Far out. Christmas has just finished and now New Years is upon us. The New Year is a traditional time for reflection on the past – and a focus on thinking about what you need to do to be a ‘better’ person. Sigh. Sigh again.
It’s the 27th of December and so far I have been asked five times about what my New Year’s resolutions will be (obviously people in my life think that I need to make some positive changes… hmmm). And while I am ok about this now, I recall clearly how I felt when I was asked this question while in the middle of my divorce.
I can remember staring at the person(s) in question and thinking “How can you think I am capable of doing anything other than look after my children and survive today? All I want to do is to make it through to tomorrow alive and well”!
Thinking about what to do to be a better person – the New Year tradition – is almost impossible when you are in divorce survival mode. Even small changes can be difficult to make when you are going through hell – or when so many things in your life are moving so quickly (or slowly) you don’t know where you are at.
A year long commitment to anything is a ridiculous proposition when you can’t think past the next hour.
So there was no way I was promising to do something or commit to something. Even if it was only a New Years promise to myself. Not while my world was in divorce turmoil.
But I did consider a resolution committing to a resolution that was not based on WHAT I would do but WHO I wanted to be. A resolution based on a mantra or a positive thought – something to assist with mindfulness or to get me through a hard moment during my separation.
So while I did make a New Years resolution each year during my divorce and since (if there is such thing!) they were not a concrete “I will not flare up in anger when my ex does x, y or z” or “I will make sure I will exercise three times a year, oops sorry, three times a week”.
No the New Years resolutions that I embraced were themes or mantras – many about how I wanted to handle my divorce journey and beyond… A single word or phrase to sum up who I wanted to be for the year – an aspiration or inspiration. Words to stick on the fridge. A reminder of what was important to me – something that would put things into perspective during the difficult times – when there was conflict or I feeling scared, or guilty or even shame.
Some of the mantras I came up with included:
- 2007 – I am Teflon (let it slide off me!)
- 2008 – Grace under fire
- 2009 – Will be mine (and the kids)
- 2010 – Find the Joy
- 2011 – Zen
- 2014 – The Sum of All My Parts
- And 2015 – well so far I am thinking “The Year of Taking Charge”… Maybe.
What could yours be?