This past weekend I tromped through the apple orchard with my family, celebrating the changing of the seasons. The soft breeze carried the sweet scent of ripe apples in the air right below the bulging branches. As my girls and their cousins raced off to the corn maze, I lazily followed and lay down in the grass and gazed upward into the depths of the blue sky. Their nervous laughter shrieked up over the cornstalks as they found the curves that turned into a continuation of the path.
The divorce transition is one akin to trekking through a corn maze. When navigating the divorce process, it feels like you can only see two feet ahead. There are constant dead-ends. The narrowness of the path can feel claustrophobic and restrictive. Your faith that you will find your way out is tested as panic sets in. And it feels like it will never end.
As of late, I have had several clients begin their divorce journey, with the intention of approaching and moving through their divorce at a frenetic pace. They are inclined to put their heads down and move through it as quickly as possible. They make unrealistic requests of their children, family, friends and lawyer as they attempt to take short cuts through their transition. They ignore the inevitable grief and instead replace it will anger and frustration that it can’t be over in less than 60 days. “I just want it over” is a phrase heard daily in our office.
I get it. No one wants their divorce to linger. No one wants to stay stuck in transition. Yet it takes time to discover the best route forward. It takes time for emotions to temper such that good, sound, rational decisions can be made. It takes time to develop a plan for children that will preserve their best interests and changing needs and last for years to come. It takes time to assess a financial future with dividing retirement accounts and real property being transferred. It takes time to grieve.
When rushing through the maze in a panicked daze – more mistakes are made, frustration grows as tall as the silky corn husks reaching up to the sky, and regret sets in after the fact. Regret that the path was not better paced. Regret that time was not taken to breathe, focus, and observe your ability to keep moving forward despite the challenges. During divorce, pace yourself just as you would during a time of recovery after a physical ailment, or after the death of a loved one. Your mind and body need a slower pace to sustain you on your path until the time arrives when suddenly it opens up wide at the end with new possibility.