Life after divorce can seem like you are stumbling in the dark. For years, even decades, you may have defined yourself as a spouse, partner, and parent. And when you are no longer part of that marriage and your kids are grown, it can be difficult defining who you are exactly, and how to define yourself as you move on with your life.
But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or confusing! Divorce after 50 gives you the gift redefining your identity and life on your own terms—a journey that will be as fun as it is rewarding when you remember to follow these bits of advice.
You are not just a middle-aged divorcee. You are Wonder Woman.
For decades, you probably defined yourself as a wife, partner, and mother, and the roles you played in the household most likely centered on caring for your family. But that identity can start to feel in crisis once the children are grown, and once you are no longer with your husband. Many of us think, “Well—who am I now?” because culturally, we were never really encouraged to think outside the maternal care-giver box.
But after divorce, you are given an incredible gift: the opportunity to redefine yourself. Many of us may feel overwhelmed with this concept, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by asking yourself these questions: What do you identify with? Do you think of yourself as the no-BS independent woman you are? Are you a dreamer, thinker, and doer? Or, do you fall into the trap of just seeing yourself as the “divorced older woman?”
Remember—being single after 50 means that you are in charge and you have the freedom to do what you want, when you want, and treat yourself like the queen you are. Now is the time time start thinking about who you are beyond your divorce. That part of your life is just a mere 2% of who you are, all of the amazing things you have done, and all the great things you have in store.
Like everything in life…have a plan!
Planning for life after a divorce and lengthy marriage leaves many women confused with how to plan for themselves since life plans usually involved children and spouses. It can be very difficult for women after 50 to find their own voice. But your life and dreams and goals do not stop when your marriage ends–it just changes. That change means that you now have the freedom to do things on your own terms.
That blank slate can be overwhelming at the beginning. But having a plan doesn’t have to be! Starting to plan is as simple as answering the following questions:
What do I want for myself? Professionally? Personally? Financially? Spiritually?
What steps will I need to take to get what I want?
What obstacles do I feel stop me from getting what I want?
Who can help me along the way?
It can be difficult identifying the steps to get what you want as you continue to redefine yourself after divorce. Living under different circumstances than you did when you were married, or if you are retired, on a fixed income, makes many older women think they will not be able to do the things they want, but this is not necessarily the case. There are many excellent resources and professionals who can help divorced women live not only within their means, but also thrive during this next chapter. The key is recognizing that you deserve to be happy and, with some planning, there is no reason you cannot achieve that for yourself.
Remember your divorce is not failure, it’s just a plot change!
Divorce is still viewed as pejorative to many women, and many have a misconception that because the marriage ended, they failed at something. This idea could not be further from the truth!
If you are divorced, you need to start thinking of the end of your marriage not as some tragedy, but instead as the gift that it really is. When divorce is seen as the ability to change your life and define it on your own terms and the chance to now write this new chapter in your life as your own vision and not your former partner’s, then you are creating the best possible future for yourself.
Nobody can change the past. However, a past that includes a decades-long marriage that ended in divorce does not mean you are not worthy of celebrating these next years of your life. In fact, reinventing yourself beyond the label of “divorcee,” learning to plan for the things you now have the freedom to do, and viewing your divorce as a learning experience that has now let you define life on your own terms means you now have the chance to move forward to an amazing future.
And that’s what reinvention is all about.