Renaissance Day

photo of a martini, and book - Renaissance Woman by Ramie Targoff
Renaissance Woman by Ramie Targoff

Happy Renaissance Day to me!

This is a holiday that I’ve made up. I’m the only one who celebrates it. I mean it in the literal way: from the Latin, a rebirth. 

Last year on January 30, I believe I posted a slice of cake, or perhaps pie, to which I treated myself, and cryptically said something about my birthday.

Some astute souls inquired, because they know my birthday is in April.

What I really was thinking was that last year on January 30, my unexpected divorce was finalized. I was an Unmarried person again. It meant a new life had officially, and legally, begun, though of course my life had already been quite different for some time.

This isn’t a sad post; the martini is celebratory! I made it intentionally, and hand-packed the olives with blue cheese, a favorite of mine. My favorite dinner is on the stove. I’m raising a glass to my new life, unexpected though it is.

The fact that my marital circumstances were changing freed me in many ways – certainly too many to list here, and perhaps some that I don’t even know about yet. I’m a new person (cue the Australian accent, Muriel van Arkle nee Heslop-style). I feel a new mandate, if that makes sense. I don’t want or need to tell all here, but I do feel like saying that, unexpected and unwanted as my divorce was, it’s one of the best things that could have happened to me.

 I have a freedom in my mind, and certainly in my time, which I’ve been directing toward creative endeavors that seemed impossible when I was yoked to the wrong person. I have big ideas again. I started my own business, have been making the best artwork of my life, had an art exhibition and other professional successes, started writing a book (with ideas for a few others).

Coincidentally, I’ve just begun reading a book called Renaissance Woman: The Life of Vittoria Colonna, by Ramie Targoff.  Ramie was one of my favorite Teaching Assistants at UC Berkeley, 30 years ago. I coincidentally reconnected with her just a few days ago at the Jaipur Literary Festival in Jaipur, India, which we were both attending for different reasons, and began reading her excellent book.

The book resonates with me for many reasons – as an art lover, a connoisseur of Italy – but right now, most especially because Vittoria embarked on a new life, a life which was far more suited to her, when her unhappy marriage ended.

Though her Unmarried state was due to the death of her husband, and she lived in the late 15th/early 16th Century, I find myself drawn to her story, and comparing it to my own…the idea of remaking yourself, on your own terms … as sudden and unexpected as those terms may be … is the state of my life right now.

And I love it. 

Happy Renaissance Day.