Recovering from divorce after a long marriage is a daunting assignment, to say the least. The loss of self esteem can be immobilizing as we try not to feel like an utter failure. All those years invested in the wrong man!
There is a way back, but it's not for the lazy or sad. Starting out with the right attitude is imperative. Take stock of what you have to feel good about. You have your health, your children, your teeth, his car... Be prepared to reach into your emotional mothballs and rediscover the happiest, smartest, cutest, funniest and most alluring version of yourself. You are only four steps away from being the real you again.
1. Find your strength.
Only when you can feel the physical strength of your body will you begin to engage that same strength emotionally. Ladies, at our age, we must lift weights, stretch, work out and exercise every day. Lifting weights and strengthening the torso so that you can hold your shoulders up will prevent that pesky little hump from forming on your back, and give you a stronger, more youthful posture and a whole new attitude.
Wait until you begin to see what impact you can create when you walk with confidence and strength. When you feel strong, you think differently about yourself and make better choices. People will treat you differently and look at you from a different perspective. Pull your shoulders back and lift up your chin. You are no longer invisible!
2. Do something symbolic.
Sometimes, just doing some sort of ritual act can create the feeling that you have left your former life behind you and moved on. It's another way of opening the door to your future. This step is probably a little different for everyone. Here's what I did: I took an armload of my husband's 8x10 glossy publicity photos to the parking lot of our favorite restaurant and I burned them. Seeing his lying cheating face go up in smoke did wonders for my morale and allowed me to feel completely disconnected from him and the life we shared. My friend tossed her wedding ring into the river to accomplish the same feeling and then, in a more aggressive act of symbolism, my mother cut the crotch out of all her husband's pants. What a woman! Create your own private revenge and move on!
3. Learn something new.
At first glance, this might seem like an insignificant effort. It is not. Challenging yourself physically and mentally is crucial to feeling alive and in the flow of life. You must not allow yourself to fall for the notion that your best years are behind you.
I learned how to dance the West Coast Swing. Not only did it give me something to do at night as an alternative to Internet dating and the bar scene, but it took two inches off my waist. If dancing isn't your cup of tea, why not take an art class, or learn how to cook Thai food? We've all had the experience of thinking that someday, when we finally have the opportunity, we're going to do that one thing we always wished for but never had the time to pursue. Now is the time. Now is your time!
4. Reinvent your life.
Most of the women I know in their fifties and sixties raised husbands and children, devoting their own lives to the well-being of their families. Careers were put aside, priorities shifted. Well, now it's time to make your life about you!
Try a new hair color and update your wardrobe. Did you have a husband whose idea of travel was the distance between the sofa and the refrigerator? It has become so easy for women to travel alone or in groups. Go to Italy! Do you still want that degree you never got? Matriculate!
Don't forget for one moment that you are smarter than you ever have been. Yes, we've had to surrender some badges of our youth for this moment, but then again, who in their right mind wouldn't trade perky breasts for wisdom and confidence? Therein lies your allure. What is sexier than a smart, confident woman who has not retired from life? You are free, and it's not too late to become the person you always wanted to be. Now get out there and GO GIRL!
How did you survive divorce after 50? Share your advice in the discussion below.