It's Valentine's Day. My first as a singleton for 11 years and I can truly say I'm now having a ball!
In the last few weeks a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I now know I'm finally over the break-up of my marriage and out the other side. It was a long haul but it now feels wonderful to realise the pain is all over.
It was the New Year that did it for me. I can't say my circumstances materially changed but as soon as 2014 began everything seemed a lot brighter again.
I'm not the superstitious type but 2013 was really unlucky not just for me, but the rest of my family also. I shan't go into details, suffice to say we were all glad to see the back of it. I partied particularly hard this New Year's Eve and the bits I can remember were very fun.
When your marriage is over there's all the obvious ways you're affected - the different stages of shock, grief, recovery, relapse and the rest, but looking back it was perhaps the small ways that I was affected by the split that surprised me more.
I have always been an organised person who rarely loses things. Having had a mobile phone for 13 years, last summer I lost mine at a work party and had to make my first ever insurance claim for it. I was mortified.
A couple of months later I also lost my train season ticket for the first time ever after a dozen years of commuting. It was those things that really made me realise I was coping, but just not really myself.
Slowly though, I know I've been getting back to my old self and my head is back to some kind of normality. I haven't lost anything significant now for a good few weeks. A great sign of progress to be sure.
In the last few months I've also started to like being single me socially again, and doing just what I fancy as the mood takes me. I didn't realise how much I'd missed such spontaneity.
In my earlier years I always used to love going to football matches and music gigs. I've seen more live football matches in the last six months than in the last six years. I've been to more live gigs in the last four months than I have in the last four years... you get the picture.
And the TV... it hardly goes on any more. My ex used to put it on as a default every evening but now I just don't very much. No more EastEnders or Top Gear to endure - oh the unbridled joy!
Losing a truly independent part of ourselves is part of the compromise deal when we become one half of a couple, and more often than not it's a great one.
However, I'm not going to kid anyone and pretend I'm not really enjoying doing just what the hell I want right now without having to consider what anyone else wants.
The unexpected, and initially bitter, taste of freedom that was forced upon me has become irresistibly delicious and is not one I want to end anytime soon.
So much so I've got a little battle going on inside of me.
On the one side there's the part relishing every moment of single life again after a decade of togetherness. And then there's the other part that is aware of my biological clock ticking and telling me I should be getting a move on finding a new relationship so I can realise my dream of procreating one day. But at the moment that part is definitely losing. All in good time is how I feel at the moment.
Towards the end of last year when I found out that my ex had jumped straight into another relationship after our decade together I was knocked for six. However, with a little hindsight I recognise it was a good thing.
Not only did I realise recently that I no longer loved him, but I don't mind what he's now up to. The rejection and dislike I felt so deeply for a few weeks clearly speeded up the process of getting over him and moving on. Now I think good luck to them.
I even sent him a jokey birthday card for which he sent me an email thank you. It's nice that there's not too much bitterness and recrimination on either side now.
I can finally say I'm happy again now, back to my normal self and it feels amazing.
A friend told me a couple of weeks back that the glint in my eye had returned. I'm assuming it was meant in a good way. I think it was.
So what am I doing this Valentine's Day to celebrate this newly enjoyed freedom and a brand new chapter in my life? I'm going to the pub with some friends.
Is it much different to what I do most Fridays? No, not really. But who cares? I can do what the hell I like now and it feels so good.
You can read Melinda's previous columns here.
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