By Lindy Earl
I just texted a friend about what ended my marriage. I wrote the sentences: “It’s a sick and sad story. I’m sorry it’s mine.”
How horrible! I looked at the words and I cried. I’m sorry that my life is what it is . . . or was. Where do you go from there?
There are a few options, but one is definitely to not relive the past. It can’t happen. Visiting my past in my mind is only unhealthy . . . trying to figure out where I went wrong; what I should have done differently; wondering if I had made other decisions whether the outcome would really be different. This would only add to my sadness. In addition it makes me feel a lack of control, and that’s the last thing I need right now.
NOW is the time to change my life and my sadness! I want a new ending to my story. Before the divorce, when I was in a bad marriage and didn’t know it (yes, I’m that naïve), my story was being written for me but not by me. I was going along and getting along. My weekends were little different than my weekdays. Very little social life. Just work of one type or another. It was enough for me but it wasn’t really a happy life.
Now I realize that I need to take control, because in the past, my life controlled me.
I need to make a point of living and enjoying my life. Okay, I never enjoyed yard work, but as the sole yard mower, weed puller, and poison spreader, if I can’t enjoy the tasks, I can revel in the improvement of the yard that I have seen over the years. I have found joy in this part of my life.
Despite how I come across, in person or on social media, I am basically a shy introvert. Going out by myself is torture. I have tried . . . and failed. What I can do is find one or two friends and make plans. I am not one to stand up anyone, so if I say I’ll meet you then I will. So I am learning to create a social life for myself, beyond watching football games alone in my family room – which, by the way, I did yesterday and enjoyed greatly. But, I called a friend the day before and we watched College games at a local pub, just for the fun of being part of the crowd. It was a first for me but I did it!
My hobbies are back! With a lot of time on my hands I wanted to spend it productively. I enjoy house projects, but a few hours working on hobbies is great fun for me. It reminded me that I do have my own interests.
Cooking for one is quite a challenge, especially after cooking for a family of five. But the spouse and kids are gone, so I get to cook anything I want, whenever I want. This is silly, but I love rice and beans. Since I only feed myself now, I can have rice and beans every night if I desire. I can also, since I only eat one portion, invest in some foods that cost more than rice and beans. I love artichokes and asparagus and, with only me eating, can treat myself to these foods. What a wonderful and happy way to live my life.
I haven’t taken a vacation yet, but I am getting there. For years we took staycations or visitations. The day will come when I will choose a place that will make me happy, and I’ll go! Yes, I will probably go with a friend, but it will be a place that makes me happy. I did go on a beach trip with some girlfriends a few years ago, but that wasn’t my idea of a good vacation. I learned.
Learning is another excellent part of being happy. It could be formal education, if you so desire. It could be reading all the books you have squirreled away for years. It could be, in my case it is, just being aware of what is what. I am more open to what is happening and can read the writing on the wall better now. I see when people are users or scammers. I’m learning! In the process, I’m a better, and happier, person.
You’ve grown a lot since your divorce. It’s inevitable. You are suddenly doing things alone when once there were two of you. You are solely responsible for work and decisions and finances. All those things will force you to be more responsible and that’s a good thing.
One other point: As you continue writing your story, one day at a time, be sure that you find happiness on every page that you can. Be careful to write a story that won’t make you sad that it’s yours. Do your best to write yourself a happy ending, because your story isn’t over yet.
I make the joke that everyone should go through a divorce before they are allowed to be married, because the process is so educational. I can see a lot of the errors that I made in my marriage. I can be sorry for them and lament, or be sorry for them and move on.
That’s my choice . . . to move on to happiness and better decisions. You should join me. I’m no longer sad that my story is mine and I’m going to work to be sure that I’m never sad about my story again.
I would love to hear from you. Please comment and share your thoughts. If you like this article please share with your network!
Lindy is a Consultant, Speaker, and Writer, currently living in Atlanta, GA. She is The Business Coach focusing on Relationships through Communication, Leadership, and Corporate Culture. You will be more successful with Lindy on your team. Please contact her at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com.