Today is Valentine’s Day, and while everyone is rushing out to buy chocolates or flowers to profess their love, I would like to talk about the opposite—Divorce.
Divorce is a touchy subject in the context of marriage. The CDC reports approximately 815,000 divorces in the US every year. That’s 2,233 divorces per day, 93 divorces per hour, or 1.5 divorces every MINUTE. Some of those divorces are probably even happening today, on Valentine’s Day.
Divorce from a spouse can be incredibly difficult, but so can divorcing yourself from anything else. The word divorce evolved from the latin divortere, to divert. Through some French and Middle English variations, it became divorce somewhere between the 1300s and1400s. It is formally defined as “a separation between things that were or ought to be connected”. This can be any sort of connection.
An alcoholic turned sober can be said to have divorced themselves from their vice. An employee leaving a company has initiated a divorce of a work relationship. In government, we try to divorce religion and politics. But severing ties to things can feel like ripping a part of ourselves out. Accepting the change that comes with a divorce means letting go of the comfort and safety of what was known and striking out alone to search for something new. Much, much easier said than done.
During a time of great change in my life, I stumbled upon what is now one of my favorite books, Who Moved My Cheese?. Those of you know know me understand why I randomly picked up this book in particular—I am obsessed with cheese! But it was a random choice and I had no idea that it would give me some amazing advice that I really needed to hear at that time.
The book is a parable about two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two little people (Hem and Haw) who live in a maze where they must wander in search of cheese. One day, a fine pile of cheese is found and continues to appear in the same spot each day. Slowly, they all become complacent with this development until one day, the cheese is gone. Each of the characters reacts differently to this change, just as people do in real life, but one character in particular (you’ll have to read the book to find out which one), continually has revelations that allow them to get past the sudden disappearance of the cheese. One of my favorite revelations:
“It is better to wander in the maze than be stuck in a cheese-less situation”
Divorcing ourselves from the familiar means making significant changes, but if our previous situation no longer brings us joy (or cheese, to follow the theme of the book) we must recognize that and admit that it’s time to move forward.
If you happen to be alone this Valentine’s Day or are going through a change or separation of any kind, remember, change may be scary, but it is also inevitable and how we get through it depends entirely on our mindset. Set your mind toward forming new connections and the pain of divorce will soon be forgotten.
Or maybe just eat some cheese. Whatever helps!