I love basketball. Always have, since I was a little girl. I would stay up all night during the play offs to watch the western games that came on past my bedtime. The rest of the house would be asleep, and I would be parked right in front of the TV clutching my hands tightly, digging at my skin with my little 8 year old nails when it got too intense and crying out when we missed a basket. “ It’s the playoffs! We can’t afford to miss a basket!!!!”
I would cry myself to sleep when my team would lose. My poor mood would last for days afterwards. I would find peace in the loss only because it meant I didn’t have to suffer through the anxiety of anymore play-off madness.
What does this have to do with surviving divorce?
The universe is quite simple, if you break it down. In nature, you will find that all things follow a symmetrical pattern. This can be very comforting if you allow yourself enough distance from your emotions. Take a step back- look at it from the outside.
Many times I have heard sportscasters comment on how teams win that national championship title. There is probably more time spent speculating about a team’s ability to win than time actually spent playing the game.
There goes that sneaky universe, being all symmetrical again.
So in a recent round of Finals games, one of the many fine sportscasters stated something to the tune of “You don’t win the finals, you survive”. By the time these guys have made it to game 7 of the Finals- they have exerted more energy, played longer, fought harder and left everything of themselves on the court. The team who comes out of that game holding the trophy, dancing around in their color confetti and wearing their national championship hats has survived the final 4 quarters.
You don’t Win at divorce. You Survive it.
You’re really following this whole “symmetrical universe” thing now, aren’t you?
My team lost that night. I didn’t cry myself to sleep this round though. I’m on my 20th year of this rodeo and I guess you could say I’ve learned to survive too… Not in the 7 foot tall, extremely athletic and talented basketball player kind of way… but survive nonetheless.
Now that we’ve made the connection between my deep love for basketball and my epic failure of a marriage, it’s time to immerse in survival mode.
A few tips to get started:
1. Stop thinking there will be a winner. That someone will come out on top. Because no one comes out on top in Divorce. It’s that simple. Eradicate that thought process, and you will instantly earn 10 extra lives! Don’t quote me on that figure… just a forecasted exaggeration. But you get the point.
2. Stop keeping score. It is very tempting to fall into a pattern of ticking who hurt who and trying to continuously get the upper hand. There is no peace to be found in “one up-ing “your opponent here. And no, “accidentally” misplacing (in the trash) said opponent’s favorite record is not considered a 3 point play.
3. Consider that this may actually be the best thing that ever happened to you. I didn’t say it will feel like the best thing, but it might actually be the best thing.
4. Remember those friends you used to have before you got married? Find one. If they are not available, re-purpose an acquaintance to be that friend for you. If you have no worthy acquaintances… there is a really nice, affordable wine you can pick up at your local grocery store. The deep reds usually have more in common with your struggles and have a knack for listening to you wail for hours into the night…
5. (Assuming you didn’t take option 3 above and already resort to this method) Take on the effortless hobby of wine tasting. Nightly. Or daily… if your work and/or family schedule permits. Shiraz is my personal favorite at the moment. Good for the mind, good for the body (unless you are a serious over achiever in the tasting department), good for the soul. And pizza. Great for pizza…
6. Possibly the most effective tip…Practice Yoga. It is the most effective way to get to know yourself. Reference survival tip number 3. This may actually be the best thing that ever happened to you. Your yoga practice is guaranteed to never let you down, to serve you unconditionally and to allow you the opportunity to indulge in pure, unquestionable “selfishness” (although I prefer the term “self care”, I have been given the right to be selfish during my practice before so I will bestow that right upon my readers).
7. Pop songs. Need I say more? Didn’t think so. And you- over there rolling your eyes- yes, You! Don’t act like you don’t know the words and weren’t singing along at the top of your lungs on your way home from the grocery store the other day. No one is above this!
The universe will continue to show you all of this symmetry. Just when you think the season is over, and you have the entire summer to rest your anxiety and rebuild your hope for next season, it will be upon you again. You will find yourself going through the cycle, just trying to survive.
Such is Divorce life. One season leads to another. Some days you will be clutching a trophy, some days you will be crying yourself to sleep.
But you will be surviving. One day at a time. And it can be beautiful!