Like many folks, I am embarking on this holiday season as a divorcee, post-messy breakup. And like others, I've heard everyone's advice over, and over, and over again.
Thankfully, this year has been so damn busy I haven't had time to sit down and weep for days at a time. Not yet. And I don't intend to. Sure, I've had my moments, we all have, even if we're in a healthy relationship. Truth be told, this is the first year I have had a holiday truly to myself. Thanksgiving. All of my friends are busy. My family is nowhere near me and I don't know how on earth to behave.
Of course, I'm not unthankful for the holiday...nor am I going to dwell on the obvious "sadness" of having nowhere to go (there's always sushi!) on that day. Instead, I sat down and thought of all the faux-pas my friends have made over the years during their post-breakup holiday seasons. What's the old adage? Everyone you meet is a teacher? Learning from the mistakes of others is the way to marital bliss? Hmm. Not sure. But I do know, of course, by learning from their mistakes, what I should and shouldn't do in order to ensure I'm going to be intact mind, body and soul, by the time Dick Clark counts down the New Year.
10. Don't Watch Sappy Movies: Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks aren't actually in love. Nor are they living a real life together in pure bliss after meeting atop the Empire State Building.
9. Don't Call Him/Her: Heading down to the local pub for a few beers or martinis with your friends? Is it 1 a.m. again and you're alone...again? Do not call him/her. Sleep is necessary for a healthy mind. It even wards off depression.
8. Don't Buy Sappy Music on iTunes: Foreigner may want to know what love is, but they're just a bunch of big haired musicians/has-beens from the 80's. They don't hold the key to your happiness. Instead, discover some new music or better yet, support musicians by getting out of your sweats and seeing an actual band in a venue near you.
7. Don't Sign Up For An Internet Dating Site: I should qualify this by saying...unless you're ready. There are lots of folks on there that take it seriously (and lots who don't) and are hoping to meet their next ex. If you're just on there for giggles or in hopes of having a holiday date before January 1, you're short-changing and disappointing not only yourself but the other person too. Take time to do everything you've always wanted to do.
6. Don't Let Your Friends Be Your Scapegoat: No, not entirely. But you must remember that you're in the position you're in for a reason. Take time to rediscover yourself. Take this "loneliness" as a blessing and work on that inner voice and its opinion. It's not an easy task, nothing worthwhile ever is. It is instead, a necessary task.
5. Don't Indulge in the Seven Deadly Sins: This includes over-indulgence in chocolate, spiked holiday punch and prostitution. Moderation in all things is good. Besides, if you decide to take any of them upon yourself they'll leave you much less fulfilled and less desirable once you finally do decide to get your act together.
4. Don't Set the Bar too High: Who cares what Ms. Molly Perfect and her Ex did that made them so much happier during their breakup...do what you think needs to be done. You can only be you. And the way to be "you" again may not be obvious, but eventually it will rear its head for you to see.
3. Don't Bad Mouth Your Ex: This is a serious one. Got kids? Yeah? Treat them and their mother/father right. Make sure that the biggest gift they get from you during this holiday season is acknowledgment and appreciation from you. It goes a long, long way. Trust me. Kids are home more during the holiday season than not. That means they're around you, and listening to you, more than not. Try to see your ex for what he/she is, a human being. Remember that you're an ex too...
2. Don't Leave Your Family: Often times, it is your family that keeps you sane during these hard times. Don't forget that they're there and would love to see you, just you, again. Make sure you give them love in return for their never-ending patience with you. Don't leave them to be with some schmuck you met on a dating site the night before Christmas Eve or the guy/gal that sits two cubicles down from you that is only nice to you when he's in-between actual lovers.
1. Don't Forget About That Clean Slate: Each year brings with it a newer, shinier, more-fun version of you! Those New Years Resolution lists are specifically there for people like you, me and everyone else we know in this position, right? Right.
Ultimately, you should let it be what this time is supposed to be. It is but another break-up, another new lease on life, a huge do-over. Figure. It. Out. Find your big-girl-panties and wear them with pride on the outside of your clothes.