I was looking back at the year 2010 for the book that I am writing about traumatic growth (i.e. my lousy divorce) and I found this little questionnaire/survey.  So I thought it would be interesting to answer it again, four years later and see how different the answers are:

Your cell phone: BlackBerry I phone
Your hair: Brown  Still brown
Your mother: Dead  
Your father: Dead
Your favorite food: Chocolate chip cookies   Eggplant Parmigiana
Your dream last night: I visited my mom  Can’t remember
Your favorite drink: Champagne   Water
Your dream goal: Writing and making a living at it again   Writing and speaking and coaching public speaking
What room are you in: Bedroom   Bedroom
Your hobby: bicycling    Dancing!
Your fear: dying too young    Watching someone I love being sick
Where do you see yourself in 6 years: Writing and in love    Writing, traveling and in love
Where were you last night: Friends In Deed    Home (it was cold out)
Something you aren’t: Daredevil    Depressed – sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I’m happy.  But there’s so much in the world to worry about. 
Muffins: Chocolate zucchini from City Bakery    Chocolate chip

Wish list item:  Book contract or play produced   Play was produced!  Now I hope for a book/speaking tour
Where did you grow up: Long Island
Last thing you did:  Watched Jon Stewart   Ate lunch
What are you wearing: a T-shirt   Polar tech jacket
Your TV:  I’m addicted   Mostly watch TV on ipad these days
Your pets: Two beagle girls    Waaa
Friends: All around me   A few close friends
Your life: Up and down, mostly up   Interesting!  Challenging!  Travel, coaching, meeting lots of people.
Your mood: Edgy   Depends on the hour – right now, good.  Happy (considering it’s winter)
Missing someone: My daughter   Lucy
Vehicle: Feet   Citibike
Something you aren’t wearing: shoes   A bra
Your favorite store: Lord and Taylor (because no one else is there)   Still Lord & Taylor
Your favorite color: Blue   Still blue
When was the last time you laughed: Last night watching John Oliver on Jon Stewart  Biggest laughs 700 Sundays
Last time you cried: Last night watching John Oliver on Jon Stewart (kidding) Last night  A few days ago
Your best friend: Lucy   Karen/Abigail/Bella/Barbara   all great friends in NYC – I miss Emily
One place you go over and over: Movie theaters   Central Park
Facebooking: Too often   Annoying and helpful
Favorite place to eat: NoHo Star, Shake Shack, Gotham  Ummami Burger, NoHo Star, Lovely Day

Some things have changed…some remain the same.  Most of all I miss Lucy and Lola and I’m so grateful Zoe lives in NYC again.   

Last night I heard the news: after a twenty-three year relationship, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins are separating.  At least they don’t have to get divorced, since they never got married.
Yesterday, someone told me that in a recent NY Times op-ed there was a statistic that something like eighty percent of people in their “middle ages,” whatever that is, are married.  But in New York City that number is dramatically lower.
I have heard of more couples separating in the last year than I can ever recall.  I also know of many people who are not happy in their relationships, but aren’t going to leave.  The reason I know this, is that when you announce you are getting divorced, suddenly everyone confides in you.  I also heard from a friend yesterday, that out of her four grown kids, two are now getting divorced.  
Another friend recently told his wife if their relationship didn’t improve he wouldn’t stay.  Another couple hasn’t really spoken to each other in about a month. 

I think that the myth we are sold on marriage is distorted and also that people show one face when they are dating, and after they get married, they very quickly become who they really are.  I do know couples who deeply love each other, and think about how they can show that love, and are supportive and genuinely enjoy each others company.  What a gift. 

I don’t know if I’ll find someone to share my life with again.  I know that my living arrangement with my friend has taken the edge off and I feel more relaxed about the future.  I wonder what Susan and Tim would say about their separation – did they grow apart, as so many of us do?  Even with the perfect life, the great careers, the multiple homes, the money, all the kids, and the fame?  Did one of them find someone else?  The message is we’re all basically the same…humans struggling, trying to find connections and good lives.  No one is immune from loss, sadness, illness, death.  Even Tiger Woods has to do some major re-evaluating of his life choices. 

As difficult as life can get, it’s also fun too, and the difficult times pass.  It’s been about a year since I first mentioned the idea of separation and each day gets better.  I keep going where it’s “warm”, even when the wind chill is fifteen degrees.  Going where it’s warm is about turning to friends who are supportive and really care about you.  I am grateful for the friends I have, every one of them. 

I’ll be away between Christmas and New Years, up in the country, enjoying nature.  This has been a very difficult and extremely good year for me.  I hope that Susan, Tim and everyone else who is going through these major life changes can find peace even in the painful times. 
Do you think Tim Robbins will post his profile on Match.com? 

96 years old. A broken leg. Internal bleeding. An endoscopy. A mass in her stomach. Four transfusions. 3 1/2 hours of surgery to repair the leg by putting in a plate, under general anesthesia. Possible stomach cancer. Morphine causing itching which made her scratch her face for more than ten days. (No one figured this out until the last days.) Horrible pain whenever anyone moved her. Some cursing. This to a lovely, Orthodox Jewish nurse who came to clean her up:

Mother: “Go to hell and get out of here.”

Nurse: “Helen, I don’t want to go to hell. It’s very hot.”

Mother: “Well, then go somewhere else and leave me alone.”

And now she’s back in room 509 at her nursing home, exactly two weeks from when she went into the E.R. at Maimonides Hospital. I can tell you that it was an extremely difficult two weeks, I was pretty sure this was going to be it, and we’re still waiting for the stomach biopsy results. But I have a friend whose father is, I believe, 103 – and he just found out he’s got pancreatic cancer and it hasn’t killed him yet. I think that there’s no way we’re going to live this long. We’ve ingested and breathed in too many toxins.

Anyway – it was a roller coaster ride, each day not knowing what we were going to hear next and yet somehow my mother is not ready to go.

So this weekend, once my mother got settled in, I have to say that I had a fantastic time, making up for the stress of the past two weeks. I went to two parties on Friday night and danced till one in the morning and then today, my group of women from Mama Gena got together to perform our tribute to Mama Gena (re-written lyrics to the song “Mamma Mia.”) We had a ball. We all love seeing each other and rehearsing, then performing our song to an audience that enjoys it and then going out to catch up on each other’s lives over sangria’s and margaritas. (And quesadillas. What can be wrong when you have Mexican food?)

It was an excellent weekend. My mother’s back home, the weather is extraordinary, I got to dance and sing and we had so much fun! Saturday night was a low point, but I called my friend O, who is dealing with lymphoma and we had a long, lovely talk.

I am grateful for all the good that is in my life. Next Sunday Steve is leaving for a month in California and then Zoe is going out on June 14th to explore living in San Francisco. Big changes. Sometimes I feel very sad and I also have had some wonderful times as well. Even with all the stress and all the emotions, I feel more alive than I have in years. And – I can fit into my skinny jeans.

Next comes bringing in money. That’s the next big challenge.