While I was divorcing several years ago, life felt like a roller coaster for awhile. At the beginning, when I was first separated, most days seemed like a mix of chaos, sadness, anger and anxiety. Between my young children, attorney’s fees, financial concerns, feeling alone and very lonely, and walking on eggshells in between terrible fights with the ex, it was hard to believe I was going to be OK.
But as time passed, days that seemed hopeless became less and less frequent, and more and more good days started to come. I found a sense of calm and peace at times. I also discovered surprising strength and a sense of empowerment, both from which consistent adversity, i.e. shit show after shit show. I will say, realizing you are coping better than you expected and that you are thriving is a really, really great feeling.
But one thing I regret while divorcing was all the time I spent worrying and getting myself worked up over little stuff. I wish someone would have taken the time to look me in the eyes and say:
“Don’t worry about it. What you are upset about right now isn’t going to matter in 5 years, or even in one year, one month or honestly, next week.”
A friend of mine forwarded me the article, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck,” by author and blogger, Mark Manson. I loved it so much, I am now reading his book of the same title. Here are some takeaways:
Not giving a f*** about something doesn’t mean you’re not a caring person.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
The older you get, the less you care about stupid stuff and it makes you a happier person.
Inspired by Manson, here are 21 things you shouldn’t give a fuck about while divorcing:
1. Some woman who you barely know calls and says, “I heard you’re divorcing. What happened?”
2. You run into your ex’s friend or family member who you thought cared about you and he/she is very cold and distant to you.
3. Your ex just started dating a woman you thought was your friend.
4. You had your first date with a guy and he never called you back.
5. Some girl you know told you that some other girl said to her, “Her ex is so adorable. She should really try to get back together with him. She’ll never do any better.”
6. You look in the mirror and realize you don’t look the same as you did last time you started dating.
7. Something that happens legally in your divorce upsets or angers your spouse, which was not your intention. He/she is really pissed at you.
8. You’re waiting outside at your kids’ school and you can sense other women whispering about you.
9. You interviewed for your old job (after taking 10 years to be a stay-at-home mom) and they promptly sent you a rejection letter. You never even got a second interview.
10. Your ex comes to pick up the children and is so mean it’s unsettling.
11. You open your monthly attorney bill and your jaw is on the ground.
12. Your ex texted you a bunch of really, really mean messages that include really awful words about you.
13. Your children tell you they met dad’s girlfriend and that’s she’s pretty and nice.
14. It’s your birthday and your ex doesn’t even say happy birthday.
15. Your ex’s attorney purposely shakes her wet umbrella on you and then pretends it was an accident.
16. You get home from a disappointing date you met on a dating website and you feel exhausted. Yet again.
17. Your ex shows up in court and he’s got a whole new look. New clothes, new hair, he’s lost weight, and he thinks he’s 25 again.
18. You’re out to dinner with your girlfriend and you see your ex on a date.
19. Your ex has the kids on Thanksgiving and you have to be home alone.
20. Your ex tells you he cheated on you while you were married.
21. You spend New Year’s Eve with 4 married couples.
Here’s the thing. I’m not saying you shouldn’t care about these things while divorcing. But, does it help to get yourself all worked up or cry because some bitch in your neighborhood thinks your ex is a better catch than you? No way.
My way of saying “you shouldn’t give a fuck” while divorcing is simply to say that it’s OK to care, to be upset or to get angry about these things, but that you shouldn’t spend more than a few seconds before letting these worries roll off of you like rain on a plastic raincoat.
Worrying doesn’t do any good because it doesn’t take the problem away. Fear is something that will paralyze you, and anger can be toxic. Instead, take a deep breath and focus on something good: the yoga class you did today, your little girl’s smile, your dog, your parents, a trip you have planned, or the wonderful new life you are going to have when your divorce is behind you.