How to Move Past Old Memories and Start Making New Ones

The New Year is often a time when people concentrate on getting a “new start”.

When the past year has brought a major change to your life, such as a divorce, the new year can be a chance to move on and create new memories for you and your family.

Spring Cleaning

Ok, I know it’s not spring yet, but work with the analogy here.

In order to create these new memories you have to have room for them in your life and mind.

This means cleaning out, or letting go, of the old ones.

Just like cleaning out your closet, you need to discard the ones that no longer fit.

Now, I don’t mean you should forget everything about your prior life.  Of course not.

You never want to forget the memory of the birth of your child or that great vacation you took.

And even the bad memories are lessons that need to be revisited sometimes.

What I mean is, you have to stop letting them live front and center in your mind.  Not only do they keep you grounded in the past but you will find yourself comparing all of your “nows” with your “thens”.

These memories should be that sparkly dress in the back of your closet that you pull out for special occasions.  They should not be those too tight jeans that stare at you from the front hanger every time you open the closet door.

You should keep the memories that make you smile or remind you how far you have come and get rid of the rest.

Stop Planning and Pay Attention

So now that you have made space, how do you start making those new memories?

A lot of newly single parents get so wrapped up on making the “perfect” holiday for their children that they end up frustrated and stressed.  Which is no fun for anyone.

Memories are not about big events.  They are not about whether the house is decorated or the presents are wrapped perfectly.

Memories are made minute by minute.

They are the moments of true understanding you receive when you still your mind and listen.

They are made of the beautiful clouds that day in the park, when you take the time to stop and see them.

They are made of hearing your kids laughing down the hall or making a mess in the kitchen baking up some gooey concoction.

Yes, you might go out and try some new experiences now that you are in a new phase of life.  But even if you decide to go sky diving, your memories will probably be the feel of the wind in your face or the sensation of flying through the air.

Last Thoughts

Memories are made of feelings.  If you can slow down your mind and learn to be present in the moment you will soon be making memories that will bring a smile to your face as well as your children’s for many years to come.

 

4 Tips to Making it Through the Holidays

Well, the holiday season is upon us.

While the media tries to sell us the idea that this is the “most wonderful time of the year”, the reality for a lot of people is that the holidays are the source of a lot of frustration, resentment, and downright depression.

For some of you, this might be your first holiday season after your divorce.  Some of you might have custody arrangements that will leave you without your children for a significant portion of the holidays.

So how do we face our new reality and still manage to hold on to “peace, joy, & goodwill towards men”?

1. This is Your Time

Think back to the years of celebrating the holidays as a couple.  Were there things you wanted to do but didn’t because of your spouse’s objections?  Maybe there were things you had to do but didn’t really enjoy.

Make this holiday season all about you (and your children, of course).

Did you always feel drawn to midnight mass, but never made it?  Do it this year.

Did you spend hours cooking even though you hated every second because your in-laws expected it?  Skip it this year.  Order a holiday meal to be brought in – or even just have Chinese food – whatever you want.

2. Start New Traditions or Rekindle Old Ones

It can be hard when you have to change traditions because of the divorce.

Before my divorce, Christmas Eve was spent with his relatives with lots of food and friends.  Gifts were opened starting at midnight and lasted until the wee hours.

After the divorce, I missed that.  For years afterward, I would just sit around while my son was enjoying the night with his dad feeling sorry for myself.

Now, a new tradition has developed were my mom comes to visit and we spend the evening cooking for the next day.  It is a lot more cheerful and fun.

Maybe you would like to include craft-making as part of your new traditions.  Spend some time surfing Pinterest and get those creative juices flowing.

3. Help Others

Make helping others one of your new traditions.

Volunteer at a food pantry.  Start a blanket drive.  Even just cleaning out your closet and giving the items to Goodwill can have an uplifting effect on your spirits.

In addition, it gives you something to do.  And you are helping others – what could be better?

4. Keep Calm, Cool, and Collected

During this time you may be having more contact with your ex.  School is out, schedules need to be arranged, and presents coordinated.  It is more important than ever to practice our “getting along” skills.

First, get enough rest and eat regularly.  Being tired and/or hungry doesn’t allow us to be at our best.  And we need to bring our best to the table when interacting with our ex.

Look closely at what is under your control and let go of the rest.

Mediate, relax, practice deep breathing – whatever you have to in order to find that place inside you where the joy, peace, and goodwill are residing.

Refuse to let other’s behaviors, words, or actions pull you from that place.

They have no power over you.  They can’t make you lose your holiday spirit – only you can.

Final Thoughts

As we wrap up another year – one that may have been extremely difficult for you , it is time to give your self the present of your future.

We may feel uncertainty, heck, even fear, but now is the time to let go of those Ghosts of Christmas Past and open our lives up to all that awaits.