There are many clichés relating to divorce, which all seem to reverberate in hushed conversations and text messages. "Time heals all wounds." "Things will be better next year." "You deserve better." "There's a light at the end of the tunnel." (Oh no, I used that one just yesterday.) But my all-time favorite saying about divorce was penned by my friend and mentor, Elinor Robin, Ph.D., who once said:
Elegantly said, right? Divorce forces us to make decisions about how we want to live our lives, and that is both a good and bad thing. The truth of the matter is that divorce is brutally painful. Whether it was amicable or hit you in the back of the head like a 2x4, divorce is an emotional rollercoaster ride. How you come out of it at the end (smiling and ready to take a chance again or nauseated with no intention of ever doing it again) is entirely up to you.
In a similar vein, divorce also forces us to make decisions about how we want to spend the holidays. We can choose to wallow in self-pity, or spend hours cursing our ex-spouses and casting voodoo curses on them. Or, we can choose to reverse what we perceive to be "worst," and find ways to make it better! Putting good vibes out to the universe isn't only good for your psyche, but it's also good karma to ring in the new year. For most, the roughest moments of the divorce are usually celebrating the first birthdays and first holidays as a divorced family. The juggling of calendars, jostling of kids, and feelings of loss as your traditions are being cast aside can be overwhelming to the newly divorced. Luckily, "time heals all wounds," and as each milestone passes, things do get easier.
See how this works? It's all about perspective, and how you choose to feel about something. For some, spending New Year's Eve with the kids highlights that they're not out on the town with that "someone special." For others, spending New Year's Eve with the kids highlights that with or without a spouse, they can still celebrate the ringing in of a new year! For some, just thinking about walking into the holiday party alone is paralyzing. For others, it is liberating! Take some advice from Elinor Robin this holiday season, and force yourself to look inward at your life and your choices, and assess where you are and where you want to go. It is truly the best (and worst) thing about divorce.