It’s very tempting, when you are suddenly free from the constraints of a committed relationship, to want to party hearty. But, as my father used to say, “Act in haste and repent at leisure.” By all means, date; but, be careful. I am not simply talking about safety here, or STDs, but your emotional state. You may think the best thing is to hook up with someone, prove you’re still attractive, make your ex jealous, have some fun, or, simply distract yourself from incessant rumination and grief.
The good news is: it may work. The bad news is it won’t make the demons go away, and even may bury them deeper. Believe me, they’ll come out, one way or another. Perhaps, it will be an illness, a rage that won’t go away, or grief that hits you when you least expect it. Inner issues demand our attention, and all the distraction we can muster (and obsessive-compulsive/addictive behavior we can engage in) only postpones the inevitable: dealing with reality.
As I have said before: if you’re dealing you’re healing. If you’re not, you’re setting the stage for greater misery later on. There are no get-out-of-grief-free cards.
Dating, as ego-boosting as it may be, is fraught with complications. You may actually meet someone who cares about you, but you aren’t ready for that kind of emotional commitment. Eventually, when the other person realizes, he or she may be quite smitten and end up devastated. Do you want to go around hurting people?
Sex, for all its joys, often kindles attachment. Is it worth the risk of getting attached to someone who may not be right for you, simply because you wanted to get some and prove you’re still desirable? Or, maybe you weren’t motivated by randiness or ego. Perhaps, it was loneliness. Everyone feels lonely sometimes. Here’s a great opportunity to practice loving your own company. But, that’s not your only option. You can call friends, family, or your local hotline and connect in a way that actually soothes your mind and spirit.
As for drugs, they fall into two categories: recreational and pharmaceutical, and, yes, those can overlap. When your emotional state is unpredictable the last thing you need is alcohol, uppers, downers, pot, or opiates. They may take the edge off your pain, but you run the risk of habituation, if not addiction. Another short-term fix, with the possibility of long-term misery. As for all those pills your doctor can provide, do you really need them? What do you think people did before they were available? OK. Some self-medicated with alcohol and street drugs, but most people just lived through their challenges. You are strong enough to handle what you don’t like.
Luckily, a feeling isn’t a fact: you may think you can’t stand something, but the very fact of your living and breathing says you can. You just don’t want to. It’s not fun, it may even feel horrible; but, you will survive. Then, later on, after all this is just a memory, your true grit will remain; the confidence that you can handle whatever life throws at you. We will all face death, divorce (if not our own, someone’s else’s), and illness. (See The Buddha’s Five Remembrances on the Quotes To Live By page.) The sooner we accept those unpleasant realities, the sooner we will find peace. Here’s a radical thought: try practicing what Jean Vanier says is his life’s work: loving reality.
Regarding Rock ‘n’ Roll, it’s probably the only thing that won’t come back to bite you. So crank up the music, get out that air guitar, and let those yayas out.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang