As we begin our journey into 2015, are you getting quizzed by family and friends about your plans and goals for the year ahead?
For those of us who have experienced the incredible overwhelm and challenges that come along with divorce and its life-altering consequences, making a commitment to specific goals can feel like adding on even MORE commitments to our daily list and then feeling bad later on when we realize we haven’t achieved them.
Instead of making more demands on yourself to Do More, Be More, and Acquire More this year, why not free up some of that the dead weight that’s holding you back and consider Letting Go instead.
5 Things to Let Go of in 2015:
- Feeling bad about yourself when you hear criticism from the Food Police
Each time you’re roaming through the grocery aisles should you agonize about whether each food item you’re holding contains gluten, will it fit into that Paleo diet and has it been included in the “Dirty Dozen List” of fruits and vegetables that I should really buy organic even though I can’t afford it?
I say Hell, no! Sure, chemicals and additives in my food could potentially cause me all sorts of health problems ahead but I also take my life in my hands by scrubbing out the shower with chemically laden tile cleanser, inhaling the gas fumes at the gas station where I fill up and skipping those nagging reminders that I need to get a colonoscopy because I’ve turned 50.
- Pressure to Cook Daily
When I heard the words, “You’re Fired” from my soon-to-be ex, my daily responsibilities of fixing 3 well-balanced meals a day for our family of five for over 20 years came to an abrupt and screeching halt.
Suddenly, I felt the relentless, suffocating daily weight of planning what to fix, preparing every meal and then cleaning out the pots and pans begin to loosen its tight grip on me.
I felt uplifted as that nagging space in my brain was freed up at last when I no longer had to worry about “What’s for Dinner?”
Feelings of intense exhilaration took me over- as if I had just boarded the Freedom Riders bus to challenges the existing civil rights laws that prevailed in the South in 1961.
3. Expecting to be able to Keep up with your Kids’ Friends Lifestyles
How tightly I held onto this expectation for so many years following my divorce!
My kids attended top rated suburban public schools in Columbus which included property tax rates that rose significantly each year. Homeowners where we lived gladly voted for these higher property tax rates to brag that they owned a home in such a highly regarded public school district.
At the start of divorce, my soon-to-be ex convinced the judge in our case to issue an order from the bench that required us to list our 2 story suburban home for sale within 30 days. It sold quickly and soon I was scrambling to find a rental that would accept 3 growing kids, a large dog and also kept each of the kids on their same bus route.
I found a small but expensive rental home that would meet these requirements, but quickly drained my retirement fund from the exorbitant rent increases each year when my lease renewed and I had to rent a storage unit since the rental home would only hold about half our family’s furniture and belongings.
My expectation to keep up with the high cost of housing which aligned with their schools caused me many financial struggles but I wanted so much for the kids to NOT have to deal with changing schools during or soon after the divorce. I also wanted them to benefit from some stability and be able to keep their same friends because we had relocated so many times before for their dad’s job changes when we were living as one family.
- Expectations that your Ex will Behave Better After Divorce
Hope Springs Eternal.
Yet Hope is not your friend when it comes to expecting your ex to behave any better after divorce than he did during the time when you were married to him.
As the parent in our home that had done at least 95% of the heavy lifting of parenting over the years, I hoped that my ex’s dogged determination to fight me in court for 2 years as he tried to get 50% of parenting time might mean that he wanted to step up his game to a higher level on the parenting plate.
Just as soon as we emerged from the blinding spotlight that flooded out onto our messy custody battle, he reverted to his former workaholic ways and also started taking lengthy trips to the Bahamas with the other woman.
After we were completely done with the court appearances where each of our parenting styles were scrutinized and reported on by highly paid experts and several attorneys, his devotion and interest in spending focused, meaningful time with the kids whooshed out the window like a used Kleenex sailing over the balcony of the top floor in a high rise building.
- Others Peoples’ Expectations that you Should Heal Faster from Divorce
Faster Check-out Lines. Faster Interstates. Faster Internet speed.
Here in the U.S. faster is always the preferred way to do things. Each morning when I brew my coffee, I’m reminded of this truth as I put my cup underneath the action and the coffee maker briefly halts until my cup is full and then continues brewing.
How fast will YOU heal from divorce?
Not nearly as fast as others around you will want you to and and expect you to get on with your life and not keep bringing it up. (they’ll be sure to tell you that this is really for your own good!)
Why does it take so long to heal from divorce?
You are still experiencing the massive effects from a loud and powerful chainsaw that has cut across all the parts of your life- emotional, spiritual, financial, work life, extended family, parenting… the list goes on and on.
But you will know if you listen to your gut when you’re truly ready.
When it comes to Divorce, This Too Shall Pass
Figuring out when the time is right for you to begin to navigate through the healing process depends on when you’re truly ready to start going there.
How long it takes to heal the hurt deep inside can’t be calculated by dividing the length of our married years in half by using a formula or requiring that we go through specific stages which are outlined in the books that we read.
Don’t buy into believing that you should follow someone else’s timeline.
For now it’s completely OK just to Breathe Deeply…..
Like anything worth achieving, it takes patience, a high level of self- awareness and developing an empowered mindset to begin.