“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.”
It’s hard to believe it is coming up on the three year anniversary of when my life as I knew it came to a screeching halt.
After 19 years of trying to make a marriage work…it was over. Done. Like…done, done.
I moved back into my parents house at 39 years old with my child. I felt like such a loser. I wondered if I would ever smile again. I felt like I had failed in accomplishing anything I had set out to attain in my life.
There were months on end when I would lay my daughter to sleep and just sob…sob because hope was lost—more like crushed, beaten, ground up into tiny little pieces and then tossed into a great abyss. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever feel hope again.
I was broken.
But now, almost three years later as I sit here in my warm, cozy apartment, with a hot cup of coffee in my favourite Starbucks mug and my favourite Indie playlist playing, I can honestly say…I am happier and more fulfilled than I have ever been in my life. Beauty has risen from the ashes of divorce.
Is it because I’m happily remarried and that I’ve found the love of my life?
Not at all.
There was a good chunk of the last three years where I hoped someone would rescue me, and save me from my pain. I envisioned my own personal Prince Charming riding up on his white horse (of course with a man bun and three day old facial hair…oh, how I’m a fan of the man bun), rescuing me from my despair and making everything better. But it wasn’t Prince Charming who rescued me. After three years, a different kind of rescuer came.
It was me.
I have grown into the woman I have always wanted to be. One step at a time…moving forward. I rescued myself.
And this is the gift of divorce.
I think many times we end up in marital/relational situations that don’t work out because we haven’t found our own path, our own voice. We try to feel fulfilled by joining with someone else, but if we haven’t found ourselves it will never satisfy the deep yearning within us all to live an inspired, authentic life. This is why, in so many ways, divorce can be a chance to start over. It can be a gift. Divorce stops us in our tracks and forces us to look in the mirror, whether we are ready or not. It is a chance for a new beginning. After all my comforts were gone, I was forced to find a strength in me I didn’t know existed before. While learning to walk on my own again, I have found what I love, what makes me laugh, what inspires me. There are similarities between me and my former married version of myself. But I like this new Divorced 2.0 version so much better.
I love what Elizabeth Gilbert says in her new book Big Magic when she is talking about finding treasures that lay inside ourselves: “One of the oldest and most generous tricks that the universe plays on human beings is to bury strange jewels within us all, and then stand back to see if we can find them.” Divorce can be a direct flight to authenticity and finding our own personal treasure chest if we can look at it as a gift.
Author: Wendy Haley
Editor: Travis May
Image: Flickr/Ava Randa