Life sure has its way of throwing you curve balls! Not even three years ago I never would have imagined that I would be sitting here now a divorced, single mom of two and one more on the way (more on that later). It’s the reality of so many young adults these days and I want to take this time to share a few insights that I have learned by experience, because let’s face it, I like to learn the hard way apparently!
There is still a stigma out there about divorce.
Despite the fact that almost half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce there is still a stigma out there that criticizes those who do so. It will come from neighbors, co-workers, and friends. It can come in a slight look when you tell them (when asked of course) what is happening in your life. It can be a passive comment from your parents or someone from another generation or even your best friend. The point is, not everyone is going to be supportive of your decisions that resulted in the recent hardship no matter how it came about. This is life. You will feel the backlash of those and it will hurt, because when you are hurting the most is when it will happen. Know this, the opinions of others when it comes to your life and your marriage is of no consequence and they will have them no matter how it makes you feel. My advice is to grow a thick skin. Politely show tact when confronted with this sort of behavior. When it happens you will most likely be caught off guard and not sure how to handle it in the moment, so take a minute before reacting. Sometimes not reacting at all is best. Lastly, remember that opinions of others are often a result of their misconceptions, experiences, and past pain in their lives. It usually has nothing to do with you.
You will be vulnerable.
Even if you do not feel so. You are. Your life has changed drastically! You’ve most likely changed living arrangements, changed bank accounts, organized new schedules with the children just to name the obvious. To name some others that are less obvious would be to say that most of your family is no longer your family, the family dynamic within is completely different, changing last names (if you do) is a huge pain and can have consequences with your kids as well as again putting it out there “I AM DIVORCED!” There are just so many things that need to be addressed and worked through emotionally when you go through a divorce it can feel very overwhelming. If you’re like me you like to get things done and jump into other decisions often to feel a sense of accomplishment but really to distract yourself. In the same year that my ex husband and I separated I had gotten expensive braces that I had always wanted, changed careers, and gotten into another (a’hem!) relationshit oops I mean relationship. During a time when I already had so much going on I decided it would be a good idea to add more to my plate! Some things are unavoidable, for example, the change in career was risky yes, but also had great benefits to a more flexible schedule which is great for a single mom. But what I am getting at is, if I could go back and do it differently, I would have taken some time to think, reflect, read, plan, and work on myself before jumping into some things for the sake of distraction. Don’t get me wrong! Distraction can be a good thing. Distraction can help you get through some times when you could be feeling lonely. I also joined a gym and made more time with friends and family. However, know what distractions are just that and if they are worth the price they come with.
Your financial situation WILL change.
This seems like a “Duhhh!!!” thing to say. But what I mean is the ramifications of the fact that your financial situation changing. I don’t know what it is about our thirties but I would say about half of the people I know, whether it be close friends or acquaintances, are getting divorced! Is there something in the water that only affects you on your thirtieth birthday? Anyway, when you have to adjust to so many things that are a result of this huge life change, one of the hardest things to do is to also adjust your spending. It’s an issue of pride to most. Finances are so personal, as they should be, but if you aren’t careful you could put yourself in an even tougher position down the road just because you felt like this whole new wardrobe and fake tan and manicure was what was going to make your life better. I’m not saying that you can’t go and treat yourself every once in a while. By all means, do so! But do so within your means, and understand that there is such a thing as retail therapy gone wrong. Don’t let the high you get from buying things make you feel as if everything is okay. No, financial stability and the ability to see a future that you yourself are building is what is going to make your life better. (Can a girl preach?!)
Last but certainly not least,
Take a hot bath.
This seems silly to say and kind of out of the character of the rest of the article, but what I mean is this… take care of yourself, because the reality is nobody else is going to. Take care or your mind, body, and soul. If you love to craft, make some crafty shit. If you love to exercise, go for a run! If you’re a hippy and love to hug trees, put your earphones on with some Grateful Dead and go immerse yourself in some nature for a while. ( I am all of these!) Do what makes your soul happy. Take care of your body, through health, but remember what your mind thinks, your body will follow. There are always issues that need to be faced, and there will always be problems to tackle tomorrow. You are only good to others if you are good to yourself. Take the time out tonight to get some lavender Epsom salt in a hot bath and soak your tired body and read a good book. Reflect and remember that not all is lost, you are strong enough to get through whatever life has to throw at you next.