If there was a piece of advice that I could pass along as a relationship coach/writer, it would be simply this:
“Appreciate what you have.”
Just four little words to live by.
This is by no means a lecture, a judgment call, or anything like that.
It is a choice — a way to view life. Maybe even more along the lines of a philosophy or mantra that I believe in.
I don’t claim to be an expert, guru, or know-it-all, and I don’t have all the answers to life or ever want to give you the false impression that I do.
Not even slightly.
But what I do have happens to be a strong belief system based on experiences that have molded my outlook on life after experiencing many sides of the same coin.
I guess you could say I was one of the lucky ones; you know, one of the people who got the opportunity to see life from many facets. (And let’s be clear, I use the word “lucky” by choice.)
Many women wouldn’t view being divorced or single as lucky, but I know for me, it created a new understanding and appreciation for what I believe so many others take for granted.
Now I find myself in a freaky nonstop observation mode. All of a sudden I have become hypersensitive to the fragility of life and the relationships that surround me.
I think I’ve always been like this, but it’s been heightened by the death of my father.
For those that have known me forever, you know I never entirely walk away from those that I have loved — I never have. To this day, I could call up my 6th-grade boyfriend and shoot the shit.
Which brings me to today…
I see relationships all over the place just being destroyed and thrown away for no good reason. Long term marriages, short-term marriages, solid love relationships all discarded too easily without serious work to make them better.
I see women saying buh-bye to their spouses for the bigger, better deal. Or worse yet — relationships that end for no valid reason other than it looks better on the other side, for that moment.
I’m not talking about physical or emotional abuse, drug or alcohol addiction, or infidelity. Those are all valid reasons to walk.
I’m referring to couples running around, tempting fate, swinging and partying. Showing so little respect for one another and investing more time in chasing a mirage than fixing what’s going on in their own backyard.
When you watch those couples from afar, it becomes clear — like witnessing a car going too fast around a bend headed for the cliff. You can almost see the steady pace of “dissatisfaction” accelerating in those marriages and relationships, almost guaranteeing divorce or break up down the road.
For what? Because it’s so fantastic on the other side?
It’s a facade.
The other side isn’t so glamorous the majority of the time. Society all of a sudden has started to glamorize divorced life with so many shows and movies now targeting this newfound audience with newly-divorced women dating and running around, having hot sex while living it up.
This is not always the case. In fact, I would say in most cases, it is not.
I like to believe that I am an exception to the rule. I have been blessed with being “in love” more than once since my divorce. But if given the choice, I would have preferred to start life off with the right lasting partner straight from the beginning because being divorced is no picnic. Raising small kids as a single parent is challenging. Even in the best case scenarios where true love is found and finances aren’t an issue, it’s just not easy to break up a family.
I have learned a lot from the road I have lived. Enough of an education to say that throwing away a red apple merely because it’s got a few bruises and you have a hankering for an orange because life is boring and stagnant and the partner you once loved seems to be a lemon, etc., is just plain foolish.
Many times what we think are the leftovers we leave behind become the five-star meal someone else has waited and prayed for — all of their lives.
My father taught me that just one decision can affect the rest of your life. He used to tell my sisters and me the story of when he was young and in the war. The German soldiers caught him and forced him to make a choice to either go to the left or to the right.
My father chose left. Those that chose the right were sent to the gas chambers and killed. That story lives with me daily.
I make my decisions very carefully these days, recognizing that each one has the ability to impact the rest of my life.
And the one thing I’ve really come to know with 100% certainty …
Sometimes choosing left is actually right.
Until next time —