Mindful with Irene (34)

I’m actually rather curious if many of my peers read this blog (hello, anyone else divorced and wondering “what now?”). What a hassle, eh, to get life back to being okay again? I have to confess, though, that I do listen with a sort of furtive pleasure to stories from other divorced women. What choices do they make and why? And who is the happiest? Is it the one who moved in with someone else soon after their divorce? The one who is now dating? The one who continued to live with her ex and kids in one house after the divorce (she’s on the top floor, he’s on the first, and the kids are in between)? The one who has a long-distance relationship? Apparently, I still think that there is one ultimate choice, and I’m trying to find out what it is.

Marriage and children always felt so logical and appropriate; I didn’t have to think about it, because that picture was always in my head. Set in my mind by all the stories I had ever read and the romantic films I had seen. I had never thought that my life would take on a different form or path.

Recently, I watched a documentary on TV called De OK-vrouw (“The OK-woman”). It was about (Dutch actress and writer) Halina Reijn and her struggle with being childless and her quest for how to fill her life. As I watched, I thought “Ah Halina, let go of that image in your head.” As outsiders, we tend to think: what a wonderful life you have, what special friends, how great is it that you can carry out your work so passionately…. Her life may not be filled with a partner and child, but she has so many other beautiful things. Can she see that these are equally as beautiful, and just as worthy?

And isn’t that the crux? That we still fall into the trap of constantly searching? That, while we are constantly looking for the ultimate thing, while we are comparing, while we are doubting and deliberating, we actually have a very nice life indeed? But forget to see that?

Irene, together with Astrid, is the founder and creative director of Flow Magazine. She lives with her children (10 and 13, co-parenting) in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Each Friday, she writes about how various Mindfulness lessons apply in her daily life.