Call me crazy. I love shopping at post-security breach Target.
The aisles lack the usual crowds, the shelves are stocked, and I can find my favorite brand of milk without having to fight off another mother who is also reaching for the last gallon.
I also loved eating at post-green onion, hepatitis A tragedy Chi-Chi’s. After the outbreak of Hep-A, the restaurant chain scrubbed every surface clean from top to bottom, the food was inspected once, twice, three times, and the service was fast and top-notch. And no one noticed because I was the only one eating there.
My enjoyment of these establishments may sound a bit odd. Why am I frequenting places that most people are avoiding after these big catastrophies? And how will this all tie back into my separated, almost-divorced relationship status?
Inquiring minds want to know…
Target and Chi-Chi’s were hit by metaphorical bombs and both companies were forced to look at their internal workings. Chi-Chi’s failed as a restaurant. Target (or Tar-JAY, if you are so inclined) is scrambling to make things right for its customer base. Even big corporations realize that allowing the habit of complacency within it’s headquarter walls destroys intimate relationships. They took their systems, and by extension their customers, for granted.
Now Target is trying to woo me, and thousand of other shoppers, to stay in their empty stores. Target is reevaluating their internal workings and figuring out ways to make it a safe relationship for me. I love being their customer right now because I feel that they really care. I’ll happily swipe my credit card at the register because they have actively worked to resolve the problem.
And that brings me to interpersonal relationships. I’m going to paraphrase an especially poignant paragraph from Michele Weiner-Davis writing for Psychology Today on the subject of Walk-Away Wife Syndrome:
It is said that people don’t change until they hit rock bottom and I can tell you first hand that the bottom doesn’t get any lower than the earth beneath (a left-behind spouse’s) feet. The threat of divorce generates true soul-searching. These are the (spouses) who readily schedule appointments for therapy, sign up for marriage seminars, read every self-help book they can get their hands on, seek spiritual connection and even risk vulnerability by discussing the f-word (feelings) with friends and family. Gradually, they become the (spouses) their partners have been wanting…Most of these (spouses) sincerely undergo a personal transformation that shifts their priorities forever.
While I am saddened that we had to get so low, I’m happy because the only way we can go is up.
I’m not so sure anything else would have resulted in such intense soul-searching on my part (call me Target). Life, business planning, child-raising. These things and more would have crowded out any time for introspection and growth because improving myself was not a high priority. But when Husband #2 walked out and the family business closed its doors, there wasn’t much left in my life other than the kids (who are pretty self-sufficient at this point). I literally had all the time in the day to search for a job and search for myself.
All of this introspection and research ignited something inside of me that hasn’t been active for a while: a thirst for knowledge and a desire for meaningful discussion. I forgot how enjoyable it is to read just for reading’s sake and to bounce ideas off of another person. I can honestly say I do not miss having a life dominated by a home-based business.
At 47 years old I was forced to reevaluate my entire existence and how I fit into the world at large. I guess it just goes to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks. I can move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. And that’s a good thing. I really didn’t like the old tricks anyways.