This morning I made myself a coffee from my beloved coffee machine, walked downstairs to sit at the desk I chose for myself, and did a few hours of work.
And then I paused, and looked around at the bedroom which is mine, in the apartment which is mine, in this life which is mine... and I felt happy. Really, truly happy, in this moment.
I don't always feel happy. Life as a divorced mother is often challenging. I can feel lonely. I go on bad dates. I spend many a Saturday night alone. I feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of sole parenting for much of the week. I wonder if I will ever take an overseas holiday with a partner again.
But today I feel happy. Today I feel a sense of ownership of my life, a sense of control and peace that I have rarely known.
I often worry that if I speak of feeling content in this life that it will be taken as a slight to my ex husband, and this is not at all what I intend. I have enormous respect and affection for him, and I always will.
But I really never lived alone until now. I moved straight out of home and into my then-boyfriend's home. After we broke up I moved back in with my parents for a while, and then lived on my own in an apartment for only a few months before I moved in with the man I would marry.
And from then on there was joy and there was travel and there were children and there were the infinite highs and lows of married life. But I never had the opportunity to learn my own tastes or desires or preferences independently of my partner. Or rather, I had the opportunity to do so, but I didn't take it. I chose my own path, but didn't understand it's impact until now.
This home is the first home I have decorated myself. My last holiday was the first holiday I have chosen alone. This desk was the first desk I have bought without consulting another. I choose my friends, the men I date, the work I do, the places I go. It is an incredibly empowering feeling, to make decisions about your own life.
To me, this sense of ownership of one's own life is fundamental. Whether you are in a relationship or single, you need to be in control, of your decisions, your choices, your path. Relationships are about compromise - hell, life is about compromise - but that sense of ownership is vital. If you don't have it, then take the steps necessary to do so. This is the only chance at life you're going to get.
Whatever your situation, life will be challenging. But life is about moments. It is about those fleeting snatches of happiness.
And for me, today is one of them.