“No excuses. No regrets.” ~ Anonymous
There are all kinds of new beginnings in life. Some we dread. Some we look forward to with excitement and perhaps a little nervous anticipation.
My midlife divorce was a new beginning of the first type: Dread. Sinking, heart-thumping, dread. I felt like it was a new beginning on the level of starting a new life as a paraplegic. I hated the thought of it. I worried I wouldn’t be able to have a good life. All I could see was the sadness and hurt and terror of a new unfamiliar life I didn’t want.
But this time of year, people of all ages are experiencing new beginnings of the second type: excited, exhilarated (and probably a bit nervous) anticipation. There are a couple of definitions of graduation.
- The award of an academic degree, or sometimes the ceremony that is associated with an academic degree.
- The action of dividing into degrees or other proportionate divisions on a graduated scale … like proportionate measurements of advancement or achievement or graduated levels of water in a container.
Our children (or we ourselves) may have recently advanced to a higher level of academic or business achievement. That can mean we are experiencing new beginnings of the second type: exciting, exhilarating with fear and trembling thrown in!
Not that many years ago when our last child graduated from high school, I was preparing a memory binder for him with memorabilia from birth through 12th grade. I came across his “6A Cross-Country Champion” medal and a piece of paper that said, “NO EXCUSES. NO REGRETS.”
Let’s Go Get The Future We Deserve!
The “NO EXCUSES. NO REGRETS.” kind of life is what we should all strive for. That’s how we should live every single day. As human beings, we are continually moving up to a new level of life experience. We have a new start every 24 hours, and we should grab each new day, whatever we are facing, with gratitude for a chance to start again.
After divorce, we should all be just as excited about our new life as high school seniors or college graduates are about theirs. You’re probably rolling your eyes, but we do have the whole rest of our life ahead of us! I know that sounds scary when our path is uncharted and unsure, but let’s don’t squander this new opportunity to create a life we love.
So, after your divorce, like after graduation, go ahead … dream big! Write “Happy Graduation! My future is my choice!” at the top of the page in your daily planner in honor of this new stage. Even if the “School of Hard Knocks” is our alma mater, let’s embrace this glorious, amazing, wild, terrifying gift of a new beginning!
Real Life Graduation Success Stories
Jen Jordt graduated from college as a divorced, adult woman, so she could fulfill her passion for working with women in the prison system.
We have other RADiCAL after-divorce women like Deb DeYoung who went back to get her Masters as a Marriage, Attachment and Trauma Therapist, and Pam Piper who graduated with a BA in Business Administration after her divorce. They all started in that debilitating pit of a broken heart and a broken marriage, but they refused to let their situation keep them from going after a fulfilling, adventurous life in the future. You can decide to do that with your life, too. Start right now, today!
Believe in yourself – Dream big!
Whatever we are facing, we all get a new beginning every single morning. We should grab every new day boldly, bravely, and with a sense of adventure and fun and purpose. This is the only life we’ve got! Let’s step out of our comfort zone and make it count!
Take encouragement from others starting a new phase of life. Figure out what you want and then go for it! Find that thrill for yourself as you graduate to your own new exciting discoveries and achievements.
“No dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead!” St. Paul in a letter to the Philippians.
There is nothing good that comes from a life after divorce when you didn’t want it and didn’t instigate it. Sorry but I have to disagree with you.
Pamela – I agree that it is really hard to equate an unwanted midlife divorce to the excitement of a graduation, of any kind. When you are broadsided with the surprise, the confusion and that horrible gut-wrenching “what the what” is happening, there is no possible way to see it “as a graduation”. However; as time goes by and as perspectives change, life will continue. You will begin to see the “Spring”of the new-normal. I do not believe that a “new excitement” will ever happen, but a contentment and life will move you forward. We are all with you, we just do not all express it the same way. Hang in there, lady. You are a survivor!
It’s been 10 years since my unwanted, heartbreaking, gut wrenching midlife divorce and I am still dealing with the daily loneliness and heavy heart . There’s been no “new normal’ so far. I continue to miss my old life, my ex husband and my dreams of growing old with a loving partner. Still, as you say, life goes on and what has kept me going has been my Christian connection, my readings keep me hoping for God’s timing and Mercy. I have been getting progressively depressed as I wait, but I trust Him. So, It’s well.
Eight months ago my husband of 30 years left for a younger woman; someone I had worked with. I was shocked, I retired early and got a divorce — determined to move on with dignity. I realize that beneath all the anger I am grieving; it is as if he died only far worse. At least when someone you love passes you often conjure up good times and think of the person’s redeeming qualities. With betrayal and rejection it is a different experience. You think of it all and it’s confusing. To me new grief is a gaping wound. At first you have to stop the bleeding: dont self destruct or hire a hitman. Then you garner all the support you can — God, family, friends; a good therapist
Clear out all his garbage then clear out your own.. Goodwill has seen a lot of old stuff latley. That’s how I’m coping.