I ran into an old friend from my first wife's circle this weekend in the car park of Walmart. It was lovely to see her – and it had been many years since I last did so. We took the opportunity to fill in the changes and muse on the past. Curiously, I was surprised not to feel the old emotions of regret, sadness and loss that sometimes tinge my recollections of that time.

My ex-wife still lives locally, but I have only seen her a couple of times over the past 15 years, and then only fleetingly and without conversation. That is really how I want it to be – I feel that I drew a very definite line between me and the past when I left the marriage. But, of course, life is not so tidy and perhaps one of the more interesting mental adjustments that I have noticed recently is a clearer recollection of those times and a willingness to acknowledge that it was not all bad.

I would not be quite as I am today without those experiences. And that is a good thing. Seeing my friend moved me back through that time again, and I emerged with more of a slowly accumulating acceptance.