Well, it takes some getting used to. Being single again, that is. I've been meaning to write about this whole experience for a while, but it always comes out either too bitter, too sweet or just too much. It's like making bad apple cider -- you either end up with vinegar or something too sticky to drink; neither of which is useful if its cider you want. A few things worth noting:

1. You never divorce the same person you marry.
Well, why would you? It's much the same reason that you can never cross the same river twice: both of you have changed. The river has moved on, and you aren't the same person you were. Buddhists will recognize one of the 5 Remembrances: "I am of the nature to change" although it's an ice cold comfort to realize that the person you once loved has changed also, and into a person you don't really know.

2. It's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all
Yeah. Try it sometime. See how it feels and get back to me. I have no idea why people think this is comforting. Aside from the gunshot, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

3. Love is changeable, but can be neither created nor destroyed
Which means it's still out there, looking to be found. This is Good News. There's probably a law of conservation of emotion someplace that says that the deeper you love, the deeper you hurt. There's no good way out of it. Overall, I'll risk the damage to experience the magic. I don't recommend the practice, but scientists are better at ignoring facts than anyone.

4. Remember the good times
Memory is a strange thing, and popular music and culture enshrine the fact that time heals all wounds. Well, not so. Time blurs things that are painful, leaving all the love, laughter and happiness for you to replay in your mind. I'm convinced that this is one of the great kindnessess of our construction: the slow, continuous distillation of memory that ablates painful thoughts leaving only the good times to be remembered.

5. If it's broken: fix it, scrap it or replace it
This goes for cars, computers and relationships. If there's a problem, talk through it. Guys: say you're sorry, mean it, make up for it, and be compassionate for the pain you've caused. Girls: please remember that we are (in general) emotionally less evolved than you and sometimes mistake your silence for acceptance instead of grief. Work with us on this one.

No need is belaboring it, but if things have broken down to the point there's no love left to refire, time to scrap the thing. Easy to say it, hard to do it. See #2.

6. Love again
Another person, your cat, someone else's cat. It really doesn't matter. It's physical therapy for the soul. You've got to work out or your heart will harden and you will become yet another bitter divorced person, which the world could frankly do without. Ever gone out with a recent divorcee? It's like Dating the Dead -- either clingy as Velcro or cold as metallic hydrogen. Love again. It's easy once you get started. You know how to do it. Thank gods for my cats.

7. Go ahead, cry like a little kid and get it over with
We're not gonna discuss what happened when my intrepid crew chief decided to play "Tapestry" on the shop CD player. Couple big, strong, scary-looking pilots all reaching for the Kleenex. Bombs, bullets and burning wreckage I can handle. It's Carole King that kicks my ass. Trust me, you're nowhere near as tough as you pretend to be when this happens. Just yesterday I heard "Wasted Time" on XM. Lovely. The Eagles are poignant, timeless and (for the next little while) most assuredly Weapons Grade Music.


Overall, taking the long view, looking at things philosophically and rationally, this still completely sucks. I could get really worked up here if I thought too much about it ... Then I remember guys like Lance Armstrong who came back to beat everyone, Mike Melville who flew into space without a pressure suit or a backup plan, my Grandfather who was the strongest man I know. We're meant to love and be loved, and nothing makes your soul take wing like falling in love again. Even if it is a little scary out there -- nothing to do but spin 'em up and fly.