The Hardest Thing to Get Used to Post-Divorce
This may seem trivial, but what surprised me most about freshly single life is how different all things around eating and food became. Then I remembered how much of life really does center around the kitchen, if you're doing it right. And the way my ex and I enjoyed food together was one of the best parts of our marriage in the first place. We both are health freak leaning foodies. We ventured deep into plant-based cuisine together, never deprived by our lavish creations. No matter how busy we got, we always prioritized good food together.
Once we were living separately (but still technically married), we would trade off cooking meals for each other, bringing leftovers of grain salads and tempeh tacos to work to share (we co-owned companies together that whole time so saw each other every day). I'd still do the grocery shopping and drop off half at his doorstep, or even would sometimes stock his fridge.
It wasn't until a couple of years and thousands of miles later that single life really started - as opposed to separated-but-still-married life. We had sold our businesses, relocated (together, but not together - as I'm fond of saying) and moved into our own places to start new, separate lives, this time for good.
Due to a touch of depression and an undercurrent of angst, my appetite was shot. Gone were the days of artful food combining and abundant variety. Now my de facto meal plan was "ok, what can I melt cheese on?" No, it's not just for bachelors.
As time wore on I had the reality check that that diet wasn't compatible with optimum health. I wanted vibrancy! And optimal brain function couldn't hurt. I had shit to do, after all. I was low on energy, having a hard time getting things off the ground and felt like a drifter half the time. It was time to get my health in check, and quit waiting for some anointed reason in the future to do it.
It was time to look closer at why it was so hard to cook real meals for one.
Apparently it seemed far more reasonable to prioritize when it was for someone else. He was worth it. Me? Not so sure.
But when it really comes down to it, it's a matter of self-respect. Making a choice that I'm worth cooking for too. I'm worth shopping for premium food for too. I'm worth stopping my workday at a sane hour so that I have plenty of time to turn up the music and turn on the stove.
I deserve to be nourished, and for my health to be valued above all.
I had to jolt myself out of this lull a bit. I had to wrap my mind around best practices and economical solutions to the challenges of cooking for one. It took intention, and a choice this was for the long term. I wanted to be the kind of person who cooked well and enjoyed it, when, for a while, I was eating merely for the energy to get through the day.
I started slow and regained my passion for life-giving food. Actually I've never taken better care of myself as I do now - post-divorce and two full years single. I have the personal space to stay in tune with the messages my body gives me about what food it needs. I have the inner stillness to feel the resonance of all types of food and consciously recognize if it feels good for me or not. I have many interests that I actually have time to study, like Mediterranean cuisine and traditional Chinese herbs.
Single life is a time of exploration and discovery - of yourself and of the world. It's not a time to rest on your laurels and hope some savior comes one day to make your world right again. Figure out who you want to become, and support and love yourself all the way there.
Have a multi-faceted sense of exploration. Don't be subtle about it. I took up painting, politics, French language and candle-making. I relish in my alone time precisely because I know it's not forever (nor do I want it to be).
I look forward to cooking with my partner, and my kids, one day. I have visions of a beautiful bright kitchen and overflowing vegetable garden. I want to explore the world as one big culinary adventure, and I want to do that with my future family.
Until then, I cook for myself because I love and respect myself.