Divorce after 50 can make you feel like everything you’ve known has been taken from you. The life you planned and your vision of the future may disappear, leaving you with a feeling of not knowing what to do or where to go from here. Waking up and facing the day can feel like the biggest of obstacles. When you feel like this, remember one thing:
You may feel lost because your internal GPS is no longer working.
So many of us had our entire lives invested in our marriage and our families. It was the lens with which we viewed the world. Our concept of being a spouse and a partner was our GPS. Whatever decisions we made through our long-term marriages—whether they were personal or professional—were seen within the “well, is it good for the marriage and is it good for the family?”
When your marriage ends, that GPS and final destination are thrown out the window. But that doesn’t mean that you are destined to wander around in the dark.
Feeling lost comes from not knowing your true vision.
Once marriage ends, our sense of purpose changes. We feel like we’re merely surviving. We have not given ourselves the gift of dreaming again. We are so busy with dealing with the daily roller coaster of emotions and figuring out logistics and finances that we forget to do the one thing we must do: Step back and ask ourselves, “What is my vision now that I am divorced and over 50? Where do I want to be?”
Identifying that vision becomes our new final destination. And until we recognize that vision for ourselves and then take steps to get there, it is impossible to move forward.
You can set yourself on auto-pilot and go through the daily motions of life, but it will be very hard to move on and reclaim the happiness you deserve unless you figure out that vision and have a plan to get there. You must do this for yourself. Need a little help? Here’s an exercise to get you started!
Exercise: How to get rid of your roadblocks
Take a minute to ask yourself: “What do I want?"If that seems overwhelming to you, take a look at some examples below!
I want to be happy in my home.
I want to feel confident again.
Next, ask yourself this: “What is stopping me from getting what I want?”
The things that are stopping us—the obstacles to our vision—are the daily frustrations that we face. I want you to list those—be honest and complete, but don’t spend too much time getting caught up in the obstacles. I know for me, those barriers included the following:
What’s stopping me:
I am staying in the home although he left, I don’t know how to shake the feeling that he is still “here.” There are still pictures of us together, some of his books are here, and I feel like everything just seems frozen in time. I didn’t feel great when we were having marital troubles, but now that I’m alone, I feel like my self-esteem is completely gone. I feel like I don’t have any purpose and it’s awful. How do I rebuild?
Once you have a few of those obstacles in mind, the real work begins. You are going to learn how to kick those obstacles out of the way by coming up with an easy plan that erases them and gets you closer to your final destination.
Write down what you are going to do to start overcoming those obstacles.
You don’t need some crazy D-Day type battle plan. It doesn’t need to be a Ph.D. dissertation. All you need are some simple steps that you can start taking today. If you need some help, take a look at the quick plans I created for myself when I felt lost after my divorce.
I am not feeling great about myself right now. There are several things I can do to change that. If I am not already seeing a therapist (or one that I really like), I will start searching (and asking for recommendations) to find someone who can work through this process with me. I am also doing to do things for myself for a change. I am going to list things that I like to do—hobbies, physical activities, and will put them on a calendar, so I remain accountable and committed do doing the things that I love. It’s time to put myself first.
The Road Ahead
Following this plan means you have two awesome things for yourself. First, you now have something that sticks—something you can use to help boot out those silly roadblocks that are up in your face. And second, you now know where you want to be—the vision of knowing what you want—your final destination. And when you know your final destination and the steps to get there, nothing can stop you.
Martha Bodyfelt is a certified divorce coach whose website "Surviving Your Split" helps readers break through their pain and heartache, conquer their post-divorce anxiety, and teaches them to regain their confidence so they can get their lives back. For your gift, "The Divorce Goddess Recovery Guide," stop by http://survivingyoursplit.com today!
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