It can be really easy to take a stressful, major life event and harp on the negative. Divorce can be a dark place, and can certainly change a person, for better or worse. Like anything in life, we can choose how we react to things or how we let them impact us. Over time, I have learned that when I take a glass half full outlook to my divorce, life feels a little bit lighter. My journey of self-discovery is far from over, but I want to share some of what I have learned to date, and how my outlook has shifted with time and healing.
The beauty of self-awareness.
I don’t know if I would know myself as well as I do without having experienced my divorce 5 years ago. Sure, age and the wisdom that accompanies it are partly responsible for my new-found knowledge, but so is making a concerted effort to better understand myself. I am comfortable and knowledgeable of my shining, as well as my not-so-redeemable, qualities. I can make light of my imperfections. Divorce forced me to dig deep, and uncover my role in a relationship that failed. This, I know, will ultimately make me a better partner for the lucky guy I end up with ;-).
Forgiveness is freeing.
I have forgiven myself for getting divorced. For the longest time I was hard on myself for making a decision that impacted the life of a child. How could I have let this happen, and how I could I be that person, the one who got divorced before 5 years of marriage? Well, certain things happen for a reason, and that’s how I choose to see my divorce. I met and married my son’s father because I was meant to be my son’s mom … his mom in particular. My ex was meant to be my ex because I don’t know many other people with whom I’d be able to have the amicable co-parenting relationship that we have. Being hard on myself is a heavy weight to carry, and forgiveness has been liberating.
Friendships will change, but the ones you keep mean everything.
With any change in circumstance comes a snowball effect. Couples often hang out with couples, so it was no surprise that the nature of my social life was going to undergo a massive shift post-divorce. The friendships I have maintained mean the world to me. These friends still think of me for plans even if I don’t have a +1 and invite me to join them and their husbands, and they embrace my son and me like family. I also know that new friendships will arise out of this situation. In fact, through my articles I have reconnected with friends from my past who are going through or have been through similar circumstances. All these bonds are truly special to me, and I am grateful to have wonderful people in my life.
I can handle so much more than I ever imagined.
They say people are only handed what they can manage. I can’t comment on whether this is true all the time, but for me personally, I have surprised myself at how I can juggle and take on as many of the responsibilities that I do. A few years ago I bought my own home. A proud moment in and of itself, but the care that is required to manage and keep it together all on my own – as a single parent with no nanny, no snow shovelling or grass cutting service, little family help due to circumstance, and working a full-time corporate job – impresses me even more so. I celebrate little wins, like the fact that most of the time my house isn’t a tornado. It’s not immaculate, but most things are in their place. Spending time harping on everything I have to manage on my own is daunting, but looking back and celebrating what I have been able to juggle is worth celebrating. I have taken on more than I ever could have imagined.
I don’t know anyone, myself included, who wants to go through a divorce. However, the reality is that sometimes we make decisions that are right at the moment, but prove not to be years down the road. It’s ok if life takes unexpected turns. It’s how you choose to drive down those new roads that will ultimately impact your happiness and outlook. This mindset has been a big shift for me over the years, and is still evolving. At this point in my life, the road ahead isn’t entirely clear, but I’m going to drive it with the top down, sun shining and open to all of the positive possibilities that may be in my path.
Photo: FreeImages.com/Odan Jaeger