Divorce is almost always thought about as a tragic event. A heartbreaking ending to a chapter in life that was supposed to be full of love. While it isn’t usually a “good thing” by the standard dictionary definition, it can certainly be a gateway to good things. What does that mean, you wonder?
Well, in the same way that discovering you have a serious illness is a horrific and devastating realization, those who survive often find that their lives are changed for the better. They are survivors who overcame death, and as a result, their life is that much sweeter. This may seem like an extreme comparison, and in some ways it probably is. However the truth is that any heartbreaking and life-changing event can be a catalyst for positive change if you allow it.
Divorce makes life harder for many of us. We understand that. It introduces issues like child custody, division of assets and bills, and alimony into people’s lives, where before those things probably weren’t realities. While divorce can certainly complicate lots of the aspects of life, a surprising amount of what happens after divorce is actually a choice. A choice that you are free to make.
We have clients for whom the divorce itself was devastating, but the aftermath was actually amazing, simply because of the choices they chose to make. A woman who has been a stay home mother for years (who is kicked to the curb by a philandering husband) may choose to support herself and family with only the court-ordered alimony she receives from her ex. Or she may decide to pursue those long-lost dreams she once set aside and go back to school to learn a new career. It’s all about choices. Here in Michigan, we have lots of choices.
If you are in the middle of a divorce, then you’re probably aware of the fact that your marriage cannot be saved. It’s a fact you can’t control. What you can control, however, is how you respond to it. What you choose to do in the wake of your divorce will define your future. For that reason, it is probably best to use your divorce as an opportunity to do some serious soul-searching.
Ask yourself hard questions about who you are and what you want in life. Where are you going? Is it the direction you chose for yourself, or simply the one that you ended up on? Are there dreams and hopes you gave up on years ago that you could revisit? If so, how have they changed, and do you still want to chase them, or are you a different person with a different goal in life now? Spend a little time determining what’s important, and then run after it with open arms!
We’re not saying it won’t be hard, or that there won’t be challenges along the way. Of course there will be. However, challenges are like everything else in life – it’s how you respond to them that matters. In the same way that winning is sweetest when you fought hard to earn it, your future can be that much more amazing because of the sweat, blood and tears you shed to achieve it.
Please know, this isn’t meant to feel like pressure, and it isn’t intended to guilt anyone. It is nothing more than a suggestion to think differently about your situation. Not every divorced person in Michigan is in the position to pursue dreams or change careers. We get that. But for those of you who are, don’t let self-pity or bitterness hold you back. View your divorce as a launching pad. Everyone who learns to fly has to work through fear, make mistakes, fall down and pick themselves up. If you hope to soar, though, you’ll have to take that first step – the one where you realize that you actually have wings!