Divorce Does Not Mean Failure
This week I’ve encountered several people who have asked me about the divorce. All of these people care. All of them are genuine. Each of them exhibits legitimate compassion. Yet each of them has said some form of the following statement, “It must be so hard to know you failed.” In response, I really want to scratch my head, turn it sideways, furrow my brows, and say, “huh?”
Maybe I could have related to the word failure in the days following our decision to get divorced, but that was almost a year ago. We made a very intentional decision to have a positive experience—to the extent possible anyway. The more I’ve focused on that, the more it’s become true. Oh, and I so, so, so appreciate these friends. This is in no way a judgment around their use of the word failure. I am actually just amazed that it’s not the message running my life! I’ve spent decades on that hamster wheel!
I was in my favorite yoga class this morning. As the class began, the instructor asked us to lay back on our mats and close our eyes. We stretched our hands overhead and extended our legs while we took in several deep breaths. She mentioned that we needed to stop so that we can start. We needed to let go of the concerns of the day so that we could be fully present in the room, so that we could connect with our bodies and breath.
And that’s how I see our marriage and divorce. We had a good marriage. We found a beautiful piece of land in the country and built our dream home. We continued our formal education. We had huge professional successes. We paid off debt. We weathered cancer. We became grandparents. We traveled all over the world. We let down our guards. We helped each other heal old wounds. We grew and grew and grew. Until we didn’t.
My ex likened our marriage to a contract. We fulfilled all of the requirements of the contract. Saying goodbye isn’t a failure; it’s a recognition that the contract is no longer needed. We needed to stop. We needed to stop so we could start something new. And so we decided. To stop. Just stop. Rest. Stretch. Breathe.
And because we stopped, I get to start. Rise up. Stretch toward the sky. Be present. Lean in. Live.
I leave today for my divorce celebration trip with my girlfriends. I get to start.