Unexpected Change

This morning one of my favorite Adele songs came on the radio and seemed to speak to me in an entirely new way. Previously, I would get caught up in empathizing with her simple, but humble story that parting ways with a current love, didn’t mean that she would never find love again. And that belief helped her to be grateful and even appreciate the pain, enabling her to wish her former love all the best. I related with her about the pain of losing someone, of choices made to enable future growth, despite current heartache. Sadly (or not), it’s oh so familiar.

Today, I heard in Adele’s song, an anecdotal story of life. I fall in love with life so easily. Although more often than not, it’s my expectations about what life will bring me that I cherish. And every time it doesn’t happen as I plan, in essence unexpected change, its my attachment to that expectation that brings the suffering. My life is full of unexpected change at the moment. In health, relationships, employment, creative pursuits…and I realized that it is not the change itself that causes me pain, but more so that I am mourning the loss of a plan. The passing of an idea of how my life should look and feel right now. And it was only until the idea died, that I realized how attached I was to it.

So here I am, 4am on a weekday after weeks of restless nights and tearful days, a moment of clarity: I have a choice. I can continue to fantasize about how wonderful my plan was and what it would look like if it did come to fruition…

or simply let it go,

trusting that the qualities of that desire (joy, peace, balance, well-being….love) will manifest in other ways.

30 & divorced

Everyone should go through a divorce.

 

Now, hopefully not one rife with physical trauma or financially-degrading court battles. There actually IS another way to experience it, unbeknownst to Hollywood. Mine for instance, finalized as I stepped into my 30th year. Most of my life has been spent focused on finding prince charming. Unconsciously preparing myself for my happily ever after. I’m not blaming Disney, that’s just how I felt. Searching for a man to make me happy and finally realizing, once I had a great one, that I was still miserable.

Divorce highlights the separation from a previous self and life. The anxiety of choosing again who you are and the pain of facing your worst fears. Divorce slows you down. It forces you to re-evaluate, re-define, re-assess. It asks you to not only define, but prioritize what is most important. It challenges you to attempt forgiveness instead of payback. It caricatures your life, highlighting some of the ugliest characteristics of your self and the illusions you created around you.

I don’t think the reason that there are more divorces in the U.S. than there were 20 years ago is because people are less committed to the “institution” of marriage (although surely there have always been those people). I think instead, there’s a growing public consensus that we’re ALLOWED to change. In fact not only are you allowed to, you should. Oprah says you need to grow up, and mature (unlike Tom Cruise). And yes, you need to go through the darkest, deepest valley in order to do it. It sucks. I know. I’m divorced.

My divorce has been a p-r-o-c-e-s-s of self-realization. And only now can I look back on the past two years and say I changed. I am happier. I am more prone to forgiveness. I am more optimistic about my future and my son’s future. Divorce is one of those life changes that is paradoxical as you move through it. You feel joy and deep regret. Pain and giddiness. Loneliness and relief. I had many a night sobbing in bed through this emotional confusion, not understanding how I could possibly experience all of this at once. And wondering when it would shift to be celebratory…or at least calm acceptance of a new beginning.

But change is often like that. It gets you when all else seems to have failed and all you have left is you. And sometimes, not even a you recognizable to those closest to you. But some other person who is stronger, wiser and actually committed to something deeper than vows: discovering your purpose for being here. Your purpose for breathing. For being on this earth at this point in human history. Because if I wasn’t put here to be a wife, what did I come for? Perhaps the next 30 years can be focused on answering that question.