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Working Together After Divorce

coownersRecently, a story about a divorce-embroiled New York vegan ice cream shop has been circulating the Internet. Besides the existence of a vegan ice cream shop, the story brings an interesting topic to the table: What to do when “married co-owners” just become “co-owners.” Its one thing to have the relationship between co-owners go sour, and its another thing entirely to have a romantic relationship go sour and poison a business along the way.

The Big Chill

The blizzard raging between Derek Hackett and Blythe Boyd is over Lula’s Apothecary, a very popular vegan ice cream shop located in New York’s East Village. Hackett and Boyd were married before the shop opened its doors in 2008, but divorce recently in 2012.

Earlier this month, Hackett filed papers with the Manhattan Supreme Court requesting a dissolution of the business. Hackett’s reason for this action is because Boyd is said to be pocketing all the profits herself, and mismanaging the business; Hackett wishes to have their business modified so any possible financial responsibility will not be reflected on him.

Needless to say, Boyd has been countering Hackett’s accusations claiming the business was her idea, and that she rightfully has been retaining the profit because she has been the only one working at the shop. It’s undeniable the root of this business melodrama is the after effects of divorce.

More Common Than You Think

Most of us may be sighing in relief, thinking “Thank goodness that isn’t me.” But co-owning ex’s are more common than you might think. The 2007 American census estimated about 3.7 million businesses were owned by spouses; but considering about half of marriages end in divorce, it’s not hard to estimate about 1.85 million businesses are owned by ex-spouses.

So if you find yourself in a situation where you’re sharing an office with a person you used to share a bed with, how on earth do you not drive the business into the ground (or into the headlines)? With some restraint, hard work, time, and these pieces of advice:

  • Listen to Aretha Franklin: You and your ex have decided to try to give your business your best efforts, so don’t skimp on the effort. Try maintaining a polite, yet respectful relationship with your ex/co-owner. But remember, to show a little respect you’ll have to actually respect the person and be shown a little respect in turn.
  • Expand Your Safety Net: You may be holding it together on the outside, but if your insides are exploding in rage or tears, it won’t be long until you have to open the floodgates. However, daily (or hourly) venting and ranting to your friends or family won’t get you through it as constructively as professional help will. If possible, go see a therapist to help you sort through the feelings effectively; maybe make it a co-owner thing to help the communication between the two of you.
  • Another Written Declaration: Your and your ex’s track record with written declarations and certificates haven’t panned out so well, but make this one the exception. Make sure you have a thorough, up-to-date partnership agreement, and make sure you both honor it!
  • Full Disclosure: Again, your relationship may not have been successful, but that doesn’t mean this new one has to follow suit. Besides, there are many others in this relationship (employees, coworkers, and the like), so commit to it with utter honesty and an open-door policy. (If you can’t read between the lines, this means don’t keep you divorce a secret from the employees.)

Co-Parents, Co-Pilots

200258257-001The first month of the New Year is about to come to a close, and if January is still the most popular month for divorce, many find themselves facing the task of rebuilding their lives. You may feel pain, resentment, and confusion over the situation, but the world still continues to turn, as divorced parents are fully aware. So hold yourself together, pick yourself up, and start rebuilding your life.

However, we have one caveat when rebuilding your life, and it concerns children. If you and your ex had children, just realize it will be impossible (and probably unhealthy) to try to rebuild without including your ex. We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: You can stop being someone’s spouse, but you can’t stop being someone’s parent.

Erasing the ‘Bad Parent’ Feeling

It will be difficult to still allow the person who caused (and causes) you so much pain to still have any part of your life, but there are a few ways to try to make it work. Just a few words of wisdom before we launch into what seems like a Herculean task: These tips are guidelines, which might be terribly difficult to follow.

Just recognize no one is (or should) be expecting you to be able to follow these guidelines immediately. Think of them as an end goal in this whole situation. No one is perfect, and the last thing you need is to be left feeling inadequate or like a lesser person for not being able to shut off your feelings.

Rebuilding Your Life, With Your Ex

You and your ex need to establish your roles as divorced parents, and how that will play out for the rest of the children’s lives. Here are a few goals to aspire to in your new “co-parenting” journey.

  • Keep Civil Rights Alive: You don’t have to be buddy-buddy, but avoid being antagonistic. So be civil, even if there are some things or words of your ex’s that make you want to laser beam them into ashes. This will give your children a feeling of stability, instead of making them as though they have to suit up like a S.W.A.T. team whenever their parents are together.
  • Planning Makes Perfect: Collaborate on a schedule for the children. Planning for who will have the kids on holidays and such will eliminate stress, high-strung emotions, and probably tears. It will also allow for a more peaceful co-parenting transition for the children.
  • You Are Not the Gestapo: You know how the secret police in Nazi Germany would hold 24 hour or longer interrogations, making people confess to what the Gestapo wanted to hear? Don’t do that. When your children come home from time with your ex, don’t fire off rounds of questions. You may ask “Did you have fun?,” but questions about your ex’s personal life are off limits. Also, if you have questions about the schedule, ask your ex. Keep the children out of the middle for your sanity and theirs.
  • Don’t Play Hide-And-Seek: Get used to being in the same room, at the same time, as your ex. It will be difficult for quite a while, but don’t let these moments of brief contact be about the contact. Chances are, the contact will be necessary for the children (school plays, parent-teacher meetings, awards ceremonies, graduation, recitals, and so much more). This will make future functions easier on both of you, as well as keep your child from being addicted to anxiety pills.

There is one last giant addition to this list, but its so important to fully understand, it requires its own blog. So just bear with us, and we’ll get to it tomorrow. In the meantime, let us know what you think about these tips/guidelines/ goals (whatever you want us to call them). Will they be difficult or easy? Are there any we missed?

The Number 1 Rule of Co-Parenting

shocked babyWe’re back, and we’re ready to get right into the number one rule of co-parenting after divorce or during the divorce process. Like we said in the last blog, this rule seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many times this rule is broken. Here it is: Never ever speak ill of the other spouse in front of the children.

Think of the Children

You may be thinking to yourself “Really? That’s the big rule?” But before you brush us off, hear us out. Bad-mouthing your ex in front of your children greatly harms them, and the effects can last a lifetime. You see, your child gets half of their genes, features, and mannerisms from your ex. So when you verbally mutilate your ex, in your child’s eyes, you’re mutilating them as well.

Not only can this create resentment (directed at you, no less) within your child, this creates anxiety and fear within your child as well. In a Huffington Post article, a researching author shared the fruits of her research about the effects of divorce on children. One of her subjects, “Mike,” is a 43 year-old, well put together man who has lived in fear of his mother viewing him as a “loser,” like his dad.

Another subject brings up a separate issue: the damage the resentment you hold has on you. “Heidi” is a 38 year-old stylist who dreads bringing people to her mother’s house because her mother can’t resist the temptation to tell visitors about her greedy ex-husband. Heidi’s parent’s divorced 30 years ago, and the only growth in her mother’s life is her healthy 30 year-old resentment.

But here’s the real kicker, bad-mouthing is not just a horrible habit, it’s a component of parental alienation, which is being recognized more and more.

Extra-Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a term for the subconscious (or conscious) practice of undermining the relationship between the child and the other parent. Parental alienation can take place due to bad-mouthing the other parent in front of the child, which changes the child’s perception of the other parent; by asking your child to spy on the other parent; by disrupting the other parent’s visitation; making your child feel guilty for spending time with the other parent, and so much more.

You may be doing these things without meaning to, so be careful to stay unbiased with your child when it comes to your ex. Without intending to, you may be causing harm to your child; for example, if you let the child choose between spending time with one or the other parent, this could translate to the child as a loyalty test. So how do you navigate co-parenting after divorce, without meandering into the dark side?

Stopping the He Said, She Said

Here are a few ways to put your foot down on parental alienation, without putting your foot in your mouth:

- Don’t fight fire with fire. If it turns out your ex is bad-mouthing you, resist the urge to address this with your child. In trying to set the record straight, you may end up caught in the bad-mouthing cycle yourself.

-  Take the high road. If your child comes to you with disturbing slander your ex dished out, don’t be too reactive. Just say something like you don’t know why they would say that, and they probably didn’t mean it. If the cause of the divorce comes up, just leave it at you two divorced because you couldn’t get along, and that has nothing to do with the child.

- Find a vent. Divorce creates emotionally draining and straining situations, just recognize and accept this. To prevent the urge to bad-mouth and vent your divorce frustrations with your child, find a friend, relative, professional, or group to do this with instead. For your sanity and your child’s, find another venting source.

Downwind of Divorce: Friends of Divorcees

friends hidingWhen divorce is in the picture, it’s been a bad day, week, month, and probably even year. The people who usually make the dark days brighter are friends; but when divorce is in the air, and your pack of friends is downwind, the pack swiftly dwindles to a select few (and sometimes no one at all). At this point it’s an accepted truth that divorce has a knack for sifting through a person’s true friends and faux-friends. In fact, there have been books written on the topic, such as Dr. Bruce Fisher’s book “Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends.”

Through the Faux-Friend’s Lens

In this book, Dr. Fisher explores the friend of a divorcee persona and the reason why friends tend to make themselves scarce when they catch a whiff of divorce on the breeze.

#1 From friend to threat. In a group of couples, you are expected to be happily taken. When this potpourri of duos is unbalanced, the group feels threatened by the singleton’s brassiness (this ties into #4). After all, that was the groups thing, you were all taken and unavailable.

#2 Divide and be conquered (or shunned). Divorce is an unpleasant topic and occurrence that makes everyone look at their shoes wide-eyed. So what do most people do? They pick a side and hope only to deal with half of the awkwardness of divorce. So if (or once) your group of friends take sides, you’ll find out who your loyal pack is made of.

#3 Flight, not fight. Logically, people know divorce is not contagious. But they are afraid of where their minds (and relationships) will wander if they are present for the demise of a marriage. To avoid catching those impressionable thoughts, they stand back and hope the bad juju doesn’t follow them.

#4 Bold as brass. As old as western culture is, there is still a stigma surrounding divorce. Divorce people are perceived as somehow morally loose and less respectable than married people. Although married people have just as many bad apples as divorced people, unfortunately the divorcees are stuck with a bad rep.

Divorcees Are People Too

Even if you’re not a faux-friend, you might be tempted to back away slowly just so you won’t have to wrack your brain for comforting things to say. Well, now you won’t have an excuse, because here is a condensed list of things every divorcee wants to hear, compiled by The Stir’s blogger Aunt Becky.

  •  I love you. This is at the top of our list because friendship is all about companionship and heartfelt relationships. These 3 words express you care, and reaffirm your friend will never be alone if you’re there.
  • This sucks. Sometimes there is nothing better than just acknowledging the suckiness of the situation. But the upside has to follow this acknowledgement, or you run the risk of your friend wallowing too long.
  • One thing at a time. Just like when you’re swamped at work, you need to step back, take a deep breath, and address things one at a time. Help your friend do this every now and then so they don’t explode from stressful schedules and painful tasks.
  • Can I be your plus 1? Divorcees have to deal with loss wherever they turn, and nothing rubs it in more than invitations with the dreaded “plus 1″ option. Your friend may just want to hide under the covers and never have a social life again. Take the edge (and pressure) off of them by offering to be their plus one and rehabilitate them into the world and laughter.
  • What do you need? Sometimes your friend may need a little help remembering to eat, grocery shop, pay bills, and get the divorce process rolling. Don’t let them forget about themselves, and don’t let them feel like they have to go through this alone by refocusing them on their needs.

A Toast to Marriage and Alcohol Statistics

marriage and alcohol statsWhat can we really say about alcohol that hasn’t been said already? Alcohol can be part of your most embarrassing memory, be the center of controversy, cause you to be violently ill, and be a symbol of class and sophistication, all at the same time. This tricky substance has been associated with celebrations, ceremonies, and debauchery since the first greek accidentally stomped on a bunch of ripe grapes. But now, this mystical elixir is being associated with divorce; as it turns out, your relationship with alcohol may end your relationship with your spouse.

Cheers!

A monolith Norwegian study reported that married couples with varying patterns of alcohol consumption are more likely to divorce than married couples with the same patterns of alcohol consumption. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health studied 19,977 Norwegian married couples for a period of 15 years before they drew their conclusions.

The following are the reported findings from the study:

  • Marriages with two heavy drinkers had a divorce rate of 17.2%
  • Marriages with the husband drinking heavily had a divorce rate of 13.1%
  • Marriage with the wife drinking heavily had a divorce rate of 26.8%

The gender-based skewing of the data lends itself to much social commentary and speculation. Norwegian researchers involved in the study speculate the high divorce rate in marriages with heavy-drinking wives may be due to a number of things, including the wife’s typical role as homemaker and caretaker, and social intolerance of females imbibing.

Whatever the reasons behind the statistics that will no doubt cause a flurry of social commentary on both sides, it is clear Western society cannot keep it’s cool around alcohol.

What’s Love (and Gender) Got to Do With It?

Most people think single people consume more alcohol than married people, but it turns out that is only partially correct. The variables involved are gender and marital status.

Sociologists gathered research from 5,305 men and women from Wisconsin between the years 1993 and 2004, and found a number of surprising results:

  • Married women drink more than single women, widows, and married men. Researchers believe this is for two reasons: 1) Single women tend to drink less than single men; 2) Married men drink less because they traded drinking buddies for a wife, and as a result the wife tends to drink more than she did previously.
  • Divorced men drink significantly more after divorce than women. Researchers contribute this to the fact that men tend to externalize stress (like binge drinking), while women internalize the stress (usually by falling into depression).

The liquid in those bottles you have under lock and key, or way up high in the cabinet, can cause so much more than social lubrication and relaxation after a hard day’s work. However, alcohol consumption is a personal choice, and a part of a person’s lifestyle; so we ask Swedish researchers, is it really big news that an alcohol abstainer and an “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” believer have a hard time making their marriage work?

North Dakota’s Divorce Bill Revisited

North Dakota divorceDivorce is a hot topic in any society because it involves family values, religion, and personal beliefs. Some people find divorce a non-option, while others view is as a sign of an evolved society. Divorce is, however, as personal a choice as religion; therefore, it should be left for the individual to decide on. But apparently, some North Dakota senators haven’t received that memo about free will.

The Original Senate Bill 2367

The good people of North Dakota dodged a legislative bullet in 2011 when Senate Bill 2367 was rejected. Bill 2367 was brought to the Senate by Senators Larsen, Sitte, and Wanzek, and supported by Representatives Grande, Koppelman, and Ruby. The bill originally recommended a two-fold change in North Dakota divorces with children involved:

  1. Extend the waiting period to 1 year, which would mean spouses would have to wait 1 year after filing for divorce before continuing the divorce process. If there is “substantiated allegations of domestic abuse,” the waiting period may be waived.
  2. Instate mandatory marital counseling of 10 hours, which must be provided by the spouses themselves. The spouses may undergo marital counseling together or separately as long as the sessions are with a “paid or volunteer counselor, clergy member, or any state-certified or licensed marriage mediator.” Four sessions must focus on post-marital finances.

The bill was rejected by the Senate, but was allowed to be revised into “[a] bill to provide for legislative management study relating to divorce reform and education.” In other words, instead of letting the unwanted bill die in the Senate, the Senators decided to turn it into an opportunity to study divorce on children in North Dakota.

Recently, a revised Senate Bill 2367 has found its way back into the Senate and currently awaits deliberation.

Is the New Senate Bill 2367 Good Enough?

The new Senate Bill 2367 has one major revision, but will it be enough to pass the Senate? The revised bill cut the proposed waiting period in half, so now spouses with children seeking a divorce only have to wait 6 months to finalize the divorce after filing the divorce petition. The spouses must still go through 10 hours of marital counseling, and pay for it out of pocket. However, if there is “substantiated” domestic violence in the marriage, the waiting period is waived.

The downsized waiting period is a step in the right direction, but there are still a number of vaguely written sand traps waiting for unsuspecting divorcees to fall right into.

  1. What constitutes a “substantiated allegation”? Sure, if one was a victim of domestic violence and they went to the hospital for treatment, they could use hospital records as evidence or proof; if the victim called the police, they could use the police report or 911 call transcript. But not many victims seek medical attention or help. In fact, it’s estimated only about 25% of domestic violence incidents are reported or documented. Before this bill is passed, it should be clear what constitutes a “substantiated allegation.” If this vagueness is overlooked, the state of North Dakota could be sentencing a victim of domestic violence to 6 months of torment and fear.
  2. Marital counseling is expensive, and not available to everyone. The average cost of marital counseling is $100, and that’s per hour. $100 is a conservative price for counseling, which would bring the (conservative) cost of North Dakota divorce to an additional $600. It’s commendable the authors of Bill 2367 recognized the cost of this additional legislation and noted the counselor could be a “paid or volunteer counselor” or “clergyman.” However, the additional cost makes divorce out of low-income spouses’ reach; does that sound like a violation of civil rights to anyone else?
  3. A bill for the children should think of the children. Senate Bill 2367 was drafted out of regard and in consideration of the children of divorce. But I ask the authors if forcing parents, who clearly want a divorce, to continue to be married is beneficial for the children. Court-administered co-parenting classes would be a better option of looking out for the children of divorce than making the children live in a toxic, stressful home.

Have anything to contribute to the discussion of North Dakota’s Senate Bill 2367? We’re all ears (or eyes, since this a written medium).

Irradicating Irrational Divorce Decisions

Divorce declarationIt has been said that the worst mistake anyone can make during a divorce is to let their emotions cloud their judgement. This is so true that it can be said in any situation, because emotions have a hand in almost all the decisions we make. When you buy an item, no matter how large or small, you base at least a part of your decision off whether or not you like it. You can’t really manufacture an equation to gauge the level of like an item, option, or person musters, you just feel it. So how exactly does one make a totally rational, emotion-free decision?

You can follow the advice of others, or hire someone to do your thinking for you. Or, you could make a few ground rules for yourself to follow during times of emotional turmoil.

The Divorce Rules Charter

There are two life-altering D’s in life: Divorce and Death; while divorce can be avoided, staying married is not always a viable option. Deciding which movie to rent is difficult enough, let alone deciding on who will keep the house or car. So how do you keep a level, emotionless head during a divorce? Draw up a Divorce Rules Charter for yourself (or with your ex if that’s possible without a bloodbath). Here are a few rules we’d include in our Divorce Rules charter:

  • I will not lie. In the divorce process, and basically in life, it’s best to be truthful and honest; this is especially important when money matter are the topic of discussion. In a divorce it may be tempting to hide assets, lie about assets, and unscrupulously try to get all you can, but this guerrilla warfare approach could end up hurting you the most. If you’re in a contested divorce, do yourself a favor and be honest in court and with the lawyers (both your lawyer and theirs). If somehow you are caught in a lie in court, or in a court proceeding, you’d be in deep water and sinking fast. Besides, your mother taught you better.
  • I will vent only to the appropriate outlet. Part of not exploding in rage during a mediation session or in court is having an outlet for your feelings and stress. The other part of not being a human time bomb is having the appropriate outlet, like a counselor or therapist, group of friends, or one really good friend. The upside of a professional “outlet” is although a professional may bring out your less-than-perfect traits, it may be beneficial in moving on to healthier relationships. The upside of the friend route is you have a personal cheerleader, commiserating partner, and at times a reality-checker all in one; just make sure your friend doesn’t let you stay in the resentment/misery-monger phase too long.
  • I will think about what is best for the children first. If you have children from the marriage, think about how your actions and decisions will affect them. By putting the children first, this will cool your jets (hopefully) in your subconscious mission to make your ex pay. Also, a child-conscientious divorce might even pave the way for an amicable relationship with the ex, which really would be the best thing since the ghost of the family will still exist after divorce.

Have any other rules you want to add to the Rules of Divorce Charter?

The Post-Divorce Game of Date or Don’t

78373602For a while after a divorce it may be hard to get out of bed, notice when birds are singing, and enjoy a good romantic comedy. But when it feels like the clouds are starting to break, you may start noticing colors, laughter, and how cute the new bank teller is. Then the internal dilemma is brought forth: Am I ready to date after my divorce?

The magazines and self help books all disagree with each other and often give conflicting advice, except for one thing: Only you can tell if you’re ready to date again. But if you need help deciphering your own signals, we can help. Help is the key word. We can only point out a few clues, you’re going to have to put the puzzle together.

The Decoder Ring

You may feel intrigued by the idea of getting into the dating game, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready to get back at it in full swing.

Clue #1: One of the biggest indicators you may really need some more time is the frequency and way you speak about your ex. If you find yourself bringing up your ex in daily conversations, you might need more time to process the divorce. For example, if you find yourself uttering words like “So-and-so used to fold their towels like that!” or “My wife/husband…I mean ex-wife/husband…” then dating isn’t the best activity for you right now. You are still emotionally attached to your ex, and all you can do is let time create some distance and redefine your relationship.

Clue #2: Your dating strategy includes listing all the qualities in a partner you don’t want, whether it be on a dating profile, in an email, or verbally on a date. If you catch yourself spouting off the 32 things you don’t want, stop and consider why you’re not listing the things you do want instead. Yes, it’s healthy to know and communicate what we want and don’t want, but when the communication primarily is concerned with the negatives it says you’re still in the negative. It maybe you are still hurting from being on the receiving end of those negative qualities, or it maybe that you are just angry with the world. Being in either situation and mindset is not conducive to being an honest attempt at a healthy relationship, so opt for more reflection and healing instead of a dinner date.

Clue #3: Dating anyone is better than being alone. This is such a red flag that you are in desperate need of healing and self reflection it’s a miracle a red scare didn’t break out already. Yes, as a divorcee you may feel doomed to be alone for life, but take a deep breath, relax, and recognize that is just your flight instinct trying to take over your fight. Until you are forever bedridden due to old age, you are not old. Life is long, so you may as well fight for control of your life and make it enjoyable. So take out your sickle and hammer, and get to work feel comfortable living for yourself and by yourself.

The Parent Trap: Dating After Divorce

kid in the middleWith the news about how traumatic divorce is on children, as a divorcee you may be afraid to ever pay attention to anything else in life than your children. But after your wounds from the divorce heal, and after your children settle into this new phase of life, you may feel the calling to the dating realm again.

If you are lucky enough to find a person you feel a connection with, best of luck to you and this new relationship. However, luck isn’t really the component to rely on right now, especially if there are children on either side of the relationship.

Monkeys in the Middle

Divorce is difficult for everyone it even remotely touches, and that is the truth for quite some time after the divorce is finalized. Children can be affected by divorce is strange and various ways, but it doesn’t have to guide their future. Most psychologists and researchers find that the way in which the divorce is handled defines the children’s adjustment and future.

Dating does throw divorced families for a bit of a loop, but there are ways to come out of it intact and stronger than ever. The key is the continue to cultivate your children’s confidence and trust in you and the family (even if the structure is not a stereotypical one). Children of various ages tend to react differently to mothers and fathers dating, so it’s important to know what your child is feeling and how to speak to those feelings.

Timing is Everything

The dating realm is an uncertain place, of this we are all sure. So it should be no surprise that one of the post-divorce dating credos is to wait to introduce the children to your new “friend” until you’re out of the dating realm and safely in the relationship realm. In the relationship realm you are exclusively seeing each other, you introduce each other to friends as the boyfriend or girlfriend, and you foresee this person being in your life for quite sometime (if not indefinitely).

This point in the relationship is when you want to start introducing the children to your significant other. If you introduce your new partner sooner, when the relationship is just a fledgling of an idea, the chances are higher that your children will accept this person only to have them person disappear. The uncertainty of people coming and going in their life is a child’s worst fear, because in their mind, what’s to stop you from coming and going too?

Who is This?

After a few group meetings, where your children and partner have the opportunity to meet and interact in low-stress environments, things begin to get serious in the new dynamic. If your children like this new person, they might be inducted into the family. But what is their role? They aren’t stepparent, they aren’t family (yet), but they have some relation to your children.

Before uncomfortable boundaries are crossed, it’s smart to discuss with your children and your partner separately who they are to each other. This is probably the most difficult part if you have young children, because the young children are prone to attaching familial titles with unclassified newcomers. If need be, have the “you only have one mommy and one daddy” talk with your children.

The Next Phase

If things with your new significant other have progressed (over time!) to a more committed, long term relationship, then a new talk needs to take place. This talk must include the range of parental duties your partner will have over your children; to what extent is discipline allowed? Is there a limit to their parental duties? Will there be shared monetary parental duties?

So many questions and new experiences, so little time. Just remember, it’s smart to plan ahead as best you can to avoid as many bumps in the road as possible.

Why Are We Shocked By Gray Divorce?

78398457As obsessed as our culture is with youth and beauty, society has made quite a few surprising (but completely welcome) age-embracing motions. The spokeswoman/model for MAC cosmetics is a 90 year old woman, and what a woman Iris Apfel is. She wantonly said, “What’s wrong with getting old? If you’re lucky enough to get old, you should celebrate it.” Today we marvel at modern day medicine, which more than ever includes cosmetic surgery, but still have the gall to sternly criticize a person over 60 who doesn’t jump at early bird dinner specials.

Is there an age when we have to stop reassessing happiness and planning to improve our lives? The obvious answer is no, but the way we sensationalize things like gray divorce says otherwise.

The Wonder Years

In this day and age, 1 in 4 people aged 50 or older are getting a divorce, and this statistic makes our heads explode. People are wondering what has happened to our morals, our families, and our very values just because our parents have come to the conclusion that they are still very much alive and deserve to be happy. True, divorce not a very happy topic. The cause of divorce at least is not a very happy topic, but the by-products (getting out of a toxic relationship, living how you want to live, being who you want to be, meeting knew people, etc.) can be very uplifting.

You see, our baby boomers are not babies anymore. They have lived full lives, seen many changes in the world, and fostered changed offspring; however, they have also looked at the daily vitamin boxes in the face, and decided that the life they take the vitamins for is too precious to ignore anything that makes them less than thrilled to be alive. In their full lives, they might have made unions that have crumbled and been stretched too thin, and decided divorce was the best way forward. But for whatever reasons our baby boomers have decided to put an end to the Mr. and Mrs. letterhead, it’s really none of our business.

Is the Sky Falling?

Divorce, marriage, and other romantic topics are really none of the general public’s business, and my real question is why (after trying to evade time and aging) are we shocked that our parents are starring the clock in the eye and saying “I’ll do what I please in my own time”? Are we jealous of our parents for starting the age-revolution before us?

I’m not entirely sure, but one thing is for sure: We don’t quite know what to make of this age-revolution.