Fresh starts after a divorce are the perfect combination of terrifying and exhilarating.
The thrill you feel when you realize you’ll never have to fold men’s underwear again, can eat cereal for dinner like you did back in college, or stare at the wall for hours if you want to are nothing short of exhilarating.
The thought of dating again may feel like a cruel act of torture, but once a 30-something man finds you “intriguing” and reminds you that you’re indeed the amazing kisser you always knew you were, this paralyzing fear quickly subsides (trust me).
Finding your equilibrium
You spend quiet mornings filling journals about how your feel because it feels so good to feel anything again, and listening to Lionel Ritchie throwbacks while eating clementine oranges becomes a new spiritual experience.
You’re high on the fact that you’re free to do whatever you want whenever you want (at least when the kids are at their other house). You live on a shoestring budget but know every dollar you make will be spent exactly how you want it to be.
You have no idea what your future holds. But you know two things for sure.
You’re divorced AND happy.
Being divorced may not initially make you happy, or it may make you the happiest you’ve ever been. At the top of my list of lessons my divorce taught me, and the list was long, was my happiness matters. A lot. Like a lot, a lot.
During my fresh start I vowed to forever guard my renewed zest for life and protect it like my secret stash of chocolate covered almonds. Seriously – touch my stash of almonds and it’s game on!
A bewildering rollercoaster ride
I know that I’m not the only one who after signing her divorce decree decided her Act II was going to be a happy one, and I want to meet and engage with others who’ve made a similar claim. Who've devoured their piece of happy life post divorce cake and are licking their plates clean. Sounds delicious, right?
I’ve been divorced for two years now. Well actually 27 months (sorry – had to). I won’t pretend every day of the last 27 months has been a bed of romantic roses or walk in Central Park. Grief sometimes sneaks up on you when you least expect it and smacks you hard in the face.
I remember being emotionally ambushed my second Christmas post-divorce by an unexpected crying fest after a morning of unwrapping gifts with my kids and ex-husband. I wept the entire car ride home. Other times I’d be doing a mundane task, like brushing my teeth, only to break into fits of tears for no logical reason. No doubt, sometimes our grief lasts longer then we want it to, like a #$#$% pandemic. Yet we get through it and to the other side, hopefully wiser…and happier.
We are not alone; don't live like you are
Divorce happens a lot. Like a lot, a lot. And it’s time we start publically talking not just about the grueling, arduous, life sucking, everybody loses experience called divorce, but also about the rich, rejuvenating, empowering, playful, life changing experiences AFTER divorce. They are out there AND in mass.
We need to move away from this social stigma we’ve bought into around divorce. How people who are divorced have “failed,” are “broke,” and feel “less then.” These old narratives need a major rewrite, like now, and I’m invested, along with many of my divorced comrades, to do just that!
For my pilot podcast episode, Feel Your Fresh Start, I talked to old and new friends, men and women, some married for over 20 years, others less than a year, about their fresh starts. I’m a lover of meaningful connection and the powerful and playful conversations I had with my guests energized me to my core. Fresh start stories do that.
Some of my guests shared lively stories about their adventures post divorce, including scenic motorcycle road trips and the thrill of snow boarding for the first time at age 45. Other guests talked candidly about the fear they felt when starting their Act II and how staying connected to friends and family was key. Two guests really opened up about the lie they’d lived during their marriages and how their fresh starts brought them both back to their authentic selves, and even a 2.0 version. Living your truth is liberating! Many expressed how their fresh starts were a time of self-discovery and rejuvenation.
Even the shittiest shit-storm of a divorce doesn’t decide the fate of your fresh start. We all still get a clean slate, an Act II. Even if you didn’t want your divorce, YOU get to now call the shots on what your fresh start looks like AND feels like. I say go for it! Paint the town red or at least your favorite color.
Your happiness matters a lot. Like a lot, a lot.