• The Hopefulist

Moving forward after loss

Yesterday we were talking about divorce. Moving forward after something like that can feel paralyzing even if you were the one that wanted it. It's a whole new life, a whole new world and it can be scary as all get out. Will you have to move? Will you be splitting your time with the kids? Will you have the money you need to move forward in the way you hope to? These are the most fundamental concerns. The ones you will need to address first. But what comes after that can be even frightening.

Your in your new place or maybe you stayed put in the house but now your spouse has moved out. It still feels like a new place. There is a huge gap where there used to be a bustle of activity. What duties have you had to pick up now that it's just you and the kids? You have to do everything now from the shopping to the cooking and cleaning to getting the kids to practice to paying all the bills on your own. Have I scared the bejeezus out of you yet? I don't mean to and if you've gone through this it's all pretty accurate. At first, you want to just get through one day at a day. Don't put any extra demands on yourself. Just get used to your new way of life in the most comforting way possible.

But this is when focus becomes really important. We are all allowed to be sad and work through our feelings. I encourage sitting on the couch with a pint of Ben and Jerry's with a day full of binge watching a favorite show. It is important to address and work through those feelings but there will come a time when you need to start moving forward. Don't wallow. I know it's easy to say. But you are what you focus on. If you are only focusing on sorrow then you will get more of that in your life. If you focus on the future and what you hope it will look like, it is far more likely to happen.

It's been said, when we are having financial issues we tend to get stuck in a scarcity mindset because we are always focusing on what we don't have. (Speaking of scarcity mindset, don't try to get any toilet paper or hand sanitizer right now with the Corona virus scare.) This is a time to brainstorm and figure out ways to bring more money in or eliminate some money going out. Be resourceful. You can figure out one or the other. You may not want to eliminate some things but it may be worth it for a little peace of mind. When my husband and I purchased our house we were extending our budget a little further than I was comfortable with. So I cut back on the monthly bills as much as I could. We got the cheapest cable package. No Netflix (the horror), no amazon prime, we scaled way back on going out and went through those grocery store fliers with a fine tooth comb. We both wanted to buy this house. We both decided to make sacrifices in other areas of our life to make that happen. These are the choices we have to make. What is more important to you? Binge watching the latest show on HBO or not worrying about how you are going to pay the bill. Trust me when I say, you will find other things to watch, or even better....activities to do!

Navigating all the feelings we are having is a monumental task as well. I know from friends that a big fear is starting over again. Having thought you found the person you were going to grow old with and having that yanked away can be jarring. It can bring out a sense of hopelessness, betrayal and anger. I get it, you feel like you did your part. You did what you thought was right to keep the train on the track and it derailed anyway. You feel lost and a sense of injustice. Again, after taking the time to get through these feelings, move forward with what you hope to happen in the future....do not focus on what you don't want to happen. I know you're scared. I know you worry you will do it all over again and maybe end up with the same disappointing result. But here's the thing. You are starting from scratch. Your experience has taught you things. You have probably had time to examine what really went wrong. Did you come up with any examples of how you may have contributed to the situation? That's actually a good thing. No, it's a great thing. You know how to move forward with knowledge now. You know what to watch out for. You know what to do this time or not do. If you can't find a single thing you did to contribute to the situation you are currently in, look a little harder. I'm not saying it is your fault for the downfall of your marriage if you were cheated on but maybe there was something that caused your spouse to feel neglected in some way. Even if the response was outrageous, like cheating, was there something that you could have done a little differently. Don't get me wrong...I'm not making excuses for cheating in any way. But were the lines of communication not as open as they should be? That is something you can watch out for in the future. Notice a little distance in your next relationship? Sit down and make them tell you what's wrong.

It's hard to start over in any area of your life. A new job, a new town, even a new house. But this is the time to keep your eye on the prize. How do you want the rest of your life to unfold? Ask the hard questions. How will you get there? What will you do today that will bring you closer to that? Focus on what you want. If you don't know what you want, put some thought into it. How do you want to feel on your deathbed? I imagine you won't want to have regrets in how you lived your life. So think about what you can do to make sure you live a life you won't regret. Take your experience and the knowledge you are armed with by living life and move forward. It's all up to you. If you stay stuck in bitterness and injustice, that is how the rest of your life will play out. I hope you choose you.

It's hump day! I hope you know what you want out of life. And if you don't, I hope you will put some thought into it and shift your focus to what you want instead of what you don't want. Now, go make today, your best day yet!

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