After my midlife divorce, I spent way too long in the regret and remorse stage. For too long, I didn’t even think about Restart. Here’s what I learned: Mourning your losses after divorce is necessary. There is grieving and coping to be done. There is an emotional roller coaster of emotions to figure out. There is pain and anguish to process. All those things take time. Don’t rush it, because the grief of divorce is real and as hard as any grief you will ever face. But here’s the deal … you also have a choice: Stay on the path of endless grieving and mourning and being angry or take small positive steps every day to restart a bright, good life. That’s the choice.
There’s a great little book entitled The Art of Imperfection: Simple Ways to Make Peace with Yourself by Veronique Vienne and Erica Lennard. Here’s something from that book that caught my eye: “Don’t try to second-guess what’s expected of you. Instead, turn the ironies of fate into an excuse to become who you want to be.”
You can describe your divorce as an irony of fate. It’s something you didn’t want and didn’t plan on. But now that fate has dealt you the hand of a midlife divorce, what are you going to do with that? Veronique and Erica encourage us to get off of that path of yearning for the past or wishing the divorce hadn’t happened or being bitter that it did happen.
Instead, accept it’s happened. Your marriage is over. Now what? How about using that “catastrophe” to become the person you really want to be and start healing after divorce. Maybe we should all learn to use the tough experiences we face to fine-tune our life skills. We can always use trouble “as an excuse” to launch us onto a new life path. And what a great lesson to teach to our kids and other people we care about. Don’t miss it by staying in that hole of divorce regret and remorse and sadness too long.
The reality is that there is new life coming. You can make it good by constantly making choices that move you to what you want. Baby steps end up in a full run to better things. Those daily actions in the right direction can wash away all of our excuses. We’re getting a new chance. Let’s jump in with both feet and make it better than ever. I can think of one person, in particular, who is going to raise his eyebrows … and he should!
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert. Be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43:18-19 (The Message)