Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Into the Gap Post-Divorce

I mean post-divorce gap in the most positive way.  In a recent piece, Jane Pauley talked about an experience gap that kids might like to fill before, or even during their college years.  She mentions empty nesters as having a similar opportunity.  It inspired my thinking about gap phases of life which I have shamelessly adapted here for the post-divorce gap year.  Like empty nesters, new retirees, or those luckily in a position to take a sabbatical, divorce also allows for a gap year.

According to Wikipedia, the gap year, AKA year abroad, year out, year off, deferred year, bridging year, time off and time out ,is typically the year students sometimes take before starting college, though some also take it after college graduation.  The time is used for travel, volunteer work, working abroad, exploring new directions and becoming more independent.   Perhaps in this economy you don’t have money or time for a break, especially after a divorce.  You can still carve out a little time to try something new.  These are a few ideas for branching out in your gap year:

-Something missing in your life?  I mean, other than your former spouse and former way of life.  Always wanted to see India, take a dance class, study sign language?  This is your opportunity.
-Back burner items you’ve always planned to do.  In marriage we all tend to set some things aside in order to accommodate partners.  This is the time to do something.  Start training for a marathon, enroll in an MBA program or try out for the new play in the local theater. 
-Meeting new people.  We all put off nonessential social contacts when we’re in marriages and other committed relationships.  Make time for a coffee or lunch with someone new.
-Having fun.  Divorce can free up time for fun.  Do something purposeful and fun.  Find volunteer opportunities, museums, parks, hikes, music in clubs, and other local options you haven’t explored.
The fact is, anytime is a great time to move into the gap, fill it with new experiences and get creative.  What’s in the gap for you?
Mood music:  TheGap.  Thompson Twins

Contact me to attend a free 2-session teleseminar, Move Into Post-Divorce Life.  Enjoy the Journey

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Do Yourself a Favor. Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Post-Divorce

Therapeutic lifestyle changes are all the things you know you ought to do to feel better about yourself and function better in the world.  I can’t think of a better time to adopt some new habits, than the post-divorce period.

Robert Walsh has found that these therapeutic changes include, not surprisingly:
*Regular exercise
*Healthy diet (lot of vegetables, fruit and fish)
*Spending time in nature
*Serving your community
 Of course it’s difficult to make these changes, especially when you’re already feeling a little out of sorts.  But this is just the time.  And now, let me explain why kd lang is relevant.  She noted in her interview today and in her song, Sorrow Nevermore, that happiness is a choice.  
Sorrow nevermore
Favor to myself
I’ll put you on the shelf forevermore
kd lang
 It’s sometimes a difficult choice, but don’t let that stop you.  Try one thing on the list and do it regularly.  Try more if you can.  Favor to yourself.

Contact me to attend a free 2-session teleseminar, Move Into Post-Divorce Life.  Enjoy the Journey

Monday, April 11, 2011

Surf’s Up Post-Divorce

Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a shark in 2003 while surfing.  She had planned for a career surfing, and she did not let it stop her.  It’s hard to imagine that she was surfing within a month, while so many of us spend many months or years bemoaning the various trials with which we are faced post-divorce.  It’s sobering, yet inspiring.  Perhaps learning to surf is in your future.

How can you be a post-divorce survivor and live your dreams? 

*Retain your focus and purpose
*Use your social network for support
*Dig deep and tap into your drive to succeed
*Hang out with people that make you laugh
*Keep moving…exercise and be active
*Learn something new every day (surfin?)

"It's exciting just to see how life works out," she says, "and how good can come out of bad situations."  Bethany Hamilton (listen to her inspiring interview)
Surfin’ USA, The Beach Boys

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Post-Divorce Foes and Fixes

I’ll admit it.  I’ve totally stolen these from Greg Melville’s articleabout common race foes.  But let’s face it, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a race, a post-divorce adjustment or a book.  The mental game is always the same.  Melville identifies four mental foes that get in the way on race day.  See how they apply to you.
* Your inner worry wart.  You know, the guy that leads you to question everything about your ability to function as a person, a partner and a worthwhile human being.  The fix…imagine yourself succeeding at whatever it is.  Whether it’s a date, paying the bills or getting rid of the mouse in the basement, visualize yourself doing it and doing it effectively and well.

* Your inner slacker.  This guy says there’s no hurry, you’ll figure things out eventually.  That’s true, you will figure things out eventually, but why wait?  You only have one life, and it’s short.  The fix…keep moving and working to get outside your comfort zone.  Think big and outside the box.  Try new things.  Get creative. 

* Your inner competitor.  This guy causes you to assess your abilities against everyone else’s, whether  that’s helpful or not.  Often, it’s not so helpful.  The fix…in the race of life it’s just you, trying to do your personal best.   You can learn from others who are successful, but don’t compare and be sure to enjoy your journey. 

* Your inner quitter.  This guy really makes you doubt you have the energy or grit to finish. You could cancel that date, pay the bills late and leave the mouse in the basement.  The fix…the urge to quit will pass.  Keep on with determination and grit.  You’ll get a second wind.

Don’t let any foes get in the way of living a happy and fulfilling life.

Contact me to attend a free 2-session teleseminar, Move Into Post-Divorce Life.  Enjoy the Journey

Fix You, Coldplay

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Be Authentic Post-Divorce

This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
William Shakespeare

One of the things that people complain about post-divorce is that they’ve lost their sense of self. The self is so often tied up with the partner that there is can be a loss of confidence in one’s own judgment, opinions and beliefs. The compromise you’ve lived with for so long is no longer necessary. It’s all up to you.

It could just be me, but I think that divorce is actually a great opportunity to redefine one’s sense of self. I find authenticity is a useful way to look at where we want to go post-divorce.

Clues to trying to live authentically:

Telling the truth to ourselves and others
Attempting to live a life true to our inner values and beliefs, not to those of others or society
Congruity between our values, attitudes, needs, and our behavior
Congruity between our values, attitudes, needs, and that which we express to others
Thought, words and behavior are all consistent with your true self

Red flags for inauthenticity:

Not saying what you think
Pretending to be something you’re not
Worrying about how you appear to others
Second guessing decisions you make
Inability to take a desired action step

So, if you stop trying to make yourself into more than you are out of fear that you are less than you are, whoever you really are will be a lot lighter and happier, and easier to live with, too. Kabat-Zinn.

Be Yourself, Graham Nash