“You can’t start the next chapter in your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” (Michael McMillan) – as seen in a recent post to the blog Jack’s Winning Words.
In my real estate business I seem to hit situations like this a lot. I guess it’s because I’ve had a lot of clients who are going through divorces lately or who are disposing of the estates of recently deceased people. Some find it very difficult to let go, to stop reading that last chapter in their lives and move on.
While a death is sometimes tough to deal with, it seems to be something that most people can cope with better than a divorce. Deaths seem to involve mainly sadness, maybe some sorry or regret from not getting to know the person better or not spending more time with them or perhaps an overwhelming sense of loss and loneliness, if the deceased was a life partner.
Divorce, on the other hand involves a complex soup of emotions, including loss, anger, fears and regrets, selfishness and more. While death has finality associated with it, divorce does not and begs the issue of what’s next. Divorce may also involve a sense of betrayal and disappointment towards the other side, especially if there was an infidelity involved. There is almost always some since of failure in a divorce; and, especially if there were children involved, a sense of letting others down. It is tough in the early stages to see clearly what role one’s own actions may have played in the failure of the marriage, so a sense of blame often accompanies the rage that is near the surface.
So, imagine that I walk into the situation with the role of trying to sell the family home as a part of the divorce settlement. I am seldom greeted with open arms by all parties. In fact a good part of my job is usually to try to bring a sense of calm and order to the situation and to keep a lid on things until I can get the place sold. Since I am the most convenient target for the release of some of the pent up anger, I quite often get arguments over the pricing that I might suggest or the suggestions that I might make for things that need to be done to make the house more sale-able. These are usually not people in the mood to hear about working on a house that they just want to get away from.
But, enough about me. What about you? Are you able to let go of the last chapter in your life and move on, or do you keep re-hashing things and re-reading that last chapter? If you re-read it many times, does anything ever change? If not, move your bookmark and get on with life. Remember that old definition of insanity – doing the same things over and over and expecting different results each time. If you must go back over things from the past, do so only to learn from the mistakes that were made, so that you can do better in the future.
Perhaps you should go further and close that old book completely and put it on the shelf. Start a new book – a new you. The first thing you could do is write a new Forward for your new book of life. In that set of remarks before the new book starts la out the things that are your new goals and new commitments to yourself. Define who you wish to become and lay out the structure (chapters) of how you will get there. Then, instead of starting to read; turn the page and start to write the new book of your life. Remember that this will be an adventure book in which you will be exploring all new things, so enjoy the journey as you turn the new pages of your life. The great thing is that you get to make the main character whatever you want them to be. What fun! I can’t wait to read your story.