Post-divorce is a turbulent time in one’s life. There are too many tasks and too little time to get everything done. It takes less energy to plop down on the couch and view endless movies than to arrange get-togethers with friends.
One is seeing party guests on film without taking the trouble to dress up and having to engage in conversation. It may be easier to watch life from the sidelines rather than being a participant in life.
One may feel numb after divorce and push people away. One woman told her friends that she was not up to seeing them after her divorce. She shut herself away. She eventually emerged from her self-imposed isolation as a shell of her former self. She was more like a zombie walking through life than getting any enjoyment from it.
Become an Active Participant in Life!
Experiences are the zest of life. Make an effort after divorce to connect with others and be fully present. Tom, is an amateur astronomer and enjoys going to conferences and meeting like-minded people. He is full of excitement and sets up his small eleven-inch telescope at these celestial events.
He was quite surprised when professional astronomers were lining up to see the night sky through his small telescope. Why were these individuals so ecstatic? They told Tom that with their large telescopes on the job, they do not get to look at stars and planets through their own eyes. Instead, a computer looks at the heavens and generates the images via a computer screen.
These astronomers were thrilled to experience seeing the constellations directly themselves. Experience beat the computer for these guys.
People may assume they are experiencing life when in reality are living it vicariously through their children.
A stage mother is a good example of this. Post-divorce, rather than starting new pursuits, their offspring are the ones pushed into it. The kids are taking up a sport, art or other activities that the parent would like to be doing themselves. If you want to play baseball, then do it. I have been to school matches when it was really the parent who would like to be on the basketball court, not the child.
A variation on this theme is the single parent living through their children. When asked “How’s life?” their answer is all about what the kids are doing. Get out and have fun experiences yourself.
Divorce has an effect on some as if they are drifting or floating through the proceedings.
I felt like I was out of my body for part of it and mainly going through the motions. Embarking on a cruise with my sons was the catalyst to jerk me back into my body Exploring ruins in Albania and traipsing around Tunisia got me experiencing life to the fullest again.
A few divorced friends traveled to remote destinations, for volunteering or to do physical challenges, such as mountain climbing. Consider getting out of your comfort zone and exploring somewhere new.
To have experiences vs being in the audience of life, engage your five senses.
Smell the sea air.
Feel the ocean spray on your face or the gritty sand between your toes.
Hear the cries of the seagulls.
Gaze at the lovely shades of water.
Enjoy the taste of coconut ice cream.
When I was stressed with post-divorce court cases, I did the above exercise for the appropriate setting, such as when strolling through a park. I recently started doing karaoke on stage, was a speaker at a conference in London and took a river cruise through the Netherlands at the peak of tulip season. Look locally to discover opportunities for having new experiences. It is loads more fun to be an active participant than an onlooker in life.