Something happened to me a few days ago that really made me think about the importance of living. 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.
Here’s what happened to me. 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’d 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 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, my body aches a bit and I’m a little shaky still, but all in all, I have to thank God 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 long.
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 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? I guarantee there are millions of things like this. Let yourself see them and appreciate them.
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. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone going through a divorce!
In closing, 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!
Jackie Pilossoph is the creator of her website, Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of her novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationship column, Love Essentially, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press. Pilossoph lives with her family in Chicago. Oh, and she’s divorced.