Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday's Wisdom

Today I want to talk about goals and routine, and maintaining both in the midst of the chaos surrounding your parents' divorce.  There is something comforting and safe about having a routine when your whole world feels like it's turning upside down.

When my parent's were getting divorced, I was just heading to college--my first chance to be 100% on my own and in control of my life.  Yet, when I got there, I felt completely out of control and like all the goals I'd set for myself before everything fell apart were impossible now.  In all the chaos, however, there were a few things I did every day that kept me grounded enough to get my barrings and continue focusing on those goals, so that when I was through all the awfulness, I found that all that time hadn't been wasted.  Yes, it took me longer to accomplish my goals, but I was still able to progress, and when you feel broken and out of control, progress is always a good thing! 

One of the things I did to keep some kind of steadiness in my life was schedule an early class for myself each semester. This helped me get out of bed when I otherwise might not have. I kept a daily journal, like I wrote about last week where I could purge and sort out all of my crazy feelings, and I wrote in it at the same time every day.  I also took time to just sit and be by myself every so often.  This helped me to re-group and to sort through the things that mattered from the things that didn't. And finally, no matter what was happening to throw me off course, I never gave up on my goals.  I knew that if I could just focus on one goal at a time, even though they seemed super insignificant compared to my family falling apart, I wouldn't regret it when everything settled down again. 

And I was right.  There were so many times I wanted to quit school, quit my job, quit my apartment and dating life and head off into some unknown land to hide from all the pain and craziness, but sticking with those things--plugging forward with a routine, when I wanted to run the other way was really a huge reason I made it out of my parent's divorce alright--possibly better, or at least wiser, than when I started. 

The fact is, you're going to have to face the pain and the hurt some time, and the sooner you do, and then decide what you're going to do in spite of it, the sooner you can get on with your life.  Keeping some sort of a routine during that process is really what keeps you grounded and enables you to have a home base when home is falling a part. You don't have to be OCD about it, but some sort of normal-ness is crucial to helping you see clearly. Everyone wants to run away from trouble and pain, it's our flight instinct kicking in.  But it's the ones who stay put, dig their heels in and determine to keep moving forward in spite of that instinct that come out on top. 

So, no matter what the challenge is you're facing, hang in there, discipline yourself, and keep moving forward.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you don't have to sacrifice your dreams and goals because it seems like nothing but what's happening to your family matters right now. You really are in control of your future.

 Think of it this way: one day you're going to have your own family, and the more "stick-to-itiveness" you can learn during the chaos of your parents' divorce, the better you'll be at sticking to it when that time comes.  Developing this skill will only greatly decrease your chances of putting your own kids through something similar one day. Despite popular statistics, I believe your past family life has only as much to do with the success of your future one, as you let it. 

You can do this!  And you can come out on top!  I know, because I've done it, and I'm totaly cheering for you!


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