Okay, your midlife divorce is final, or soon to be.
Your ex is starting his “new and happier than I’ve ever been” life with his new “I’ve never loved anyone like I love her” secretary or nurse or waitress or some other woman who idolizes him, adores him and is most likely struggling financially and sees him as her knight in shining armor!
Since many guys choose to have affairs with someone below them on the economic ladder, he probably sees her as someone to rescue. She is often telling him “my husband doesn’t understand” or is “abusive” or is “working all the time” or is “angry all the time.”
(Tip to dumdum: – most husbands tend to get ticked-off when their wife is having sex with the doctor she works for or the CEO or the manager of her department!) But, I digress! More information about infidelity and who cheats and why.
Your ex is starting his new life, and in his opinion, things couldn’t be better. He’s on a high. Your kids are continuing to mature and embark on new journeys, too. It seems exciting new things are always on their horizon.
You’ve helped create that buzz for them. You most likely have helped them get their supplies and their new shoes and the important first-day-of-school outfits. Or they may have already left for college, and you’ve helped them get excited about moving into the dorm or their first apartment and making their own first launch away from home. Or your adult kids may already be starting their own family.
But what about you? What are you going to do now, after divorce?
The question is: How are you beginning your new after-divorce life? Excited? Eager? Full of tingly anticipation? Or Depressed? Worried? Sad? Afraid?
Most likely you are trying to figure out those pesky practical problems like how to pay the mortgage on your old house while your ex is building “her” a beautiful new house. You may be saving coffee money to afford a weekend trip to a nearby destination while he’s taking the girlfriend to the Caribbean. Or maybe, you’re simply trying to trying to keep yourself together in the midst of all of these changes in your life.
But, as real as those worries are, they don’t have to control your thinking. In fact, you must not let them control your thinking. You need to change your focus! You get to choose what you want in your life now. And then you can take actions that help you get you what you want.
Be honest. Has it been awhile since you’ve actually been excited about anything? When was the last time you woke up and couldn’t wait to get your day going?
During divorce, you probably describe your life as terrifying or depressing or chaotic instead of exciting in the fun, adventurous, new-start definition of the word. Again, even though these ideas I’m about to share are simple, they are powerful! And hopefully, they can actually get you fired up about your life again!
Take a step! Make a change! Try something new!
Below are five power-boosters to help you get your mojo back and get pumped about your new life:
1. Get wild! Try something a little crazy and out of your comfort zone
Below are some ideas from RADiCAL Women. By the way, RADiCAL = Rising Above Divorce In Confidence And Love(c), so RADiCAL Women are women who are determined to fly above this divorce and to be even more confident and full of life and love than before! Find out how to Get RADiCAL.
Roni, who is rebuilding her life after divorce, recently tried kayaking for the first time and loved it. She is joining a group to get better at it, to tone up her body and to meet some new people who are also excited about kayaking. (They don’t see the big D we sometimes imagine on our forehead!)
Gina took up “drumming” and now is performing with a group in her area.
Pru packed up and went on a life-expanding mission trip. “It was life-affirming in so many ways!”
Vicky (aka BABQ – Bad Ass Biker Queen) got her own motorcycle. “It’s a great way to see this beautiful country and meet some very interesting people along the way!”
Vickie in Kansas hadn’t had a “real” job since she was first married, 20 years earlier. She started by rocking preemie babies in the local hospital. That volunteer work led to an actual job that led to another promotion later. She took small actions that turned into big, positive life changes!
Pam started at an entry level position in a local business. She did such a good job, they paid for her to go back to school; and now that she finished that, they are grooming her for more advances in the company.
Jen from Alaska, with no place to live after her divorce, started being a “house sitter” for families who were going out of town. She put a roof over her head in something like 13 different houses. She also volunteered with female prisoners in a nearby jail. She loved the work so much that she went back to school and recently graduated with honors in psychology and is now helping women in prison learn skills to make a successful transition to the outside world when they get out.
Another RADiCAL Women is writing a book to help other women with diagnosed mental illness who are also faced with divorce. Finding a way to help others is helping her!
2. Get your brain and your goals in gear! Sign up for a class somewhere
How many of us put our dreams and ambitions on the back-burner while we were helping our wasband get a good start on his career? (Note: I don’t like the word ex-husband, so I use wasband – you know, he was my husband, but he’s not any more!)
How many of us chose (with our wasbands’ blessing and encouragement) to stay home to take care of our kids and make sure they got a strong start in life and at school? Those contributions are fun and an important benefit to society and to your family. Now your kids are getting older and may need your physical presence less. It’s time for you to get rockin’ yourself!
It’s your turn!
Now is the time for you to think about things that make you excited! It’s your turn to get fired up and to jump into life again! Get started by thinking about activities you loved in high school or college. Think about things that you’re good at. Start with something fun!
Take an acting class and throw caution to the wind when they tell you to “Be anger,” or “Be a book.” Take guitar lessons or tap dancing or anything to get you back to the land of the living and using your talents in funky, new ways. Explore a “Laugh” class. (Yes, they have them!) Laughter is very therapeutic, by the way!
More divorce recovery boosters
- Check out the Community Colleges in your area.
- Research nearby continuing education programs.
- Find out about the upcoming classes offered at your public library.
- Go take a class to upgrade your computer skills.
- Sign up for a MeetUp group. They have them for absolutely everything you can imagine!
- Check out our group and find or start a group in your area.
3. Be pro-active! Neighborhood/Community problems don’t fix themselves
See something that needs to change in your area? Get the ball rolling to fix it. Or join a group already in progress that is making a difference.
Roll up your sleeves and get to work on a Habitat for Humanity house. Get to know the neighbor down the street who has no family in the area and lend a hand. Take the new co-worker to lunch. Write a letter to the editor. Offer your talents and time in your own neighborhood homes association or your local Chamber of Commerce.
Make your voice heard. Use some of that emotional energy from your separation and divorce to sort and pack food at the community food bank. Find productive ways to get rid of toxic thoughts and feelings. The list of ways to be a positive contributor are endless, and we feel good when we’re done!
Do something! Inactivity leads to brooding
Don’t sit on your couch feeling sorry for yourself! Inaction is the breeding ground for depression! Here’s how Dan Greenburg describes it in his book, How to Make Yourself Miserable: The chapter is “Misery About the Past, the Present and the Future.”
“Optimum Brooding Conditions:
If you are serious about making yourself miserable, you will meet no greater foe than constructive activity, no greater friend than absolute inactivity. Inactivity is the fertile ground in which flourish the seeds of despair and self-pity.”
This hilarious book is a manual of all the ways we make ourselves miserable. A must-read to see how we create “self-torture, humiliation and anxiety” by doing stupid stuff that keeps us stuck in whatever pain and hurt we are experiencing.
4. Live your passion! Volunteer to further a cause you are passionate about
With funding being cut for many local programs, volunteers are more important than ever. Take time to figure out who you are and what your post-divorce passions are. (Ignore those “making him suffer” passions you may be obsessed with!) Churches, parishes, synagogues and other religious groups almost always have opportunities to get involved. So do community organizations.
Go to a local school and be a “Volunteer Reader” in the library. Be a mentor for women starting out in business. Use your skills to help someone else. Let your political passion drive you to pass out fliers or have a coffee for a local politician or voting issue.
Forget about your divorce! Do something fun — something worthwhile — something that excites you. You can’t change what’s already happened in your life. But you do have control of what comes next. Find ways to volunteer in your area.
5. Get back to work! Re-start your career. Start a new business. Meet with a life-coach or a career-coach
Work energizes us! We’re made to contribute. Figure out if you want to try to get back into the field of work you started with, or if you have discovered a passion for something else. Most community colleges offer testing that highlights your talents and helps you decide what your best career path forward might be.
One good Christian resource for finding your gifts is a book called Grace Gifts: Discovering the Unique Joy God Has For You by Dan Knight.
Most communities also have a Women’s Business Center that offers help to find a job or restart your own career. Get involved in a networking group in your area. If you are trying to get into the formal workforce for the first time or after a long break, contact one of your area’s career-help resources. Often, they have assistance for entry-level and advanced computer classes, job application help and interview training. Many even have resources for helping provide a suit or appropriate clothing to wear to the interview.
When you want to jump-start your life after divorce, remember that feelings follow actions
There are literally hundreds of ways to get your brain, your body and your life re-started when you’ve been sideswiped by divorce. Don’t sit back and snivel away while everyone around you seems to be getting started on some new challenge. Create your own semi-wild adventure! Stretch yourself! It’s good for all of us!
Even if you don’t feel like you have the energy, take an action anyway. Take that first small step and then the next. Don’t worry about fixing everything all at once. Just do something that keeps you moving in the right direction on the getting-your-life-back path after divorce.
Positive emotions follow positive actions. Too many of us want to wait ‘til we’re feeling stronger to do anything. That’s not how it works. We immediately start feeling stronger after taking that first step!
Our post-divorce life is up to us!
Positive thinking creates positive actions. Get the continual best-seller Think And Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill and even if you’ve read it before, read it again. Read You, Inc., The Art of Selling Yourself, another best-seller about validating yourself, promoting yourself and realizing that you have great things to contribute to your world. (This is also a great book for a kid going off to college or even starting high school!)
Pick something to start with from any of the ideas above. Taking action in any of those ways will also help you create a new network of friends who will begin to expand your horizons in positive and fun directions.
Take one small step today
Go online and check out some of the resources I’ve suggested. Do something and the endorphins in your brain will start dancing! The music is already started, and your best life is waiting!
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Thank you Suzy!! Your articles continue to inspire!