If you are struggling in the wake of divorce any holiday is daunting, but New Year’s Eve brings a special pressure to be part of a couple. The hospitality industry, among others, goes out of its way to label this a date night. You may feel particularly isolated if you aren’t doing something fabulous and doing it with someone else.
Haven’t we advanced past thinking that the most important thing about New Year’s Eve is whether we have a date and someone to kiss at midnight?
Alone Versus Lonely
I read an article recently by an “expert” who strongly advised against spending New Year’s Eve alone. Why not? If you experienced emotional loneliness in your marriage, being physically alone is nothing!
Being lonely at times is the cost of breaking up. But the benefit is that being alone is healthier and in the long run happier than being part of a dysfunctional dynamic.
New Year’s Eve has the meaning we attach to it, the story we tell. There is no more significance in being single on December 31st than there was the day before.
Leave Baggage Behind
If you are alone, it may be a great opportunity to think about what you want bring into the New Year and what you want to leave behind. Do you still have anger, bitterness or resentment? The 31st is a great day to symbolically leave them behind. That may look like formally forgiving your ex, or just envisioning baggage that you leave outside the door marked 2015.
This will be my first New Year’s Eve divorced. I am not ready to date; frankly, I don’t have the energy. While I could glom onto someone to get through the evening, it is 2014, and it isn’t necessary.
Here’s what I plan to do. Over a nice half-bottle of champagne, I will reflect on lessons learned. You’ll have your own. Write them down. It helps to see that you learned something from the misery that is divorce and didn’t just suffer. Some of mine are:
• Serenity is amazingly good. Striving for serenity seems more important than seeking happiness.
• I need to meet people where they are and not where I wish they were.
• When someone shows me who they are, I need to believe them instead of hanging on to an unfounded belief in his or her untapped potential. It could remain forever untapped.
• Sometimes the devil you know is just that, a devil.
• Behavior and only behavior is what matters.
• I am a fixer and need to cut it out.
• There is no script for life, and the people who are most successful can ad lib really well.
• I can survive disappointment and heartache; I am resilient.
Think about where you want to go in the new year. What would you be happy to look back and say happened during 2015?