Amongst my divorced friends, we often refer to ourselves as “2.0,” this part of our lives being a “next chapter” of sorts. Part of the process of divorce at 40 after 14+ years of marriage, is reinvention. It’s impossible to go back to who we were at 25 and it’s impossible to move forward without significant change. When I talk to people considering divorce, this is the part that scares them the most. The idea of starting over, of redefining ourselves halfway through our lives. The knowledge of the strength, support and wisdom it will require – it’s terrifying.
The only way over is through. The only way to get there, is to do it. Some days that just means getting up and putting one foot in front of the other and other days it means discovering humor, passion and strength we might have believed we no longer had. In the beginning, each day you get through is a victory, each step is a mountain climbed. In the beginning, the idea of 2.0 is so overwhelming and foreign that our ability to see it’s potential is marred by the long, winding, muddy road between here and there.
Eventually though, time passes and you realize that your baby steps have moved you further than you’d have imagined. You wake up, look in the mirror and actually recognize the person looking back. That person is not you a year ago, but that person is YOU. You can finally see light back in your eyes. When you picture your day, your week and your month, your realize you are excited about the potential. Reinvention is the most integral part of this journey. You simply cannot get over what you have been through without it.
For some of us, we are faced with hard truths. We are forced to deal with demons and issues, we’d long ago put on a shelf. We are forced to look long and hard at who and what we want to be. To look at who and what we want to be around. There is a lot of work to be done and often in rediscovery and reinvention we have to force ourselves to be honest about being given a second chance to figure out what makes us happy. We are also forced to see where we have been wrong, what we need to own about our failures and how we want to be different in the next chapter of our lives. This is not to say that our core tenants change, per se. The crux of who we are remains. It is what we do with it that we are being given an new lease to define.
I recently sat around a table with 9 of the most amazing women I know (and have been blessed to know for over 20 years) and we were asked “what are you most proud of in the last 20 years?” While the answers varied and are too personal to disclose here, mine was simple – “I have found my voice again.” One woman at the table chuckled and said “wait, when did YOU ever not have your voice?” In the literal sense she was right. I am loud, opinionated, a debater and defender. But the truth is, I had.
I had lost a sense of what made me, me. I had lost my innate need to own my words, my needs, my dreams and in doing that I was lost. It’s been almost two years since my separation. Two very long and painful years. Two years of growth, discovery and redefining. Some things remain the same. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am a lover. I am a friend. The rest has, for the most part, changed. How I view that change has also shifted. I am grateful, I am blessed. I still have days of anger and frustration but they are fewer and further between.
I am still very much in the process of understanding me, of knowing me and of liking me again. I often fall backwards and am lucky enough to be pulled back up by the loving people in my life. I am also learning new things about myself that are exciting and beautiful and that require so much soul searching. But this process is long and it is painful. Often in my discovery, I hurt the people I love in the name of understanding and discovery. I have no choice though. I need to find my 2.0 so that I can own her.
I am a work in progress. I have started the next chapter but the book is not yet finished being written. I am a sketch, not a masterpiece. I am still me at my core though. That me, she knows only ONE truth in this journey – the only way over is through.
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