While I was in life limbo post-divorce, I crafted 10 rules for myself to follow. These were rules born partly of pragmatism, partly of fear and anger and mostly of determination. The rules were written in the relative vacuum of the weeks following a divorce. Easy to craft. They’ve proven harder to follow.
So here they are, my 10 promises to myself. Maybe you’ll decide to make them too.
1 – Never Give in Expectation of Reward
I played by life’s rules. Played it safe. It was a barter of sorts – I’ll sacrifice now and you’ll spare me later. But life didn’t play by those rules. And I grew angry. I felt betrayed not only by my husband, but also by life. I did everything right, so why was I being punished? I promised myself to give up on the idea of sacrifice. To instead give or abstain when I wanted to with no expectation of any reward or pardon.
2 – Never Treat Life As a Waiting Room
I just need to get through this month and then I’ll relax. Money is tight right now, but we just need to make it through until next year when business should pick up. I know I haven’t seen much of my friends lately. I’ll remedy that as soon as the summer starts. Yeah, I was a pro at justifying this delayed gratification. And the problem? Some of those expected events never did occur and more reasons to wait did. I promised myself to live every day, no matter what better days seemed to lie around the next corner.
3 – Never Be a Guest in Your Life
When you’re a guest, you try to occupy the smallest footprint possible. To not make waves. And that’s no way to live for long. It was shocking to me when I moved in with my friend and her family after my husband exited stage left – I realized I had been feeling more like a guest in my home (and marriage) of 10 years then I did with her. I promised myself that I would never allow myself to be a guest in my life again; I was going to occupy my life fully.
4 – Never Let Fear Hold Your Head in the Sand
I’ve never been good at confronting my fears. I basically took the “mosters under the bed” theory way too far – as long as I didn’t look, they weren’t real. Right? 🙂 Not so much. I started by facing the easier fears – going downhill, sharing my emotions publically and leaving to-dos undone. Those proved scarier when avoided than confronted. Then came the harder ones – vulnerability and trust. Still scary. I promised myself that I woud face those things that made my heart race and trust that I can handle them.