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Ten Steps to Recovering and Thriving After a Divorce

Divorce is a rebirth of a new life that is free from all constraints of your former life. It is your chance to rewrite you’re story. Here is mine.
The steps of recovering from a divorce are long and arduous. Like Aaron Ralston crawling his way out of a Utah canyon, climbing your way out of a divorce is a journey that involves blood, sweat tears and more stamina than I thought I had. Eventually, this journey brought me to the door that unlocked the beautiful future.

Shock
At first it is just shock and awe. The total destruction of the life I once knew. The feeling can best be described as perpetual vertigo. Nothing is stationary anymore life starts to shed like layers of a snake unfolding. Driving in my car, I felt my body fly out of the sunroof forever leaving my old life. The road ahead represented the unknown. Who am I? Where am I going? How am I going to get there? Most of my time is spent suspended hovering over my body looking at the train wreck of my life. I spent night after night in a empty apartment wondering what type of time travel I had just experienced.

Precious Things
Did I really even want anything that belonged to that former life? This question I asked over and over again as I contemplated my precious things. My eyes cast around the precious things in my universe. The first thing I grabbed was the photo albums, next my jewelry then I started to amass a small assortment of odd precious things; my copper fava bean cooker from Egypt, a picture of the sunset off the wall, bedding and some pillows, a small Moroccan geode and of course my two dogs..What really matters from the life that has ended? What relics do I want to take with me? All the memories that I had as a whole are now just fleeting. I am the sole historian of those days. My story will never be contradicted again by my husbands opposing views. Once I decided on the precious things I had to get them. My shrink said that possession is 9/10ths of the law. He told me to back a truck up in the middle of the day and when no one is home and pack up my precious things and hightail it out of town. That is exactly what I did.

Mourning Old Life
Unpacking the precious things on the other side is a little like opening the Pandora’s Box of my relationship? I no longer have what I had. Everything looks a little different. It seems to be missing something. I mourn the things that are no longer there and loath the things that remain. I want to be free but I am still shackled by all that is in the past. It is impossible to create a new life when I am still mourning and living with things from the past.

Splitting two into one
Next, starts the spin. Sorting out the life I lead as a couple into the life of one. If only it could be as easy as splitting it all in half; half a couch, half a car, half a dog, half the friends along with half of your old self. In the end, the judgment and guilt dictate who gets the goods. Only I can rebuild the shattered other self that has been ripped from my being. Sometimes it is hard to tell if I even like the other half that is left. My discontent of the years past begins to surface. When did the crack start? Where is the small fissure that represents the beginning of the end?

What Happened?
Night after night I hash out the details, remembering things from years past; small looks here and there, situations that just did not feel right at the time. How long had this been going on? When did it start to unravel? The obsession is extreme until I have hashed out every incarnation imaginable. This stage drove the people closest to me batty.

Forgiveness

At some stage the pieces of the puzzle start fitting together. My part of the story starts to unfold. I see that I was culpable too. The break seems like a hologram where all sides are in view. My anger subsides as I realize the role that I played in the drama of my life. Now the blame shifts and gratitude takes its place. I appreciate the good and don’t dwell on the bad. Slowly I start to emerge, testing my new single self in the waters. What will they think of me? Where is the rhetorical “we”. It is a long process of cutting out the other part of me. Like conjoined twins the separation is a lengthy and delicate surgery. I go through this process so that I can regenerate and be a “me” again. Like a lizard that re-grows his tail, I begin to heal re-growing a new self where the “we” once took hold.

Identity Crisis
The identity crisis permeates every move I make. How do I explain myself? What is my story if I cut the other half out. At first telling people my story is like slow water torture. Little by little conversations become easier. A new self starts to emerge. I no longer reference my ex in every sentence. Slowly, my life as a “me” starts to unfold. I am all of a sudden in the position of creating my very own self. That sparks an overwhelming and paralyzing amount of choices to think of. What do I want to be? What did I think I wanted to be? What could I be? All of a sudden I am on the spin cycle again, agitating my way through the day.

Self Discovery
Somewhere swirling out there is my new life. At this point, it is so elusive as to be completely esoteric. At the same time, anything is possible and everything is impossible. Deep inside, I know that I have already been to hell and back and survived. The pressure begins to mount as friends and families ask, “What are you doing with your life?” Recovering is an answer that puts everyone on alert. I am now on the journey of self discovery.
Rapid fire ideas begin to brew in my head in the middle of the night. Those unused hours that you never thought you had before. A grand awakening of my potentiality a place only I can go. Where is the path? Are you my calling?
Little by little a small inkling of a path unfolds. Energy begins to flow in a direction and I begin to synthesize with my new life, creating a bold path towards the next chapter. I don’t really know what it looks like but I know I am headed there. Finally, the world starts to feel right again.

Emergence
Once the new “me” emerged it was time again to search out the “we”. Dating or getting my feet wet in the mating game was a Herculean task in the beginning. The thought of am I still attractive lingers around every corner. I am not what I was the last time I tried to find a mate. And shockingly enough, middle aged looked fat and bald.
It is not that easy getting back on the horse. The first date is just a hurdle that must be conquered. By date two or three it becomes a game of over analyzing your future prince charming. What do I want? Fun, sexy, smart, adoring, rich, tall, dark hair the list goes on and on. Most of the time you figure out what you don’t want from the endless coffee dates procured on Match.com. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears it is hard to determine which new bed will fit in my new incarnation? And then begins the agitation. Swirl, swirl the whole world becomes a whirl.

Survival
There are no myths at middle age of what you should aspire to. Cinderella did not return years later single, forty and without a castle. How do I embark on my new life? Do I believe in the dream all over again with its flaws and twists and turns? Am I convinced if I had only done a few things differently I would still be on the train to forever after? Am I meant to be alone fending for myself living the dream?
The one thing I know is that I am a survivor and lover of life. I have faith that I will continue to have a great life filled with passion and joy. I like the idea of creating my very own modern fairytale where I walk hand and hand into the sun with my new partner myself.

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