Today, my horoscope advised me to “accept everyone as they are, let the energy flow” and emphasized close friendships. After my divorce, I realized that I could easily become reclusive and/or cynical. That was the path my ex and I had been on – things went wrong because the world was against us. If I wanted to thrive and be, at least, content, I had to make another choice. First, I refused to view my marriage as “wasted time” because I was now single, much older, childless and “alone.”
Next, I intentionally choose to grant everyone I meet a mid-level trust setting. Their actions and histories can then move them up or down that scale. My perspective and social awareness has expanded. I am more aware of the privilege that has protected me through most of my life physically, socially and financially. I lost some of that financial and social protection when I divorced. Although I receive a small part of my ex’s retirement benefits, I have only my own income to rely on. I split my expenses with my boyfriend/roommate, but me emergencies are my own. I am uncomfortable asking for help and rarely do so, despite seeing him through two periods of unemployment.
Since the divorce and conscious choice to accept people where they are, I’ve regretted only one sexual encounter (a one-time booty call). I’ve cut off contact with a couple of people when things became obviously one-sided or superficial. I’ve stood up to my family by telling them my time and energy is just as valuable as theirs and their problems are neither worse than nor more important than mine. And I’ve helped people along the way. I learned the difference between “fixing” someone and helping them see the choices available. I’ve learned to better apply the idea that I will do what feels right and let go of what happens afterwards. (I am acting as the person I am or am trying to be rather than in expectation of what I’ll receive in return or of a guaranteed outcome.)
Socially, I’ve become less active. This, however, was a conscious choice. I gave up dating or pursuing most of the social activities I associated with that lifestyle. I am more focused on building community and pushing my boundaries outside my usual levels of comfort. I am planning for retirement and the activities I enjoy that I can do alone. I am looking simplifying my life (including minimizing my possessions and breaking the cycle of materialism).
I’ve gathered experiences, of all types, throughout my life. Some of that has shaped me and some remains uncomfortable. I know that who I am now is more defined than it was thirty years ago. I am less flexible in some ways. I have baggage. So does everyone else. I aspire to accept everyone as they are. If that isn’t possible, I try not to judge them and move on. I can ask questions, model ideas and practice my beliefs, but I can’t change anyone. That person has to choose to change … just as I do.