My one-year divorce-aversary is coming up quickly.
It’s made me stop to think about the year and overall, it’s been a rough one.
Every time I thought I had things under control, life would pull the rug under me and laugh saying, “Not so fast, blondie.”
There were some moments in which I thought—I just can’t do this. Many moments. The feeling was overwhelming, but then suddenly, I turned a corner. Not that I don’t sometimes feel defeated about caring for myself and my daughter on my own…not that I don’t look at my bank account and think, “When does it get better?” because I do… a lot.
Not that I don’t think, when another issue comes up with my ex, “What now?”
But that I believe wholeheartedly that I will manage it. Somehow, I managed when I thought I couldn’t during numerous moments throughout this year. And honestly, out of the three years we have been done with our marriage, this one was the hardest by far—proving that no two divorce journeys are alike.
And here it is spring. A time of new growth. A time of warmer sun. A time of longer days.
And for the first time, I will be without my child for six whole nights.
Originally when we split, we shared her time 50/50, and it was challenging making a life for myself when she was gone with dad. Then as her dad started to take less and less and less time with her, suddenly, it was the two of us again, attached at the hip just like we had been when I was a stay-at home mom.
I’ve never been apart from my daughter for this long. I’ve never missed the chance to dye eggs or see the bunny in time for Easter. It’s this time of the year that I am most sentimental about missing my stay-at home days with her… she just turned six and I still remember those days…the ones rocking her in her chair, her nursing to sleep. The ones in which we hopped from park to park, drawing on the sidewalks, writing letters, and swinging on swings…climbing to the top and me wondering if she wasn’t going just a little too high…or not.
How quiet the house is going to be for six whole nights…getting used to that silence. Getting used to being alone with my own thoughts.
There is a fine line between being done with love, giving up before you should pull the plug, and ending a bad situation when you’ve hit that “f*ck this” point. There’s a difference between defeat and the admission of failure before you’ve even given something a chance, and finally getting tired of a circus act and throwing in the towel.
Giving up is a failure. It’s backing out of something due to fear of failure, anxieties of many kinds, or low self-esteem.
Cutting off a dead-end situation isn’t a failure. It’s a victory. It’s admitting that something or someone in your life is bad for you, to you or with you. It’s deciding to win. It’s making a better choice.
When you give up, you are cutting off a place or piece of you before it’s even begun. It’s the career you really wanted but were too afraid to go for. It’s meeting someone and feeling butterflies in the pit of your belly and running away because you don’t want him to end up like the others. It’s trying to achieve a fitness goal but realizing it’s going to take a lot of work and you’re too discouraged.
Giving up is when you see that your end result — whether it’s true love, more money, the better career — is difficult, time-consuming or risky, and you decide to back out before the curtains have even been pulled.
I am an extrovert, through and through! Sure, there are times I feel socially anxious and nervous around people I don’t know. There are even times I would rather be by myself than with people, but more often than not, my extroversion appears. There has not been a day in my life in which I could claim that I am really “timid” or “shy.” I was a professional comedienne and TV personality for a few years, and I enjoy the company of others. The fact is, in order to stay sane, we extroverts need a few things in our lives lest we go completely nuts!
1. People, People, and More People
Sure, extroverts need a day off from the crowds on occasion, but in order to stay sane, extroverts need to have the company of others. Other people to talk to. Other people to do things with. Other people to collaborate with. Extroverts crave and thrive on the company of others.
Not everyone needs to be a parent. Let’s face it: there are some people who just don’t belong in charge of a little person. If you don’t want kids and know that, good for you. There’s no requirement that states you have to reproduce, unless of course you’re a firm believe in the bible.
Don’t quote me, but I’m pretty sure it’s a requirement of Christianity to at least try to begat kids if you’re able. Either way, there are some folks who need to steer clear of making babies. Here are a few signs you’re better off not being a parent.
The world ends and starts with you.
When you have a child, your own personal agenda tends to go by the wayside, because when kids are little they simply cannot care for themselves without the guidance of you, the adult.
Some people may find “Type A” people too high-strung or overachieving, but the fact is, Type A people are brilliant, too. Yes, we may end up with heart issues before Type Bs, but the pros to being a Type A include:
We get sh*t done.
We don’t stop fighting for what we believe in.
We hit every nook and cranny.
We remember what you say and listen.
We play hard and party hard.
Of course, being a Type A, there are certain struggles we experience in our bold, high-achieving and sometimes stressful lives that other folks simply won’t get.
We all have heartaches, down periods, tribulations and stressors in our life. When you take a mental photograph of your whole life from birth to today, chances are you’re going to have some serious grey and black splotches.
But overall, you wake up each day and do what you have to do. You’ve got it together. Unless of course, you’re a hot freaking mess!
No doubt, if you’re a catastrophic mess, people know it. The bad news is most likely, people are judging you or being empathetic toward you. The good news is every one becomes a mess now and then. But when your life has a constant orange roadblock sign in it and every one, including yourself, decides that your life is a big pile of sh*t, that’s where the problems arise.
Over the holidays this years I watched as my news feed filled with “not-so great” news stories and updates of suicide upon suicide…upon suicide. Then someone I hadn’t seen in a while but who I think is a great person, attempted suicide unsuccessfully.
It floored me.
An astute friend of mine commented,”What’s with all the suicides?” and we noted that perhaps it was the holidays and our age. We are at the end of our thirties. Midlife crises are coming our way from now until age fifty.
Then, as a woman who is almost divorced, (I heard news we have 1 more paper to hand in and then we get our uncontested divorce date and it’s bam, done!) I wondered how often divorce plays a factor in suicide, and everything I have read has said that divorce increases suicide rates for parents (especially men, and children).
As we reach the end of our thirties, many of my friends, associates and acquaintances, are hitting many different milestones of life that can cause happiness or depression:
Births of children & family growth (or lack thereof)
Stable marriages or divorces
Buying & renovating homes (or losing them)
Career growths and raises (or starting new careers or losing a job
So what was it that was causing this string of suicides exactly, and is there any real answer?
Be nice to yourself. You’re doing better than you think you are.
We are our own worst critics, but some of us have a literal scoreboard in our head that’s constantly giving us the “thumbs down.” It’s like living with a movie review team in your head. Except, unlike the famed Siskel and Ebert, the critic in your mind doesn’t have a day off or a moment of rest.
On one hand, being hard on yourself has pluses: people who don’t really care about what they say and do aren’t typically out making the world a better place. Someone who’s hard on themselves is someone who cares about their time on this planet, and that’s a good thing! Where it becomes problematic is the intense self-criticism that sucks the joy out of life and the intense “second-guessing.”
Are you too hard on yourself? Here are a few signs you need to ease up the pressure.
Your accomplishments are never enough.
You got published somewhere huge. You landed the big raise. Your master’s thesis was accepted. It’s all just bliss and kittens to everyone … except you. You should have done X. You should have gotten 5K more in that raise. Did they really approve your thesis idea? Sure, but I bet they didn’t love it.
A pint-sized, battery-operated writer, voice-over actress, comedienne and single mother , Laura Lifshitz will work for chocolate. The former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate is currently writing about divorce, sex, women’s issues, fitness, parenting, marriage and more for the New York Times, Women’s Health, Redbook, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, Your Tango, ... Continue reading →