What I’ve learnt after my year of boys, booze, boobs, bonks and banks

My year-long hiatus from sanity is officially over. Thanks to someone I “met” on Instagram, I’ve decided to rebrand the past year as my Diet Coke break. Great while it lasted, my pop finally lost its fizz and I had to lay down. If the past year were a book, it would be called Boys, Booze, Boobs, Bonks and Banks. I do not mention this out of shame or regret (apart from the chapter on banks). It was the most fun I’ve had in years, as far back as 1992, the year I moved to Manchester and discovered night clubbing at The Hacienda.

A few spectacular Diet Coke Break “Highlights” should probably be deleted from my iPhone. Or framed, depending on how you see life. One hell of a tour (I’m imagining the tour t-shirt – the back has all the times and places Stacey lost her marbles), my Diet Coke break takes its visual cues from the infamous 1990s ads . Topless men on a construction site or cleaning windows? I forget. All I remember are tanned abs and low-slung mid-blue Levi’s, a spurt of sweat and the hiss of a cold can of Coke being sprayed suggestively towards the viewer e.g. B. moi.

When we end long-term relationships, some of us temporarily drown in dizziness as we try to navigate our newly turned world upside down. From personal experience and that of friends, it takes us about a year to get back to who we really are – so in my case, not a wild woman on a mission to have as much sex as possible and close all the drinks at the bar drink, but someone who likes to read, paint and go on long hikes. Someone pretty normal. I’m back in the room and just beginning to recover from the shock that divorce took away the foundations of my life. House, relationship, part-time parenting, not to mention saying goodbye to simple pleasures like a hot year-round vacation abroad and a few trips to the countryside. Easy-breezy living is gone forever. No more cozy retreats up north as a family of four during the October holidays. All of that is done now, so instead enter the Diet Coke phase of drowning your sorrows in younger men, older men, and lots of nights out, all in the name of “recovery.”

(Disclaimer: For the record: I wholeheartedly disagree with the exploitation of the male body. It’s wrong and shouldn’t be happening. See the entire #metoo for more information.)

Describing how she felt post-divorce, the stranger, who wrote on Instagram, called her years of post-divorce recovery her Diet Coke hiatus. I snorted with laughter, not just because I immediately understood what she meant, but more because I knew she really saw me in that particular moment. During times of stress over the past year, the sorority, including strangers, has picked me up, dusted me off, and wrapped me in a warm, understanding hug, and I often chat with women I’ve never met. One described how she joined dating app Feeld the year after her divorce and began dating a polyamorous couple.

Another said she had an affair with a truck driver and became pregnant for the first time – aged 47. The truck driver was just passing through, literally, and she’s now, as she says, “the oldest mom at the school gate, but really happy”. Within days of sending her message, which essentially detailed every inappropriate choice she’d made over the past 12 months, the Diet Coke Break woman apologized for fear of appearing “smug.” At the end of her original letter, she included a recent photo of her on her second wedding anniversary. The picture is beautiful and I think about it often. Three children in between, five beaming faces on church steps: although I was fed up with a new marriage, her story made me smile. “I’m sorry if this picture of me and my new husband on our wedding day upset you. I just wanted you to know that the madness will end and that one day you will be happy again.”

If there was such a thing as a divorce guide (indeed, there is: 2011 GBBO winner Holly Bell wrote one), an entire chapter should be dedicated to the concept of the year-long Diet Coke break. There’s so much pressure to get out, to roll between different sheets, to try new things with new people, although lonely moments might just be what the doctor would order if you asked. time to mourn alone. Letting yourself be flooded with feelings takes a lot of time. I’ve never really been alone. I’m not good at it so the last few weeks haven’t exactly been a walk in the park. I cried a lot the first two weekends I was alone. But I feel better now and ready to date more appropriately, with more honesty about what I’m looking for. No more diving headfirst into things I know aren’t right. Maybe even no more sex – well, not for a few months or so. With dating apps, sex is just a swipe away, but at what cost? I was recently introduced to two women who have made the decision to be celibate over the past year while addressing various issues with previous relationships. Or, as a friend’s barber proclaimed during a trim, “The problem with sex is that once it’s out of the bottle, you can’t get the genie back in.”

For well over a year, a mix of Instagram strangers, friends, and dating apps, on which I’ve spent disproportionate hours searching for Prince Charming, red wine, and oversized sunglasses, has gotten me through one of the most difficult times of my life. Speaking of which, I can’t imagine how my friend with a breast cancer diagnosis got through a similar time. Then her ex showed up on my Hinge account and oh we laughed. what a year What a Diet Coke break. What I’ve learnt after my year of boys, booze, boobs, bonks and banks

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