Every Day Is A New Beginning: Walking Your Own Path
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By Shanon Lee, Featured Columnist - April 18, 2014

Woman path.jpgSo Long, Mr. Wrong

I realized early on that I am missing a gene: the gene that allows you to silence your dreams and quietly accept an unsatisfying existence. I do not have it in me to sacrifice my ultimate happiness and settle for less than what I feel I deserve. I have discovered, that I have the ability to make a way, when the path is not clear, and thrive under the most challenging circumstances.

I know that for sure because, with very few resources, I walked away from a marriage and a comfortable lifestyle with two small children to support. Leaving my husband was one of the most difficult choices that I have ever had to make. Yet, starting over was not nearly as scary as the possibility of ending my life full of regrets.

Passion is as essential to me as the air that I breathe. I did not want to be the one that did not utilize my talents, education and skills to try everything that set my heart on fire. I did not want to wake up next to someone that I had outgrown and did not love wildly. I did not wish to wonder what could have happened, if only. For those reasons, I took a risk that was essential for me take in order to learn and evolve, even though it was unimaginably painful. I aspire to be a model of self-fulfillment to my children.

After my divorce, I went on to create the life that I always wanted. Complete with a blended family that I am proud of and a partnership with a man that supports my dreams. The path to getting here was not easy.

Here are a few things that I learned along the way:

1. In life, there are times when you must walk alone. Not due to rejection, but in reflection.

After a divorce, it is beneficial to take some time to yourself in order to rediscover what makes you happy. Your experiences have changed you. You are not the same woman you were even a year ago. The same things that made you happy in the past, may not bring you joy in the present. This may be an overwhelming concept, but all you can do is take it day by day. Abandon old ideals of the type of woman others expect you to be. Try everything sparks your interest, until you are inspired to set new goals and uncover new passions.

2. The people that matter the most will love you anyway.

I have family members and friends that have never experienced a divorce. I have witnessed them go through the ups and downs that could be expected from a relationship that has endured for many years. I live in the duality of respecting their choices, while wanting to create a life that is distinctly different from theirs and they accept me for me. I do not entertain relationships with people that feel entitled to judge my life choices, including the decision to end my marriage. The only opinion that matters is yours and your feelings are valid. You deserve people in your life that care more about supporting you, than offering negative opinions about your decisions.

3. Divorce changes everything.

You are not the only one who has changed. You may not even recognize the person your ex has become. Your children’s view of the world has been altered and you will witness how well, or how poorly, they navigate the change in your family status. Your friendships will shift and you might even be forced to change your circle once you realize that your existing friendships are stagnant, or only based on your connection to your ex. Nothing will ever be the same and you will somehow learn to accept that.

4. You cannot move forward until you make peace with your past.

My marriage was the result of a perfect combination of missteps. I married someone who was not my best suitor and I am not pleased with how it ended, but I do not regret that it happened. I have forgiven myself the mistakes of my past and accept accountability for my part in the positive and negative outcomes of my life. Growth is contingent upon personal acceptance and learning from your mistakes. You cannot change what has happened in the past, but you can start focusing on what is good about your life now and the positive direction in which it is heading. It is never to late to build upon your current strengths and positive attributes and pursue a new purpose in life.

photo credit: dlemieux via photopin cc

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