by: Lisa Borchetta, MACP, CMC, ACC
Remember what it felt like that first time you rode a bicycle without anyone running along behind you, holding the seat for stability and no training wheels? That exhilaration of mastering a new skill, of your growing independence, and the fear that you were going to crash at any moment; all combined in a wash of pride, fear, joy, risk and excitement. I remember both wanting my dad to keep holding that seat and wanting him to let go all at the same time. And despite my crashes into a neighbor’s fence and into a car parked on the side of the street, I was bound and determined to climb back on and try again.
In many ways the challenges of those first few steps for the newly divorced person have that same “wobbly” tentativeness and mixture of emotions. You want it, you’re ready (or at least “ready-ish”) you know there’s no turning back and you feel like you have no idea what you are doing! Such a mixture of thoughts, emotions and feelings, like stepping out in the world for the first time all over again – but this time, you have a fuller story. So as you take those first tentative steps out into the brave new world – here are a few things you may want to ask yourself?
Who is this new person I have become? Whether your marriage was “long or short” – chances are that in many ways – you had been identifying yourself in a lot of ways as one half of “we”, more than the singular “I”. Take some time to get to know yourself again, who are you now? What is important to you? What are your values, goals and passions? How do you want to shape this next chapter in your life? There are a lot more questions than answers at first – but allow yourself to spend some time really thinking about who you are – because you have just hit a “major reset button.” You have an opportunity to both define and re-define yourself. Make it count.
How do you want to connect with people in your newly single life? Do you need some time for a little quiet reflection? Would you benefit from joining a support group and connecting with others who have also been divorced? Do you need to re-adjust and re-structure old friendships from your previously married life? Take your time, there’s no rush – you have the rest of your life ahead of you – spend some time reflecting on what you want and need. Develop a support system of people who truly care about you and resist the urge to rush into another romantic relationship right away. All relationships take time – move forward mindfully.
What do I want my life to be like? Be patient with the new you. Allow yourself to explore the possibilities. Enjoy the process of really thinking about what you want from your life – have fun with it – think big. Create a vision board, make a mind map, write your goals down, work with a coach, get involved with activities that interest you – you have a chance to start again, you owe it to yourself to think about how you want to shape your future.
You know what they say about “riding a bike” once you learn you will never forget. This is one of those times when you will be pulling on all your strengths, knowledge and previous experiences to help you move forward in a positive way. At the same time – you are building new skills, exploring new possibilities and mastering new challenges. Enjoy the ride. Before long you will be yelling - “Look Mom, no hands!”
Lisa Borchetta, MACP, CMC, ACC is a Certified Life Coach and owner of Firebird Life Coaching. In addition to her coaching work with individual and group clients, Lisa is also a public speaker, teacher and writer. She is a former Mental Health Counselor and holds a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology. Lisa writes for HopeAfterDivorce.org, FamilyShare.com, and LAFamily. You can visit Lisa’s website atwww.firebirdlifecoaching.com, her blog at firebirdlifecoach.wordpress.com and her FB page atwww.facebook.com/FirebirdLifeCoaching.