Ever watch the show The West Wing? I loved that show. President Bartlett (Martin Sheen) would say "What's next?" when he was done dealing with an issue. He said it with such authority, that everyone knew, no matter what - they were done talking about the current issue and it was time to move on.
Have you ever hung on to something (or someone) until well past the point when you should have let go? That's what I was doing with my marriage. I truly was trying to fix it at first; I genuinely loved my ex-husband and I wanted to repair the damage. Slowly, I started to realize that wasn't going to happen. I continued to try and fix things, but the truth is - it takes two to fix a marriage, and we weren't on the same page.
Divorce is a life change. Make no mistake - it is as stressful an event as you could ever endure. But stress comes from different sources for different people. For some, money is a major concern when getting a divorce. When children are involved, custody is a huge issue. Maybe your concern is property or keeping close with family members.
Here were my major concerns: How would I take care of my house? (Things like mowing the lawn, fixing furniture, home repair and home projects scared the heck out of me!) What would I do when I had a problem with my computer or the cable TV? Who would kill the spiders? Who would cook? Who would help me with paperwork? Who would I hang out with in the evenings?
Okay, okay - I know what you're thinking - who is this crazy chick, and where does she get off complaining about these things? But hear...ok, read...me out. It all boiled down to one thing: I was afraid to be on my own. I had never done it before; I went right from living with my father to living with X. I never even lived in a college dorm.
So, I panicked. I cried. I yelled. I may have punched a pillow. When I realized no one but the cats was there to listen, and they had left the room, I decided it was time to make a few changes.
As it turns out - you can purchase an item called a reel mower for about $100. No motor means no oil or gas, or messy, difficult start-ups. My lawn is small enough that using an item like this is a good workout, without being a huge time waster. Plus it's better for the environment.
My dad was always willing to help with computer problems, and I have met others along the way who were also able to help. And - you can just call the cable company for those problems. Who knew?
I still hate paperwork, but I learned you can hire some of that out as well. When it came time for divorce - I hired an attorney. When it came time to refinance the house - I hired a mortgage broker. Way easier. A little bit more in the cost department, but how do you put a price on sanity?
So, here's what I found out: I am a much more capable, independent woman than even I was aware. I can build furniture, mow the lawn, and kill bugs. [I still can't cook; that will probably never change. Don't judge me.]
Another thing I learned? Once you start getting a bit more confident in yourself, and get to know yourself better - a couple of things happen. One - it's easier to meet new people, and to reconnect with old friends and family. That started to solve the problem of who to hang out with. You also start to really enjoy the company of the person with whom you're alone - and suddenly, being alone and being lonely are not the same thing.
So one day, I woke up and thought, "What's next?"
This is part of my ongoing, edge-of-your-seat (hey, it's my blog; I can call it what I want) series on my divorce experience. You'll find out what actually was next in another post. Want to know what already happened? Click on the label "divorce" to read all about it.