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By Lori Latimer –
Like many women, I was a wife and a mother most of my adult life. In 2008, my oldest son was married and had a baby boy, my youngest son was a senior in high school, and my husband and I were divorced. I was 48 years old.
And terrified at what I was doing. Starting over at 48? Was I crazy? (I certainly didn’t ask my then-husband that question!)
I’ve worked as a paralegal in family law for over 20 years. In that time, I’ve worked on divorce cases for people who’d been married less than a year, people who’d been married for more than 40 years, and everything in between.
Starting over is never easy, regardless of the what led to the divorce, your age, length of marriage, socio-economic status, or anything else. But when you’re in your late 40s or over 50, there’s an additional element of fear thrown in.
It’s the thought of being alone the rest of our lives. It can be a very real fear at this age. A woman who has finished raising her children and was looking forward to the golden years with her husband can be overcome with grief and fear at the thought of spending the rest of her life alone.
Your self-confidence may be shattered. Your self-esteem may be at an all-time low. And you may want to just crawl in bed, pull the sheets up over your head, and never come out.
But you still have a lot of life ahead of you! And you have the opportunity to make that life anything you want it to be. Here are some tips to help you in starting over.
1. Write. And write, and write, and write some more. Dump all of your feelings out onto paper. Good, bad, angry, sad – all of them. By hand, not on a computer. There’s something very therapeutic about dumping all of it out, and it’s much more powerful to do it by hand.
2. Get support. I don’t mean the man-bashing kind of support groups that are out there. That isn’t productive and it will just keep you stuck in the pain and misery that you need to get out of. Find a coach, or positive support group, or even a group of good, supportive friends that you can call when the pain and fear start to spin out of control. I worked with a coach after my divorce that helped me get on the path to a new life without fear.
3. Get active. Take a walk in nature. Take an exercise class. There are some wonderful exercise classes specifically designed for women over 50. Find new groups to get involved in of things you’re interested in. Meetup.com is a great place to find just about any group you can think of. If you can’t find one near you, start one! The point is to find things that will get you out of your house.
4. Get quiet. Take time to meditate or pray so you can get in touch with that deepest part of you, your intuition.
5. Keep a journal of “Things I accomplished today.” Every night before you go to bed, write down 3-5 things that you did that day. It can be something as simple as “I made my bed” or “I walked the dog.” It doesn’t matter what you did, it’s worth celebrating! As the days and weeks go by, you’ll find yourself accomplishing bigger and bolder things every day. It can be fun to go back and read what you wrote in the early entries to see just how far you’ve come.
When I made the decision to leave my marriage, I was filled with thoughts of whether I would be alone the rest of my life, would anyone ever find me attractive or sexy again, and would I find love again. The list went on and on.
While I’m still single 3 years later, I have dated some wonderful men. I know in my heart that when the time is right, the relationship I really want will show up. Until then, I’m having fun, learning who I am again and what I want from the rest of my life, and enjoying every minute I can.
It’s all about choices. We all have them. And when we’re faced with starting over after 50, we can choose to retreat from life and just exist, or we can choose to get back in the game of life and make it what we want it to be.
Lori Latimer helps women work the issues they face as newly-single women. After working as a paralegal in family law for 20+ years and going through her own divorce at the age of 48, she discovered a way to heal the pain of past relationships and build a new life full of passion and joy. She now helps other newly-single women and those going through divorce fall in love with themselves and their lives again by discovering their own unique life purpose. Lori’s website is http://lorilatimer.com/.