Life Does Not End After Divorce.
A few weeks ago I overheard a conversation between two women while I was at dinner. Honestly, everyone in the restaurant must have heard them. The older of the two must have had a hearing problem as the younger one, (I assume it was her daughter) was speaking very loudly. I should premise this by saying that I don't make it a habit to listen in on other peoples conversations. However, in this case, it was really unavoidable.
"Life does not end after divorce," the daughter said. Hearing that made me pause and really think.
If I could have interjected, I would have said "life begins again after divorce."
I was married for 19 years. While there were a lot of good years, there were a lot of bad ones too. At the end of the day I realized that we were not a good match. I felt trapped and chained to a man that I didn’t want to be with and ate my feelings because I didn't have the strength or the confidence to make change. I was afraid. I was afraid of being a failure. I was afraid of the impact divorce would have on my kids and I was afraid to be alone.
One day our fighting escalated to the point where we both agreed that it was over.
What happened next?
I cried. A lot.
I mourned my failed marriage and beat myself up emotionally. Ultimately, I felt like I had disappointed my children and scarred them for life. I focused on my kids and my job, eating my way through my emotions - not really caring what I was doing to myself.
If you've been following me, then you know that something changed several years later and I started taking better care of myself. I wish I could tell you what the magic formula was, but I can’t. I’d like to say that I just got to a point where I didn’t want to be miserable anymore but I think that it went deeper than that. I wanted to be healthy and I didn’t want to live my life hating who I was. So I started to make small changes.
These changes to my lifestyle started gradually and the change that occurred was both physical and emotional. As I lost more weight, I became happier, more confident and more content with my life. I think that realizing that I could make it on my own gave me the confidence that I lacked for so many years. I realized that I was much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. In addition, I realized that I controlled my life and my destiny - not the other way around. My past was over - and I had the world at my feet. I was time to live again.
For the first time in my life, I focused on myself. It was a strange and wonderful feeling, but when my kids were with their dad, I had the time to think about me and do the things for myself that I had long neglected. I spent time with girlfriends, I exercised, I read. Eventually, I started dating and it was glorious to get out there again - even if most of the men I went out with were duds. I was having fun. Then I met Robby - and I realized that there were good men in the world after all.
I focused on having a stronger bond with my kids. The time we spent together was focused on them and their needs. We spent a lot of weekends doing things that we all enjoyed together; we learned how to balance our new world and with it, our already close relationships got even stronger. It is very difficult to describe, but in many ways, we are even closer now than we were before.
In hindsight, getting divorced was the best decision I could have ever made. It got me out of a toxic relationship and gave me the courage and the confidence to make the changes in my life that were long overdue. While it wasn’t easy, it was worth the tears and the angst that came along with it.
I guess my point is this…we all have the right to be happy and we have the power to make change to our world.
No one is going to do it for us. Even when the idea of change is overwhelming and petrifying, sometimes we have to take that step forward to get where we want to be. Don’t let a lack of confidence or strong feelings of fear stand in your way of happiness. I’m not recommending that you get divorced - however, we all have things in our lives that we want to achieve and sometimes fear gets in the way of our ability to try. So, whether it’s applying for a new job, losing weight or trying something new for the first time…feel strength in you ability to handle it — and then close your eyes and go for it.
You have nothing to lose - and at the end of the day - you might just be happier for it.
Bee healthy. Bee happy.