When I graduated from college, I moved to Washington to live with my boyfriend. I decided it wasn’t going to work and I drove back to NYC.
It was the first time I’d ever made the drive alone. I drove back at night and realized that in order to really make sure I knew where I was going and to see the signs indicating the way, I had to pull into the right lane, slow down and turn on my bright lights. It occurred to me that it probably shouldn’t bethat way.
I made an appointment with an eye doctor and went in the next week. Not surprisingly, the doctor told me that I had become somewhat nearsighted over time. It’s pretty common and for driving at night, going to the movies and things like that, I should wear glasses; he gave me a prescription.
A few days later I went to the movies with a friend. Actually, it was a blind date and I was feeling a little self conscious. The theater got dark and I embarrassingly said, “Oh well, I have these new glasses…” and my date said, “Oh, well, me too. I have glasses, too.”
I put on my glasses and the credits came up at the beginning of the movie. I turned to my date and said, “They’re not blurry.” He said, “Of course they’re not blurry.” I replied, “I always thought they were blurry because they were projected all the way across the theater.”
I really thought because it was so far, the picture couldn’t be clear to anyone — whether they had 20/20 vision or not. It didn’t occur to me until that moment that the problem was me.
Once I realized that the world wasn’t blurry just because it was at a distance, I wanted that clarity all the time. I went back to the eye doctor to get contact lenses, and I’ve been wearing them ever since.
Many people who are in an unhappy marriage or going through a divorce think it has to be nasty … it has to be contentious … it has to be mean-spirited. It doesn’t have to be. That’s a choice not a destiny.
I say, “Put on your glasses. Choose to make your situation better than what you fear.” You can choose something different, even if the other person doesn’t make that choice.
The change of life that divorce brings will have positive and negative elements even if it’s not your choice. If you put on your glasses, it can be seen as a unique opportunity to choose a path forward that is going to work for you rather than to hold onto the shreds of what was.