Wednesday, September 14, 2011

reflections on being a d-word: addition/subtraction

Kristen and I talk a lot about how much we've both changed through the process of divorce. It's hard not to look back on who you were before, who you are now, and look at the difference. One thing both of us have tried reeeeaaaaaaallllyyyy hard to do is to empty our lives of the things that don't add to our lives.

That has taken the shape of a lot of different things. I canceled my entire TV service. I took up exercising like a trainer regularly. I'm back at yoga. I'm going to counseling. I'm attending a weekly support group called Divorce Care. I've made face-time with friends a priority. (And I'm talking face-to-face, not via iPhone.)  I've tried to evaluate my life and find the common denominators that subtract life. Things are hard enough right now! I don't need something else trying to drag me down into the pit of despair! Sometimes that has meant setting boundaries and saying no to some responsibilities. Taking care of yourself isn't selfish. It's healthy. It's necessary. And the rewards are so much better than pleasing people and being able to talk about the latest episode of Glee. There's a lot of noise in life that just doesn't matter. I'm trying to keep that volume down.

You know what? It feels really good. When you take away the things that are subtracting from your life, it leaves all this room that you can fill with things that give you life. I replaced watching tv with practicing yoga. I replaced eating alone with a support group. I replaced depression with counseling. I replaced a damaged self-esteem with motivation. I've made some new friends. I've discovered some new hobbies. I've re-dreamt some dreams.

Kristen has shared several posts with me from this blog called Zen Habits. Before you start telling me that's new-age and meditation doesn't work and blah blah blah...I'd encourage you to read the post on scarcity. I identify with it right now and I hope these lifestyle changes stick around. I think a scarce life can bring a lot of joy.

I will close with 5 things I like about myself. This is a practice I'm trying to do daily that I borrowed from this blog. (The sociologist in me is LOVING her experiment! I've noticed the longer I go without looking in the mirror, the better I feel about myself.)

1) My fingers and toes.
2) My comedic timing. (*cue drums and cymbal)
3) My hair.
4) My eyes.
5) My random freckles.

I hope you can do some addition and subtraction in your life. I know it's made a huge difference in mine.


thesabbatical said...

This was SO good, Cara. Really, so so so good. I love when you blog! "Get rid of things that don't add life to your life." That's huge!

Mike said...

This is an awesome post!
Your point about face-to-face time is particularly cutting for me because here's something I'm discovering:

No one seems to be interested in interactions in the REAL WORLD anymore. I'm still old school. If you want to show someone they are of value to you, carve out some time in your life and gift them with your physical presence! Gah! Is it so hard?

I think you've changed a lot too. You're becoming more and more like Yoda with all of this sage wisdom. :-)