As I write this, it's hours away from a new year - 2017. I have many of my social media friends lamenting 2016 because of all the celebrities we lost in this past year, notably Alan Rickman, Prince, and most recently, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. But for me, 2016 has been a challenging year because of personal loss. And yet, I find myself buoyed in spirit and cheerful, because those days are behind me, and I am looking ahead.
Many of you know that earlier this year my mom passed away. And many of you shared in my grief through this blog and my social media posts. Her passing was difficult - more so than I had thought it would be. But the grief was intensified by another loss in my life: the end of my marriage.
Some of you are aware that Lorrie and I divorced this year, but many of you may not be aware of it. We both have done our best to keep it from being publicized on Facebook, and I have probably been more vocal about it in person than she has. But I have been more vocal because I want to move on, and I had many work and church friends that cared and wanted to be a support to me and the kids. Our marriage ended amicably, and we are dedicated to co-parenting the kids. But I knew as it ended that I would want to move on. And I feel that I have. Oh, sure. There are still remnants of Lorrie here in the house: the decor; her computer is here; and some of her clothes are here. This house still reflects her. Thankfully, I am for the most part comfortable in that, because I do like the decor. It's warm. It's familiar. And for me and the kids (who are still with me, including Justin), it's home.
But I know it's time to move on. And, it's also time to rediscover myself. I have returned to my passions (singing and photography), and have received a great sense of joy and fulfillment in those activities, just as I felt 20 years ago when they were such a major focus of my life. I have plans for my photography that are measured. I'm not trying to do it all at once. And in a small way I'm involving Colin with it as well. It turns out he has the Prothero love of road trips and seeing things. And so while I do my passions, I can build relationships with the kids.
Part of the rediscovery of myself is learning how to balance work, my time with the kids, my time for my passions, and my time for dating. I have been dating, and find that I'm not ready for a relationship, or the "boyfriend/girlfriend" thing. I find that there are too many women that I wish to go out with. Yes, I'm on a few dating sites, and so far, they've been fruitful. More importantly, though, I realize that I am not wanting to get into a relationship yet, because I need to go through this journey of defining myself not as "Lorrie's husband", but as John. As Colin and Audrey's dad. As the photographer, and as a musician.
So, here's to an unknown but anticipated 2017!