It’s hard to not write what you know, to not write what you’re living. Many of us divorced parents live in our own little worlds, separately from the families and married couples that surround us. Instead of cooking dinner on our kid-free nights, we eat peanut butter straight from the jar and hobble together some nuts or hummus and crackers. We find a group of friends we can talk to on our roughest days, those who are in the same situation and can understand it.
The thing I’m learning is that life is hard for everybody, no matter how you spin the dice. When I was married with kids, it was hard because there was another person to contend with, because I had career ambitions I felt were getting thwarted by my kids’ needs, and I felt powerless at times to make any change. I was overwhelmed by the openness of time, all that I should be doing. Now I’m tired by the closed-ness of time, how little there is in the bookends around the work day. I look back and think how good I had it if I could just accept it, but I suffered the daily strings and arrows just like anybody. And I try now to think of how good I have it in a lot of ways, to remember there are challenges in either situation.
No one has it easy in this life. No one gets out unscathed, even if it seems that way. We all deal with our challenges in the best way possible. The difference, it seems, is not so much in our challenges as how we choose to deal with them. I think in the past, my stress caused me to lash out, or I distracted myself by finding something small to complain about. Now–after yoga training, years of meditating, an attempt at a spiritual life through various forms, I still have challenges, but I have no illusions about what’s going on within me as I face them. I am more awake. That doesn’t make it easier, but I also know there’s no other way forward on my path.
It’s funny the advice that suits me best these days, the words that help me: cliche phrases that still maintain their age-old wisdom.
“Get up, put one foot in front of the other.”
“It is what it is.”
There’s no changing the present moment, and it will inevitably pass. There is only being inside it, breathing through it. It’s a lot like giving birth. One contraction at a time, and something new is born.
Image by Lucas via Flickr Creative Commons.