Thursday, December 22, 2011

Post-Divorce Holidays…My Way

As the post-divorce years go on, sometimes we have feelings of guilt, nostalgia or anger we thought were long dormant.  It’s like a death; many years later the grief can return full-blown.  But it passes.  It’s all normal.  The key is to make the holidays your own.  Do it your way.

It’s good to take stock as the years go on.  How are you doing in your new life?  Or how would you like to be doing if it’s just beginning?   When I look back at the blogs I wrote around the holidays, I notice differences.  In 2009 I focused on helping the self (e.g., de-stressing, acceptance).  In 2010 it was more about others (e.g., being social, volunteering).  You may need to focus on some of these things this year.

It’s clear that of course we need both the self and other focus to move forward.  Consider what your goals are for the holiday.  Is it “me” time?  Is it vacation time?  Is it trying-to-enjoy-what-little-time-I-have-off time?  Is it family time?  Or perhaps it’s a combination of some of those.  Once you decide on your goal(s), you can figure out how to meet those goals.  Then you can plan some things.

For “me” time, get prepared with the things you need.  It may be books, movies, lunches with friends or a new gym membership.  Perhaps you’ll plan a volunteer activity, which also works for family time.  For vacation it may mean leaving the electronics behind, or limiting them ruthlessly.  Ditto that for family time.  If you only have a little time off, how can you plan to make the most of that time?  What will you do to make the family time fun for everyone?

The choices may be all yours to make.  Relish the freedom of making your own decisions and choices.  And do make choices.  Don’t just let things happen and allow the creeping feelings of loss sadness to take over.

And while you’re at it, think about the coming year.  What would you like to accomplish, change or begin?  Start thinking about how to make those things happen.

Whatever your focus, do it in your own unique way with your own style.  And have fun!

My Way.  Frank Sinatra

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Patience is Necessary Post-Divorce, Running is Optional

I don't know if running changed my life or if I changed my life for running, but who cares really? My feet keep moving, my arms keep pumping, and my mantra keeps rolling, 'Be patient. You got this.'
Valerie DiMambro, Runner’s World Challenger

Learn more about Valerie’s challenge (essentially from couch potato to 5K) if you’re interested, but if not, you gotta love the mantra.  It’s very post-divorce in that she was post-divorce when she started running.  It’s also an interesting parallel; did divorce change your life, or did you change your life because of divorce?  Perhaps a little bit of each?

The fact is, the changes are here, and it doesn’t much matter how that happened.  What matters is what you do with it.  Patience is necessary.

When you first start running, it’s difficult.  Like most things worth doing, you have to put in the time, effort and consistency to attain mastery.  You have to have a plan. Patience is required.

Even after you’ve been running awhile, sometimes it’s still difficult.  You’re having a bad day, you didn’t sleep enough or eat enough the day before, or you ate too much.  You’ve got to stick to your plan.  Patience keeps you going.

It’s the same with the post-divorce period.  You start off and it’s difficult.  You come up with a plan.  Once you’ve been at it awhile, it gets better, but you can still have a bad day.  Perhaps you’re not taking care ofyourself, isolating or working too hard.  You’ve got to stick to your plan.  Patience gets you through.

So hang in there, and remember, be patient, you got this.

Bad day, Daniel Powter (very cute video)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Find Your Post-Divorce Lifeline

We’ve all had our personal Titanics, we’ve all had those moments where we really have not shone, and we’ve had to live through and block it out and try to face some kind of future knowing that we missed an opportunity to be bigger and better than we were.

I love that quote from Frances Wilson’s interview.   She spoke of her book about J. Bruce Ismay, who owned the Titanic and survived it’s destruction.  For many of us, divorce is our personal Titanic.  The thing that sinks us to the depths of depression, hopelessness and fear.  The thing for which we need, if not a lifeboat, at least a lifeline.

Perhaps it would be more apt to think of the marriage as the Titanic.  The thing that threatened to take us down, along with innocent bystanders.  And here’s where I think we want to take stock.  Wilson asks, How do you pick up a life after that?  There’s a difference between surviving and living.

Very true.  So what’s your lineline going to be?  Lifelines I’ve known include yoga, running, a career, friends, writing, travel, gardening, music, etc.   These things broaden us.  They change us in positive ways.  Think about it.  What’s your lifeline?  Just pick something, and see.  See if it saves you and makes you bigger and better than you were.

Just waiting for an excuse to include WoodenShips, Crosby, Stills & Nash

Friday, November 4, 2011

How to Think Post-Divorce

How is post-divorce adjustment like adjustment post-brain surgery?  Gweneviere Mann has short-term memory loss from complications from brain surgery.  Her story is poignant.  The thing I loved most was what she said about running the NYC marathon:

"You know, I have spent a lot of days since my injury comparing myself to what I used to be and feeling sad about the things that I've lost," she says. "But doing the marathon really shows me that I still have a lot left in me."

If only we could view ourselves that way post-divorce, after all of our changes and losses, eh?So how about it?

*Think about the things you can still do, not the things you can’t do

*Think about what you’ve got, not what you’ve lost

*Think about what you’re going to do, not what you’re no longer going to do

*Think about 3 things you’re grateful for, not 3 things you’re pissed off about

Most of all, be inspired by Gweneviere’s story.  Think about all you have left in you.  After all, it’s got to be a lot easier than brain surgery.

For Gweneviere: Guinnevere, Crosby, Stills & Nash

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Post-Divorce Itch

How would you describe an itch, specifically, your post-divorce itch?  It may be a combination of pain, anger and hurt, with some other emotions tossed in.  Perhaps there’s relief with a dose of guilt.  It may have happened a week ago, or maybe 5 years ago.  The itch can still be there.

Uncomfortable emotions are like an itch we feel we must scratch.  It’s hard to ignore an itch.  The irony about an itch is, the more you scratch, the more it itches.  What we really want to do is learn to live with the discomfort post-divorce, and learn from it.  Like the itch from a bite, the more you let it be, the quicker it heals.

PemaChödrön says, scratching is our habitual way of trying to get away, trying to escape our fundamental discomfort, the fundamental itch of restlessness and insecurity, or that very uneasy feeling: that feeling that something bad is about to happen.

Newness and change often bring that feeling of impending doom and the dread that goes along with it.  Again, Pema Chödrön:

By learning to stay, we become very familiar with this place, and gradually, gradually, it loses its threat… abiding with the uneasy, disquieting sensation of nowhere-to-run [we find] that—guess what?—we don’t die; we don’t collapse.  In fact, we feel profound relief and freedom.

The best part of change is in the opportunities it presents.  Once you are able to life with the discomfort, and you haven’t died or gone crazy, what now?  That’s the fun part.  How would you like to create the rest of your life?

Nobody said it was easy
Oh it’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard

TheScientist, Coldplay

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Post-Divorce Quest: Birdwatching

If you’re considering a post-divorce hobby, birdwatching may not come immediately to mind.  But we’re not talking about just watching birds, we’re talking about having a big year, i.e., a year in which you see more bird species than anybody else.  In the world.

As the author, Mark Obmascik, told the interviewer, it was a great escape.  “I walk into a woods and my regular life just fades away.”  All of which totally makes me want to read his book, The big year, and learn about his quest.  Stories of others successfully mastering an experience are so helpful, like How to sleep alone and Eat, pray, love.

When you want to do something new, whether it’s writing a book or starting a new post-divorce life, learning how others were able to do it is a great way to begin your quest.  Talking with people who’ve done it, which is basically what support groups are all about, is fantastic.  Being a bookworm myself, reading about it is just as good for me.  Not surprisingly, when I decided to start a coaching practice post-divorce as one quest, Therapist as life coach was a great book for me.  Movies work too.

It’s time to decide on your quest if you haven’t already, and then get some almost-free advice.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Post-Divorce Celebration

What’s a celebration without a cake?  Along with my ex-wife’s wedding dress and the divorce gift registry, nothing says I don’t love you any more better than a snarky cake.  I’m not recommending hate and negativity.  But I do recommend, whenever possible, that you try not taking yourself so seriously.

Celebration is an important acknowledgment of a job well done.  I’m not saying we want to celebrate divorce.  It’s usually difficult and sad.  I am saying we can celebrate our new lives regardless of how we got there.

My suggestions for celebrating:

Laughter is a great antidote to anger and depression.  Part of wellness is the ability to laugh often, and often laugh at yourself.

Have a post-divorce party.  Maybe everyone tells their favorite funny story about you.

Take a vacation with friends and spend one day doing everything your way. 

My challenge:

You find something to do in celebration of your new life.  And yuk it up.

Don’t pass me by, The Beatles

Monday, October 3, 2011

Flourishing: How to live the good life

Check out my latest newsletter about flourishing.

It may be easier than you think to live the good life post-divorce.  It's a great way to get yourself moving forward.

Start today!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Give Up the Marriage Goal Post-Divorce

As Heidi Halvorson points out in her book, Succeed.How we can reach our goals, sometimes you have to give up a goal.  This is, of course, a central task in the post-divorce period.  Giving up the goal of happily ever after, of having a particular life with a particular person, of having holidays in a particular place with this constellation of family members, you have to give those goals up.

Borrowing from some of Halvorson’s ideas about how to think about goals we give up, and what we can do to ease the pain, these are some suggestions for use post-divorce.

Evaluate your effort and persistence.  Did you do everything you could?  Did you try to go the distance?  If you did your best, it’s time to let go and move on.

Let go of self-blame.  Success is determined largely by effort.  If you put in your all, the marriage didn’t fail because you’re not smart, attractive or clever enough.  Try to be honest about what went wrong, but let go of the gratuitous self-criticism and give yourself an “A” for effort.

You left for a reason.  People leave relationships because the cost of staying is too high.  If the relationship damaged your self-esteem (you were married to a narcissist), caused you to be on an emotional roller coaster (you were married to an addict) or required you to pay some other high price, it’s okay to say “enough.”

Substitute a new goal.  It’s not that finding a date or running a marathon (interesting comparison) will actually take the place of the person, hopes and dreams that are gone, but setting a new goal does a long way to helping us let go.    That’s why meeting someone new often eases the pain of a lost relationship.
It’s not just the person that’s gone, it’s the hopes and dreams.  Part of the work is letting all of that go.  There’s always a new goal on the horizon.

The way we were.  Barbra Streisand

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Feeling Happy Post-Divorce

When researchers study happiness and well-being, they find that having that daily warm, fuzzy, happy feeling is related to being loved, respected and feeling connected.  Of course, we all need food and shelter, the basics, but these things help us think that we’re okay on a day-to-day basis, they don’t necessarily help us feel happy.  You can see how this might be relevant post-divorce.  Right?
Love, respect and connection?  There’s a drastic decline in the connection department.  The one person we felt most connected to, or tried to feel most connected to, is gone.  At best, some of the respect and love we felt from that person, also gone.  At worst, all of the love and respect we felt from them, gone.  Often doubt creeps into other relationships.  Will this friend stand by me?  Is my co-worker questioning my worth now that I’m divorced? How are my kids’ friends’ parents reacting to this?  So the broader sense of feeling respected and connected to others may decline as well.  Your kids may be upset, so you you’re not feeling as much love there either.  Your parents may disapprove, leading again to feeling less loved.
It’s the extra oomph we get from our relationships, that ability to love and be loved, to be respected and have respect for others, and to feel connected to people, that really gives us the happy feeling.  You know what you have do to, right?  Improve those connections.
* Nurture current relationships – have lunch with someone
*Rekindle fading relationships – call an old friend
* Start new relationships – invite a co-worker to walk with you or go on a date
Even if the marriage isn’t forever, some relationships are, and good relationships matter.  Go for it!
Mood music:  UncleAlbert, Paul McCartney

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Post-Divorce Decisions. A Few Small Steps

Do you think of will power as being something that gets tired?  The research shows that as you make more choices, your brain gets tired.  When that happens, your willpower suffers.  The result?  You can no longer make good choices.  If you’re like most people post-divorce, you have a lot of decisions to make.  Alone.

The kids and the ex.
*Should I discuss this with my ex?

The kids.
*When should my kids meet him/her?

*When should I date?

The ex.
*When do I forgive?

The parents.
*How much should I tell them about my finances?

The list goes on and on to include decisions about your boss, co-w0rkers, friends and so on.

Research also shows that you don’t suffer with the same decrement in decision-making and willpower if you don’t let your self-control muscle get too tired.  You can do this by taking a few small steps:

*Get enough rest - tired brains don’t make good choices.
*Eat right - undernourished brains don’t make good choices.
*Make routines – the more routines you have, the fewer decisions you have to make.
*Make rules – the more rules you have (e.g., my kid doesn’t meet my date until the 8th week), the fewer choices you have to make.
* When in doubt, postpone – if you need to think something through (e.g., should I discuss this with my ex) do it when you’re well rested, nourished and feeling on top of things.

The point is that it’s okay to feel a bit overwhelmed with all the decisions you have to make.  You can change your mind, you can make mistakes and you will not be perfect.  But take a few small steps toward making life easier for yourself and you’ll find the decisions get easier.

Music to decide by, Questions, Jack Johnson

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do Something New Post-Divorce

What better time to try to master something new than post-divorce?  According to Thomas Delong, a Harvard Business School Professor, if we’re not moving forward, we’re regressing.  The only way that individuals change is to do something new, which by definition means you’ll do it poorly…  Delong believes people can change at any age.

Yippee!  We get to do a lot of new things post-divorce.  We can buy our first car, remove the wasp nest from the mailbox, help the kids with homework while cooking dinner and cleaning up the dog’s mess, and hire someone to repair the flooding basement, all on our own.

What does Delong mean by do it poorly?  I think it’s just an admonition that we’re not going to be great at things that we’ve not done before.  So we may not be great at figuring out the post-divorce issues.  But that doesn’t mean we cannot achieve mastery.

What does he mean by at any age?  Pretty simple, huh?  No matter what your age, you can do this, you can make it work, you can make something happen.  In other words, you can master something new.

There are many ways to master post-divorce issues.  Do something new like:

*eating alone in a restaurant
*going to a movie alone
*taking a vacation alone
*getting along better with your ex-spouse
*spending a weekend with the kids alone
*mastering [your personal post-divorce challenge here]

You can also achieve mastery post-divorce on run-of-the-mill life issues by trying new things like learning something new, setting a new intention or developing your creativity.  These all help you feel more competent, confident and happy.

What’s your particular challenge? Try something new to meet that challenge today.

Music to master-the-new by: I’m Movin’ On, Rascal Flatts

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Post-Divorce Myths

There are myths about everything:  depression, marriage, divorce.  But I couldn’t find many post-divorce myths.  So yours truly is going to attempt to right this wrong.
Myths I did find:
Blended families are all like the Brady bunch
Your new partner should love your kids like their own
Step-parents should be equal disciplinarians
Love conquers all problems you and your new mate may experience with the kids
We’ll all get along better now that we’re divorced
My additional myths:
No blended family is like the Brady bunch
Your new partner will not love your kids like their own
Step-parents should not be equal disciplinarians
Love will not conquer all problems you and your new mate may experience with the kids
We will not all get along better now that we’re divorced
My point:
Every family and situation is unique.  Of course all blended families are not like the Brady bunch.  Hell, most non-blended families are not like the Brady bunch.  Some partners will not love your kids anywhere near the way they love their own, but some will.  Some of you will get along a whole lot better after the divorce.  Why?
In addition to demographics like age of kids, age of parents, financial and employment situations, and the like, there are other things that make a difference.  Social support, good stress management strategies, forgiveness, gratitude and a lot of other qualities are going to affect your outcomes.  So try to focus on the things you can change, and have the wisdom to know the things you can’t change.  Final myth: you will be miserable forever.  Truth:  divorce won’t kill you, but it will make you stronger. 
Myths which are believed in tend to become true.  George Orwell

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Want to Make Changes Post-Divorce? What’s Your Type?

This is another of those “borrowed” ideas from running.  Specifically, Greg McMillan has a great piece in Running Times (it’ll be on-line soon) about the different types of runners that turn up for the high school season.  I’m thinking about how we turn up for the post-divorce period.
Type 1 has pride.  I’m divorced and proud of it, you might say.  Okay, maybe not proud, but not ashamed either.  Type 1 is going to approach post-divorce with the same energy and enthusiasm with which they approach other things in life.  This is a problem, and I’m gonna solve it.  Type 1s think, plan and make things happen.  Good for you if you fit this bill.  Just keep doing what you’re doing.  You’re flourishing.
Type 2 is in discovery.  I’m divorced, and it seems like I can cope with this thing.  Type 2s are going to give it their best shot, even though they’re not exactly relishing the opportunity.  Type 2s arrive in college or a job and didn’t realize what a challenge it would be, but they find themselves rising up to it.  Type 2s have a lot of enthusiasm, they’re not seasoned fighters and can get hurt or blocked.  Type 2s just need a little push and support.  If you’re a Type 2, make sure you’re getting the support you need.
Type 3 is dealing with a necessary evil.  I’m divorced, it sucks, and I guess I’ll do what I have to, to get through.  Type 3s spend a lot of time complaining about their situation and very little time considering concrete plans to improve it.  Type 3s say I don’t know, a lot, have no clear goals and little thought that getting through this is going to be mostly up to them.  They have the ability, but they don’t know it.  If you’re a Type 3, you can do this yourself by trying to do some problem solving, getting the support you need or developing a more optimistic attitude.
Type 4 is participating, but not flourishing.  I’m divorced so I guess it’s time to party.  Type 4s have the ability and the will to cope as needed, but aren’t giving 110% to making the post-divorce period the best time of their life.  The Type 4 isn’t complaining, but is just coasting, having some fun, not planning for the future.   Divorce is a major life change (I know, duh) but that means it’s one of those proverbial opportunities to grow and take charge of your life in a big way.
What’s your type?  Look at how you’ve approached other new and difficult situations.  Your response to divorce will probably be much the same.  You can decide if you want to move from your Type 4 to a Type 1, or from your Type 2 to a Type 1.  Since it’s not the cross country team, you don’t get to quit.  You’ve got to try to get yourself into shape and win this thing. 
Who are you? The Who.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Get Better Post-Divorce. Take a Lesson from Team USA

After a huge blow, everyone is trying to get better post-divorce.  The US Women’s Soccer team lost the World Cup in a heartbreaker a few days ago.  Talk about a blow.  Goalkeeper Hope Solo was asked whether she thought she’d be there for the next World Cup, 4 years from now, she’s 30 after all.   Her response was that she wasn’t even in her prime as a goal keeper (34 or so), that today’s game was a fun game for the fans to watch, that she knew it created a tremendous amount of interest in women’s soccer, the Olympics are coming up and that she planned to be at the next world cup.
What I noticed about Solo’s response was that it reflected what I surmise to be her get better goals.  Get better goals are those in which you’re trying to get better in some way.  In contrast, a be good goal is one in which you are trying to show how good you are.  As Heidi Halvorson has said, being good is about success, and getting better is about the journey.
Post-divorce, everyone is trying to recover from the unmet be good  goal (i.e., until death do us part).  How about some post-divorce get better goals?  Borrowing from some of my clients, they have decided to:
*take classes (for the fun and stimulation) and maybe get a masters degree
*join the army to fill life with purpose, serving country and learning skills
*move to the dream city to enjoy what it offers and the closeness of family
*date a lot to have fun and perhaps meet the dream mate
Don’t just lose weight, go to singles bars or meditate.  Decide on some get better goals.  What would you like to do?  What would increase the challenge in your life, make you happier, more fulfilled?  Try it and you’ll find you can enjoy the journey.
You’re the right kind of sinner, to release my inner fantasy.  Heartbreaker, Pat Benatar

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Post-Divorce Challenge

One of my July 4th post-divorce traditions is to run a local 10K.  I run it with 59,999 of my closest friends.  It’s the biggest 10K in the world.  It’s a huge party with music and crowds cheering along the way.  It’s fun.  And it’s a challenge for me.  Although I’ve been running for many years, I just started running in races 7 years ago.  I’m not trying to break any records except my own, but starting out in Atlanta’s July heat and facing 6.2 increasingly hot miles is a stretch.  When I finish I feel great.  They say that finishing a marathon means there’s not a lot you can’t do.  Well, I say finishing a 10K means the same thing.

I’m a bit reluctant to juxtapose this experience with the US women’s soccer team winning their game against Brazil today, but humor me.  It was an incredible game with heartbreaking calls and a tying goal in, literally, the 122nd minute of the 2nd overtime.  It was a beautiful display of grit, the combination of perseverance and passion for a goal (no pun intended).  Those women were not giving up any time soon and you could see it in their faces.

In fact, finishing most difficult things can leave you with the feeling that you can conquer the world.  Challenging yourself is a way to get tough.  Challenging yourself makes you more confident. It doesn’t have to be a physical challenge.  How about learning to do something you never really thought you could do, like speak French or play the guitar?  Persevering and getting it done lead to the end result of increased confidence and toughness.  So accept my challenge:  pick a challenge for yourself and see it through.  It’ll help you get that mental toughness and grit you need for the post-divorce challenges.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

You Can’t Always Judge a Book by its Cover, or, Change Your Thinking Post-Divorce

I recently read about a treatment for anorexia in which the person is taught to be more cognitively flexible, i.e., they’re taught to think about things in less ritualistic and programmed ways and to try new ways of approaching problems and situations.  Can you see where I’m going with this post-divorce?

Isn’t the post-divorce situation a classic case of trying to change rituals and rigid ways of thinking that are no longer helpful?  In anorexia, the idea is to help the person see foods as they are, instead of simply seeing them for their caloric content.  It’s to help them consider that not running 8 miles a day isn’t going to result in a 200 pound weight gain.  Post-divorce, the idea is to learn to see people, families and other triggers for negative thinking, for what they are.   People who look happy are sometimes happy, and sometimes they’re hiding their true feelings.  Families you observe in restaurants are sometimes happy, biological and intact, the story you may tell yourself.  They are also sometimes unhappy, not biologically related and not intact.   In other words, you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

The treatment for anorexia involves literally using drills to change thinking patterns.  I believe that most of us know how to think more rationally and productively, we just get stuck in the post-divorce doldrums.  Here’s what I think we can do to rewrite our stories.

Notice your triggers.  What are the situations or people that start your cycle of negative self-talk?  Is it watching romantic comedies or going to the health club and seeing lots of couples?  Okay, so maybe you need some behavior change.  You may need to hold off on the romantic comedies for a while.  Perhaps you’d rather go to the health club with a friend.  Fixes can also be cognitive, that is, dispute your thoughts and change them.  At first it feels stilted to say, I’ll have that kind of romance in the future, instead of I’m never going to be in love again.  But if you keep doing it, it starts to take hold and you begin to really see the world differently and your story changes.

Consider ways that your thinking or rituals get you into trouble post-divorce.  Then consider how you can make changes that will result in more positive emotional reactions.  You can actually rewrite the book developing a positive story to go along with situations.

Just to get in the mood:  The Story, Brandi Carlile

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tips for Post-Divorce Vacation Blues

The article I just read about summer depression and seasonal affective disorder triggered my thoughts about special post-divorce summer issues.  Specifically, how to handle your kids being gone with your ex.  Often summer visits are longer, sometimes as much as two months when geography is an issue.  Here are the tips for handling the special challenges:

1.  Try optimism.  Thinking about longer visits as vacations exudes optimism.  It’s a vacation from your kids.  Not that you don’t love them to death, but they don’t say absence makes the heart grow fonder for nothing.  If you’re kids are going on an actual vacation, perhaps one for which you done have the time, money or inclination, think about how positive this is for them.

2.  Make good use of the opportunity.  Everyone has things that pile up.  This is an opportunity to get some things done.  Whether at home or at work, it’s catch up time.  When the vacation is over, you’ll be able to give yourself a huge pat on the back for accomplishing something that’s been looming.

3.  HAVE FUN.  Even with all caps I cannot emphasize this enough.  Whatever fun is for you (and if you can’t remember, this is a great time to figure it out), whether reading novels, renting videos the kids would hate, going zip-lining, having dinner with friends, not cooking, cooking what you’d like to eat…whatever it is, do it.  A lot.  It’ll counteract the pain of the loss.

4.  Refresh and renew.  Fun refreshes and renews, but so do other things.  What refreshes and renews for you?  You probably have more time to get to the gym or your yoga class (that you’re about to sign up for), for a long bath, a solitary walk, a facial or a massage.  This is “me” time.

5.  Accept.  This is how things are going to be.  It may be difficult, but acceptance is key to moving forward and flourishing in your new circumstances.  Breathe, notice and use your strengths to brighten your days.  You can do this, and it gets easier.

And totally dating myself, as usual, for a blast of summer, Summer in the City, Lovin’ Spoonful