekend drew to a close.

Ciao,

Jo

Il Divorzio and Villa Velina

I know, it’s like I fell off the face of the earth . . . Some of my loyal followers have written asking me about my current status, having noticed my absence from this blog or picked up on changes on Facebook, so . . . here’s my long overdue update. I have actually had a very busy year. Regular blogs about life in The Mezzogiorno will resume once again after a few transitional updates.

The Divorce. Yes, it happened. No, I never thought this would be something I would experience. But unfortunately, last year at this time I realized it needed to happen. A decision like this is not one you make lightly (troppo leggera), although to outsiders it may appear that this was the case or that it was all too “sudden” (improvviso). Well, let’s just say that not everyone drags all of their friends and relatives through drama, trauma and pain for many months or years before making this decision . . . some of us just deal with it swiftly once we admit to ourselves there is something amiss. The upside of talking about your impending divorce with everyone before doing it is that everyone else is prepared (rather than shocked). The fallacy here is that they are not the ones who need to be prepared. In fact, most of your friends become so sick and tired of hearing about your impending divorce that they actually beg you to get the dirty deed over with. The downside of having the knowledge of an impending divorce hanging over you for months or years before taking action, is the severe emotional toll it takes during that time and the fact that you are delaying moving on with your life and after all of that negativity, you still have to go through the actual divorce. And people say the court system is slow!

Look, in this marriage, fun was had and companionship and adventures were shared. If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve read about some of that. We enjoyed and appreciated many of the same things. But honestly, there were just some recurrent, underlying problems I would classify as communication differences and unconditional acceptance issues, which to me are two areas that carry a lot of weight as far as harmony and happiness go . . . I was actually attending therapy sessions alone specifically to address what, if anything, I could do to resolve these issues, but it really does take two . . . I respected that everyone doesn’t believe in or feel comfortable using therapy as an aid for relationship issues, but I was just tired of having the same disagreements over and over and never being able to work together to resolve them.

Since NO ONE (nessuno) was “in the know” in advance of my decision, that made me an easy target for all kinds of speculation the day I didn’t return home – had I gone “off my rocker”, was I having a “mid-life crisis”, or even speculation that perhaps there was some sort of mental diagnosis involved. I assure you, the only thing happening here was that I was securing my future happiness and perhaps my soon to be Ex’s future happiness (I sincerely hope that’s the case). I had, by then, already taken all possible steps needed to be sure this was the right decision for me (relationship therapy alone for almost a year, etc). The exercise of vacating my marriage without prior notice to any/everyone who may have wanted to know, provided me with a very clear picture of who “gets me” and appreciates me for who I truly am and also showed me very clearly who chose to judge me. Those who fall in the “gets me” category saw this coming before I did. These people all contacted me immediately upon becoming aware of the pending divorce to show their concern and make sure I was okay, but none of them were shocked. They knew me to the very core and innately understood why this wasn’t working for me. In fact, each of these dear friends provided encouragement, upon learning the news, commenting that I hadn’t been my normal happy self for a long time. Thankfully, I can count the dear friends category as the majority. On the other hand, it was eye-opening to me how a few people (who appeared close to me) to this day have not even concerned themselves enough to ask me “what happened, what went wrong?”, or offer any kind of support. Perhaps this is a tell-tale sign of a “judger”? Maybe they didn’t need to ask, as they had already decided how things were in my marriage. Or, in all fairness to them, maybe the appearance of suddenness shook them to the core, leaving them with a lingering concern about the destiny of their own marriage or relationship. After all, we looked like such a happy couple . . .

You see, I don’t just believe that marriage is something to endure. I believe it is something to treasure and enjoy. It is about a total give and take, ying and yang. It is about each person totally accepting and loving the other for who they really are and what they are really like, not who each wants the other to be. It is not about obeying . . . it is about sharing and cooperating. I knew what this felt like . . . I had that before and I wanted it again. Stay tuned for a love life update!

Villa Velina. Okay, now for the important part of this blog. I’m sure you’re all wondering what the fate of Villa Velina is as a result of the divorce. After doing much soul searching, I realized that I did not wish to give up Villa Velina. I am just not finished with my adventures as an albeit part-time resident of Castelnuovo Cilento. I love the people and the geography of that particular area along the Cilento Coast and I have much more living to do there! I have so many really good friends there now and I really feel grounded and at home there. And so I retained sole ownership of Villa Velina in the divorce settlement. New adventures coming!

Ciao,

Jo (Oxley)