Something happened to me yesterday that really made me think about the importance of living. What do I mean by that? When I say living, I mean capturing, enjoying and appreciating moments versus rushing through life like we all do. I mean Slow Down. Big. Time. And, this concept is especially important during your divorce.
So, yesterday… I began my day around 5:30am, drinking coffee and working, somewhat relaxed and peaceful. But, when 7am came around, it was time to start making lunches, getting the kids ready for school, doing dishes, cleaning the house, etc. It’s kind of like the gun goes off at that time and the race begins.
After I dropped off the kids at their schools, I headed to the gym to squeeze in a quick workout. I also decided to drop off a check to someone there—figured I get that task off my list. While practically running into the workout room where my friend was, I ended up tripping over someone’s hand weights and falling in my gym in front of about 40 women who were about to begin a fitness class. Embarrassing as hell, but that was the least of my worries.
I go flying in the air and land on a hard, gym floor on my knees. The fall (particularly my knees hitting the floor) was so loud that when I looked up, I was surrounded by a group of women asking if I needed them to call an ambulance!
By some miracle, I felt OK. My knees are badly bruised and my body aches a bit and I’m a little shaky still, but all in all, I have to thank the Lord that it wasn’t worse. He was truly looking out for me, and I believe giving me a warning to slow the heck down!
The whole experience made me realize how in a hurry I am every minute of every day. Like so many women I know, we are all trying to manage work, kids, our home, errands, a social life, relationships, working out, etc. And then maybe, just maybe we might have some free time to do something for ourselves. That’s a big maybe.
I asked myself, when was the last time I read a book in the bathtub? When was the last time I binge watched TV or movies while lying on the couch all day? When was the last weeklong vacation I took? Probably over a decade and a half–except for the TV binge watching.
I’m in no way feeling sorry for myself. I have a GREAT life. But time is going by so quickly, and the bucket list is still very high.
I find that rushing through life happens when people are going through a divorce, too. Men and women who are experiencing shock and anger and bitterness and resentment tend to make their divorce their whole world. They are rushing to talk to their lawyer, rushing to tell their friends stuff their ex did, rushing to look at attorney motions and judgements and emails and fees. Rushing because it is their universe and it is their top priority. I’m not judging. Trust me. I did it.
A divorce can become your whole life. It can consume you. It can make you feel like nothing else is going on—only your broken heart, your kids’ pain and your asshole ex who just ruined your life. That’s the mindset.
So what I want to share are some ways to actually enjoy life. My advice goes to people like me, and also people going through a divorce. Here it is.
Every single day, it’s important to find and acknowledge moments that are meaningful. Maybe it’s your kid’s laugh, maybe it’s that delicious cup of coffee you enjoyed this morning, maybe a cute guy noticed you, maybe you had a really nice talk with your mom, or maybe you looked up at the sky and it looked really really pretty. These are all gifts that people who have so much on their mind sometimes ignore. Slow down and stop ignoring them! Pay attention.
Notice little things. Instead of focusing on what just went wrong—that call you got from your attorney, or finding out you owe a lot more on your credit card than you thought, or putting on your favorite pair of jeans and they are really snug, or even j how pissed you are that your ex is already blissfully happy in his new relationship (which trust me, he isn’t and if he is it’s only temporary) try focusing on the good. What went RIGHT today? What are you thankful for? What do you have that you appreciate?
About six months ago, I started a ritual that I believe has helped me tremendously. Every morning when I wake up, before I get out of bed, I talk to God about the things I am thankful for. I do it every single day. It is a way to start my day focusing on the positives, rather than the stresses that will come as the day goes on.
It’s funny. Last night, my daughter was watching the movie, “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off.”
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you might miss it,” says Matthew Broderick at the beginning and at the end of the movie. In fact, that entire movie is about enjoying the little pleasures that life has to offer.
In closing, my message again is, Slow Down. Big. Time. I know your divorce is horrible. I know you can’t get through a day without crying. I know you are resentful and thinking about the past and about how all your ex wants to do is screw you financially. But typical divorces take several months to a few years. Do you want to spend that time living your divorce or living your life? The choice is yours. Think it over and try not to trip on anyone’s hand weights!
Like this post? Check out my article, “Why The Serenity Prayer Should Be Required Reading For Those Going Through A Divorce.”
Jackie — A very good post, thank you. I have just gone through some career turmoil and was trying to figure out if it was time for a restart. I’m near retirement age and financially in a good place. I had lunch with a female friend who I worked with for 25 years. She asked me a question, ” Don, when was the last time you did something for yourself.” Divorced two years — The truth was — never. I didn’t like that answer very much.
Your post hit home thanks.
Great that you came to that realization. No go have some fun!!! xoxo
YES. Divorce doesn’t have to be our identity. Although it does feel like it some days. I’m finished the process a few years out now. Life does go on. I hope your knees are okay, Jackie. I fell on ice and hurt my left knee. It took weeks to heal 😛
Thank you!! I was very lucky. I am scraped up but otherwise fine.
This was so awesome and honestly I am on my way to the gym right now. Divorce, so prevalent in our society and something we never plan for right? I mean if we knew this was going to happen, would we have gotten married, probably not! Life can throw us curve balls, sometimes they are also fast balls, but it is how we handle them that matters.
Great article and well written.
Thanks for the nice words. But honestly, I wouldn’t take back my marriage. I was really in love at the time and I enjoyed a lot of it. I also have the best kids I could ask for. No regrets here. Of course I didn’t expect to be divorced, but it doesn’t change how I felt when we were happy.