“When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she had always been. But she had wings.” Dean Jackson
Virtually every woman I speak with now who is going through a divorce is 45 – 55 years old and that can’t be a coincidence. Although I’d hardly call that the Gray Population, particularly since I’m one of them, it is a sign of how times are changing and how when we reach a “certain age,” we’re less likely to give up and just go along than we are to dive-in-head-first and get serious about this one beautiful life we are given. Once we’re in mid-life, the whispers of our lives that we haven’t yet listened to become undeniable screams or bricks upside the head. No more playing around, no more avoiding and distracting, no more putting everyone else first so there’s nothing left for you.
I love working with these women and helping them heal after divorce because they’re not only older, but they’re much wiser…and braver…and more loving.
Although society, as well as fearful family and friends, may have tried to convince you that women attempting to move forward after divorce later in life will find it to be difficult, if not impossible, I’m here to disprove that theory.
Here’s what you need to know if you are a woman divorcing later in life:
1. You are not having a mid-life crisis.
As women, we are constantly evolving. We’re changing, growing, developing and becoming more ourselves. We care less about what others think and more about how we feel. And that may make some people around you uncomfortable. They may be trying to make sense of why you’re changing (and maybe justify why they’re not), so they like to box you in with a label of, “She’s just having a mid-life crisis.”
Here’s the problem: Just simply putting the label mid-life crisis on our experience makes it seem like it’s something that’s happening to us and beyond our control (like menopause). It also minimizes our experience and diminishes the importance of our journeys.
This is not like a common cold that will eventually pass. And although it may feel like we’re in the midst of a crisis, I like to think of it more as a mid-life awakening. We’re finally giving ourselves permission to honor our needs and live from the heart – honestly, abundantly and unapologetically.
2. You’re not afraid to tell the truth.
When we were much younger and much more afraid, we liked to develop stories that would justify our decisions and choices and behaviors. It was what we needed to do so that we could look ourselves and others in the eyes each day without fear of judgment. But now, we not only are willing to tell the truth; we actively seek the truth – mostly for ourselves. We want to know how we played a role in the creation of our experiences and we’re not afraid to take responsibility for what we might have allowed, accommodated or overlooked. We want to honestly see what we could have done differently so that we can become a better version of ourselves.
3. There’s space now for you in your life.
Many of us get married young and have children. We learn early on that the day you give birth to your first child is the day your needs, your wants and your desires go on the back-burner for decades. Our decisions and lives begin to revolve around our children. But now they’re older and decidedly more independent, which leaves space for you again in your life. You now have the time, energy, resources and passion to pour into the things that light you up, the things that nurture your soul, and the things that make you feel alive again.
4. You know who you are and what you want now.
You’ve had enough life experience by this time to know who you are and what you want. You know what feels good to you and what doesn’t. You know what brings you joy. You can feel when something isn’t quite right. And you’re no longer willing to live a life of emptiness or compromise just so you can feel safe and make others more comfortable.
5. Next time will be different because you’re different.
I hear women tell me about how hard it’s going to be to find love again late in life. They have plenty of evidence that would tell them that all the good ones are taken, any man available at my age has issues or younger men would never find women my age attractive.
But, here’s why next time you fall in love, it will be different:
Next time will be different because you’re different. Going through this experience, living through heartbreak, getting clear about who you are and what you want, being willing to tell the truth and own your part in the creation of your experiences in love, cultivating your own passions, while cultivating your own passions and interests again make you a different woman that you were decades ago. True, you may be a bit older…but you most certainly are a better woman, a better partner, a better mother and a better you than you ever were before.
This precious time post-divorce provides you an opportunity to make the second half of your life look and feel dramatically different than the first half of your life. And if you’re ready to move beyond your divorce, please download my free ebook, Healing from Heartbreak.