I remember a visit from some long-time family friends back when I was struggling with the decision about staying married or getting divorced. My friend suggested I wait until my youngest graduated high school and then decide.
“But that’s 8 years away,” I remember thinking in despair. “I can’t wait that long.” (I did divorce within the next year or so.)
As my son graduates and prepares for his transition to college, I’m thinking about my own next transition. A friend recently asked me if I had blogged about the new direction my life is going. Her question prompted this post about my joyful new direction in life after divorce.
Making the decision to divorce offered peace of mind I hadn’t had in a long time, which was a welcome relief. I spent the next year following through with the legal, financial, physical, practical and emotional elements of actually turning that decision into reality. It was at least a year before I was able to begin looking at the direction of my life beyond what needed to get done that day. And it’s taken a number of years to uncover what my friend calls “the real Joy” – a woman who enjoys the life she is living and lives it with integrity and congruence as much as possible.
Work. As a breadwinner mom, work has continued to be a primary focus in my life after divorce. In addition to growing my writing and consulting business, I’ve explored options for shifting directions to work that better integrates my passions and interest in being of service. This includes regular blogging (5+ years now) and authoring several ebooks, the latest of which will be released this summer. In the process I’ve increased my satisfaction with my consulting business and attracted clients I enjoy supporting. I’ve faced a number of financial challenges, some of which I’ve blogged about over the years, and deepened my spiritual foundation as a result. I know my needs will be met, though not always how.
Family. As important as the income from my work has been (and continues to be) to supporting my family, my role as a mom has always come first. I’m pleased to say that today they are all fine young adults, and I’m confident that they have the basic skills to make good lives for themselves as they move on in their own journeys. There were times when I didn’t think one or the other of them would make it, but so far, they have. And although I don’t take any credit for their accomplishments, I do feel good about the fact that I have been a consistent, steady support for them over the years before and after divorce. They know they can count on my love no matter what, and they also know where I draw the line on support (financial and other).
The rest of the story. I consider myself successful in my roles as a breadwinner and a mom, and I have done both without a man in my life since my divorce. I’ve kept the focus on deepening my spiritual connection and healing and growing mentally, emotionally and physically. The many actions I’ve taken since my divorce haven’t been undertaken with the idea of finding a new partner, although I do believe the healthier I become, the more likely it is that I can have a happy relationship when the time is right. In addition, I’ve moved to a vegan diet which has greatly improved how I feel, and I’ve increased my level of fitness considerably through regular workouts and a variety of outdoor activities. I’ve discovered the joy of hiking the Colorado mountains, and I’m increasing my skills so I can do more in the outdoors over the next season of my life. These changes, which I made in incremental baby steps by following small threads or ideas and intuitive thoughts, have led me to more joy and presence than I ever could have imagined in the days before or just after divorce. I’ll share more about some of the specifics in my next few blog posts.
The bottom line for me as I look toward my son’s upcoming graduation is that this is yet another transition, with both joy and bittersweet sorrow. Yet I have much to look forward to in the coming years with my joyful new direction in life after divorce. I can’t wait to see what it brings – for me and for these wonderful grown up kids.