Saturday, December 5, 2015

Are You Still Living In the Past?

Last week I was flipping through the latest issue of a popular women's magazine that came in the mail when I saw an essay written by another blogger, a divorced mother of four. She'd been dreading the Christmas season last year when she decided, for the sake of her kids, to get into the holiday spirit so that her children would remember the memories as happy ones. I was so impressed with her article that I looked up her blog online and left a comment of congratulations on her latest post, which mentioned her publication in the magazine. 

Then I started reading the rest of her blog. 

She had been divorced for 10 years and had started the blog five years ago. It was pretty evident that she hadn't gotten past the agony of the breakup of her marriage. In fact, she came across as downright broken and bitter. She called her husband all kinds of names, blamed him for everything wrong in her life, and dwelled upon the fact that he married the woman he had an affair with. From what I could gather, he was a former military man that fell in love with a coworker the same time he fell out of love with his wife, and is now married to the new woman. 

What was even worse to see were the numerous comments from her "cheerleaders" who justified her feelings (miserable people always have a gang of cheerleaders, which is something I plan on talking about in another post...birds of a feather flock together as the old saying goes.) One of them called her ex-husband a "f***nit" and another said sarcastically that she should have some sympathy for the new wife, because "it can't be easy being a home wrecking whore."

What a train wreck. I promptly deleted my comment from her site (because it linked back to here. I don't think any of those women would have the slightest interest in attempting how to be positive.) 

Did I mention that the name of her blog has the word "happy" in the title? Perhaps it's meant to be sarcastic. 

Here's the thing...two things, actually. First, I'm not sticking up for her husband, but there's two sides to every story. Yes, maybe the husband cheated on her but we don't know what went on that eventually drove a wedge in the marriage. I also know from hearing the horror stories from a friend of my mother whose son is going through a nasty divorce right now that the man is not always to blame for a break-up. 

Second, her husband left her 10 FREAKING YEARS AGO. 

Think about it. A whole decade ago! Enough time for fashion and pop culture trends to change. Even if her husband really was/is as horrible as she's making him out to sound, she still needs to learn by now how to move on. Her entire blog makes it clear that she hasn't gotten past it yet and she definitely hasn't forgiven him. She keeps writing and ruminating over his behavior, if there was anything that could have been done differently, how she still has to have contact with him because of the kids, how she recently turned 40 and her life is a living hell and so on and so on. 

Again, I'm not trying to sound unsympathetic towards anyone who's gone through a traumatizing life experience. I've never been cheated on, I've never been married (so never divorced) and I don't have children so I don't know what it's truly like to have experienced what this woman has gone through. It's taken me a while sometimes to get over having my own heart broken and disappointments, often taking a bit longer than other people to bounce back. But I always do. And I believe that after ten years, you're hurting yourself and your life by dwelling on the past. 

Even her kids want her to move on. She wrote about how two of them sat down with her and told her she needs to pull herself together and learn to get along with their father's second wife. 

Clearly, she is still living in the past. And when you live in the past...and relive it over and over again along with the pain it brings, you can't move forward with your life. 

All you have is the present. Even the future isn't promised to everyone. 

One of the first things I learned about when reading law of attraction books is the importance of letting go of the past. Letting go of old grudges, anything bad that happened to you during your childhood, mistakes you've made, etc. Although I had great parents and a great childhood, I learned to forgive kids that had bullied me in elementary and junior high and anyone else I felt had mistreated me. 

The thing is, the past can't be changed. It's gone. All of the woulda, coulda, and shoulda-ing won't do a darned thing to alter it. Sure, there are some things I wish I had done better or differently. Everyone has some regrets. I wish I knew back then what I know now. But I'm at peace with it all, because I did the best I could at the time and I can't go back and change it. 

I remember years ago going out on a date with a guy one of my friends was going to college with at the time. He wasn't over his last girlfriend or the break-up and talked about it constantly during the meal. Needless to say it was a huge turnoff; he definitely wasn't into me, wasn't completely available for a relationship, and shouldn't have been putting himself out there until he was ready to leave her and that part of his life behind. 

I'm reminded of a line from one of my favorite movies, Sideways. The lead character, Miles, is still hung up on his ex-wife, Victoria. He even drunk dials her during a double date dinner with his friend, Jack. Jack wants in the worst way to see Miles get laid, to forget about Victoria and turn his attention to other women, namely Maya, the woman Miles knows from his wine tasting expertise. 

The line in question is when Jack practically tries to yell some sense into Miles by shouting at him, "Victoria is gone! Poof! Into the wind!" 

Which is how we could describe the past. We can't predict the future. All you have is the ability to make the most out of the present. 

Divorced blog lady also needs to learn how to forgive for her own sake...another topic for another time. 

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