Thursday, February 16, 2012

Celebrating Valentine’s Day Post-Divorce (And Other Special Occasions)

I could have been a little more timely, but it took awhile for Valentine’s Day to sink in this year.  Post-divorce holidays like Valentine’s Day can be trying and particularly uncelebratory.

My tips for your post-divorce Valentine’s Day (or other special occasion)

*Perhaps it’s not such a special day after all.  I don’t mean to be a scrooge, but does anyone really celebrate their love?  And they don’t call them hallmark holidays for nothing, do they?  So my suggestion: don’t make it such a big deal.  This works for birthdays, mother’s/father’s days and other similar made up holidays.

*You still love people, right?  So how can you make their day brighter?  If you absolutely, positively have to celebrate, why not celebrate someone else’s day.  Your kid, your co-worker, your mother…you get the idea.  Take the focus off you.  It helps.  This works for other “special” days as well; just find someone else to celebrate.

*Holidays like Valentine’s Day are primarily about cards, chocolate and whatever else your tradition has been.  What’s stopping you from buying your own chocolate and flowers?  Let’s face it, does chocolate taste any better because someone else has bought it for you?  I think not.  It’s your birthday?  That watch you’ve had your eye on will look just as good and work just as well if you buy it for yourself.

*I’ve always tried to send my single friends Valentines.  People may not be accustomed to you being single.  Sometimes it helps to tell your friends what you need.  Specifically.  Like, send me a card next year if I’m still single, please.  Flowers would be nice too.  And apply the same strategy to other special occasions.

So I say celebrate!  Just celebrate a little differently.  Be creative and make your own special occasion.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It’s No Cakewalk Post-Divorce…Or Is It?

I used to go out and run 3 miles regularly.  After many years it generally wasn’t much of a stretch.  Pushing it up to 6 was a challenge.  The thought of a half-marathon (13.1) was daunting.  Now that I’ve run 13 or 14 a number of times, planning on doing 9 this weekend seems like a cakewalk.  How do we get from something that seems incredibly difficult to a state of relative ease?   We might be talking about running or about post-divorce life.

Our perspective about things shifts over time.  Is the glass half full, or half empty?  Is 9 miles a lot, or not so much?  It simply depends on how you look at it.

A shift in our awareness occurs as well.  Before I was someone who ran 3 miles, now I’m someone who runs 14.  I didn’t have to judge it at 3, and I don’t have to judge it at 14 since I’m shooting for 26.2.  But it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so it may take a little while to get there.

So what does all this have to do with post-divorce life?  Before I was someone who was married, now I’m someone who is divorced.  I don’t have to judge it.  Before I was someone who went on vacation with my spouse, now I might go alone. Before I didn’t have to think about being comfortable around my ex-spouse, his/her new spouse, their new kids.  Now I do and may adopt the intention to accept things as they are.  It doesn’t have to be good or bad.  It just is what it is.

I’m proposing that things that seem difficult, perhaps nearly impossible, become relatively easy after you’ve built up to them.  Whether it’s miles or uncomfortable situations (think school plays, graduations, weddings), you keep slogging away at it and it gets easier, a cakewalk.

I’d suggest you try the following:

Keep an open mind to new perspectives, asking yourself if the glass is half full or half empty.

Be non-judgmental, noticing and aware of challenges, but not necessarily considering every new role or challenge as good or bad.

Give yourself more time to meet your goals, whether they’re meeting a new partner, figuring out a new career, or establishing a sense of balance and harmony.

And about that cake, you’ve earned it.

C. Debussy, Golliwog’s Cakewalk, Barbora Tomaskova