Divorce creates continuous challenges; yet, it’s also full of many small victories!
When I look back on the way I moved out of my marital home, I literally have no idea how I did it! From the time I secured a new house to rent that my kids and I would live in until the day I was handed the keys to move in, about a month’s time lapsed. My new landlord was kind enough to allow me to start bringing over my things to store in the garage. Every morning on the way to work I hauled a massive carload of boxes and furniture, and most evenings I packed up another load to deliver to our new house.
My Subaru station wagon was no beauty; but, boy could she handle a large load! I recall singlehandedly pushing huge boxes, dressers, and cabinets across the wood floors of my house to the front door, then across the front porch, and straight into my car. Only two items would not fit inside her: my sofa and mattress. Otherwise, the contents of three bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen all made their way from one house to another with only my set of hands and my trusty car!
To say that I felt proud and empowered by my accomplishment was an understatement! I was just beginning to prove to myself what I was capable of, once I put my mind to it! My divorce not only set the stage for me to experience one such trial after another where I would have to stand up to a challenge; but, I also grew from the constant opportunities to try new things and prove to myself that I could succeed!
My little victories built my confidence and gave me the strength to keep going when others doubted me, and I even doubted in myself.
I remember my ex thinking it was hilarious when I was having car problems and would no longer be able to rely on him to help me out. Moving all by myself, solving my own problems, and thriving when he wished the worst on me shut him up real quick, and made me start to believe that I really would be alright on my own!
The early days of my separation and divorce seemed like nothing but a continual test. Daily, I was faced with one new challenge after another. Things that may have seemed mundane and insignificant to others were enough to push me to the limits of my skills and knowledge and force me to be resourceful. Often, I had to step way outside my comfort zone to research something I knew nothing about. I had only myself to count on; therefore, I had to find a way to succeed!
Some of what I had to tackle by myself truly sucked, but everything I faced was an opportunity to learn and grow:
Making arrangements to have my faithful Subaru towed away and junked when she finally died.
Following up with my lawyer 20 months after my divorce was final to remind my ex of his responsibility to share in the cost of our children’s medical bills and to re-finance the house to get me off of the deed.
Some of what I encountered was really hard, yet felt so amazing when I completed them:
Buying my first vehicle all by myself.
Standing up to my bullying ex for the first time and enforcing my boundaries.
Putting together my daughter’s bed and dresser.
Some things that I accomplished were so small, yet so satisfying:
Setting up my son’s game system.
Learning how to fix some minor plumbing issues.
With everything that I checked off my to-do list, I felt a surge of joy and pride. I could do this! I didn’t need to have a man to save me or hold my life together! When the going got tough, I could find a way to handle just about anything that came my way. I wouldn’t always be successful, and my victories would rarely be without a lot of thinking and elbow grease; but, my reasons to fear divorced life were fading!
I recently talked about these small, but oh-so-meaningful victories with other divorced moms. Shannon beamed with can-do attitude when she talked about fixing her old lawnmower, then assembling a new weed trimmer all by herself! Her confidence in taking on these difficult tasks prompted her to go on to build a new garden shed! So, Shannon might be setting the bar rather high; but, the point is that if we really focus on something, everyone else better watch out!
Jill was excited to share about how great it felt to use a barbecue for the first time to grill hotdogs and hamburgers for her kids! Previous to her divorce, grilling was always in her husband’s “domain,” so she never had the opportunity to try it out or learn it for herself. The idea that she can share this treat with her kids whenever she wants, and that it’s no longer off the table because that was “his thing” is thrilling to her!
Divorce is full of plenty of negative moments that can sap our strength, energy, and confidence. So, when moments of victory come around, be sure to revel in them, pat yourself on the back, and chalk up the experience as one that has helped you further develop as a person! These accomplishments will become milestones of progress and proof that we can make it out of the dark and make something great for our life! We will, one day, probably sit back and laugh at some of our trials, while others will continue to be a source of pride and evidence of our awesomeness for years to come!
What victories have you experienced through your divorce journey?