There’s something about life after moving that has reminded me so much about how things were after I got divorced, 17 years ago.
There came a point when I knew what I had to do, when I couldn’t live as I had been. When I understood I’d be better off on my own than in a marriage where I was expected to bow to all his needs with no expectation of return. A marriage where I spent an awful lot of time alone, feeling like a single parent, and furious with him for landing me in that situation.
Then came the flurry of activity that is divorce – thankfully it was a relatively amicable split, but there were still legalities to work out, stuff to sort and the kids to consider and nurture in a new way.
I lay awake at night worried I’d never be able to support myself and 2 kids (albeit part-time) on my own, until life eventually settled into something I could handle. As sad and as difficult as it was, I took a certain pleasure in being able to stretch my wings more than I ever had with my parenting and the house, without judgment or accusations of being inconsiderate.
That’s when it reality hit.
There I was, 34 years old: I’d been through school and had a steady job. I’d travelled a bit, been married, had kids. All the boxes I’d wanted to tick as a girl had been ticked, or at least the ones I believed should have been ticked.
Was that it?
Will this be my life from now on?
With a few health issues no longer content to stay in the background, it started to feel like it would even start heading downhill from there.
This happens after a move or a big career shift as well as with divorce, that once the stress calms into a routine, there’s a lull.
A wise woman will recognize that lull for what it is: a well-needed break, the calm after the storm. Time to rest, rejuvenate and gather your resources for what comes next in this life on the other side.
Sometimes, we’re not so wise.
There were days when I came face to face with the same issues as before. I was alone, having to do it all on my own. Some days I wondered why I’d even bothered.
Am I really better off than before?
Did I really need to upend the kids to still be in the same place?
And I was still blaming him for it.
It was my garden that spring that taught me the lesson I needed to learn: it’s possible, even inevitable, to start over.
Every year, the flowers wither and die. Fields go fallow and leaves rot. After the snow melts, the world’s all muddy and smelly. There’s a moment when you almost doubt anything will ever actually grow. And then it does.
Look out the window and it’s all dank and colourless. The sun warms up that much more and poof! It’s orange and yellow and violet. Robins chirp. Crab apple blossoms and lilacs fill the air with their perfume. Pea shoots herald crisp green sweetness.
Something had died in my life; come to an end. That didn’t mean I needed to stagnate in the fallout.
It was time to let the seeds of what I wanted for myself to take root. It was time to notice the colours in me, and ask myself: What form of sunshine would help them to bloom?
I started to focus the warmth of my attention on just that: people and activities and food that lit me up, that excited me and nourished me to my very core.
I started to trim away the branches that were holding me down – the blame, the regret, the self-flagellation.
I had done all this, kept putting one foot in front of the other through the previous year because I needed to make me a priority. I chose this life so that my needs, my values would have space to grow in a nurturing environment. How else could I expect to be truly healthy, effectively raise my sons and be of any service in my community?
When you’ve lost motivation for what you want most, when you can’t find the hope of a better day, I beg of you to try this:
Open your senses to the world around you.
what flavours make you swoon
which aromas make you sigh
which colours energize your mind
which music makes you dance
Remember: The most beautiful bounty grows from the humus and rot.
Don’t give up on yourself!
If you need more help putting self-care at the top of the list, let me know, I’d be glad to help. Click here and we’ll set up a time to talk.
If you know someone who’s stagnating in the fallout of the life they’ve left behind, help them to blossom using any of the share buttons below.