Divorce Is Not the End of Your Life
Divorce can be your opportunity to positively transform your future.
Posted December 11, 2014
Divorce can sometimes feel like the end of your life. It is the end of your marriage, and that means it may be the end of how you thought your life would play out, or the dream of “happily ever after” you had on your wedding day. But the end of your life? No way. In fact, divorce can be your opportunity to positively transform your life and your future in ways you never thought possible.
Let me tell you about Janet, whose divorce brought her a new career and happiness she never thought possible. Janet thought she had a good marriage – she had been married over 25 years. She and her successful corporate husband had two children in high school and Janet had not worked since they were born. Her identity and her source of pride was providing a good home and base for her children and husband, and doing volunteer work. It never occurred to her that her life path would change or that her marriage would end. But it did when her husband came home and suddenly announced that he was no longer in love with her and wanted a divorce. This was a horrible shock for Janet, one she truly didn’t see coming. It left her stunned, sad, uncertain, and despairing. In fact, the first few times she and I met, she sobbed her way through the meetings. Slowly, she began to accept the fact that her life was going to change, and there was nothing to do to stop that reality. But she was scared about the future and had no idea what she would do with herself now that it felt like her whole identity had been stolen from her. Even though Janet was entitled to be supported for some time after the divorce by her husband, he wasn’t going to have to support her forever. Having not worked in twenty years and having no readily marketable skills, I asked Janet to explore her dreams. I asked her to tell me her “dream” job; if she could pick anything to do, anything at all, to earn money, what would it be? Surprisingly, she had an answer. She described to me a trip she had taken to Italy with her sisters during the marriage (one her husband had objected to as being too expensive) where she had fallen in love with the art of pottery. She had always had an artistic side to her, but given her role as good mother and wife, she hadn’t explored that side in many, many years. We began to speak about what it would take for her to turn her love of pottery and art into a business. Janet found classes to enroll in to learn the art of pottery, and enrolled in a business course to learn how to construct a business plan. She began to see that this unlikely dream of hers could actually come to life as her business plan took shape. We were able to structure the financial terms of her divorce in a way that would allow her to return to school and get her business off the ground.
Her divorce is now in the past, but Janet is more satisfied and fulfilled than she ever thought possible during the marriage. She has also come to terms with the fact her marriage was actually not all that soul inspiring after all. She doesn’t look back on the end of her divorce with regret, because it provided her the opportunity to fulfill her deepest desires and be her authentic self. Janet’s story shows us that as hard and defeating as divorce may initially feel, it can indeed be your pathway to transforming your life. As you walk through your own divorce, start to actually list and listen to your own deepest dreams and desires, and look to your now different future as an opportunity to fulfill those. Divorce is only the end of a marriage that wasn’t really working anyway. Your best life awaits. Grab it.