Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top 10 Upsides to Divorce

Generally speaking, divorce sucks. I don’t think you’ll hear many people say, “The year I got divorced was the best year of my life!” In fact, most divorcees will say it was the worst year of their lives. Lawyers, custody schedules, division of possessions. Yeah, I could sit here and list all the things that suck about divorce.

But I’m not going to.

Instead, I’m focusing on the list of positives about divorce. After all, that’s why I got divorced – to change my life for the better, to go after those positives waiting for me on the other side.

Four years ago, I wrote a post for Blue Star Families about the upsides of deployment. I felt like military spouses sometimes got so caught up in the negative aspects of deployment that we were making that difficult time even worse. But reminding ourselves there’s a silver lining hidden within just about any tough situation, including deployments and divorce, can help us get through it.

So today, like four years ago when my husband was deployed, I’m going to find the silver lining. (And the positives of divorce are actually oddly similar to those for deployment.) Here are my…

Top 10 Upsides of Divorce

10. I can decorate my home how I want. When my ex-husband and I were dividing our possessions before I moved out, I realized how different our decorating tastes are. (An upside to that is that I don’t think we had a single argument about who was keeping what.) When I moved into my new home, I decided it was time to surround myself with colors, art and furniture that showcased my preferences.

9. I eat what I want. I love food, and I love to cook. Unfortunately, my former husband and I didn’t always share the same tastes in food either. If there were meals I liked that he didn’t, I usually only cooked them for myself when he was traveling for work. Now every meal is a meal for me.

8. No. More. Snoring.

7. I can pursue my career. Throughout my marriage, I put my career on hold so my former husband could pursue his. I’m grateful for his military career for so many reasons, especially the fact that it led to mine. But now I no longer have to worry about how his career (e.g., PCS moves) will alter mine.

6. I’m no longer modeling a certain version of love and marriage to my children. One strong motivation for me to get divorced was the fact that I didn’t want my children to grow up believing that’s what love was, that’s what marriage was. 

5. I have financial independence. Money may be tight for now, but I’m actually saving money. I always joked that my former husband was the spender and I was the saver, but I don’t think I had any idea how true that statement was until after we split and my name was the only one on my checking account. I now have complete control over my money and where it’s going.

4. I feel like I’m a better mother. Sure, I have my days when I feel guilty for turning my son and daughter into “children of divorce,” but most days I think the divorce may have caused me to be more involved and attentive to their needs and emotional well-being. I think that’s partly because of everything I read about how divorce affects young children and partly because I treasure the time I have with them.  I’m still not used to not having them around when they’re with their father. My leisure time with them is limited, which is why I treasure things like our nightly reading/cuddle time in my bed, our Friday night Chick-Fil-A/Redbox movie, and now that the weather is warmer, our daily after-dinner bike rides.

3. I have an independence and freedom I haven’t had in a very long time. I’m making my own decisions. I’m doing what I want. I’m finding happiness on my own terms. And I’m no longer living in someone else’s shadow.

2. With that independence comes a new sense of empowerment.  I don’t need a man to pump my kids’ bike tires or hang a picture on the wall. I’m doing things I never thought I’d do. And it feels amazing.

1. Divorce has made me wiser and more self-aware. By the end of my marriage, I had no idea who I was anymore. I allowed my identity to get lost somewhere along the way. But no more. My journey through the separation and divorce has forced me on a path of self-discovery  I wish I had stumbled upon years ago. I’m now wiser about who I am, what I want, what I don’t want, and what I deserve out of life. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Roller Coaster Meets Huffington Post

I'm excited to announce my new gig as a Huffington Post blogger! I'm thrilled to have such a huge platform to share my journey through divorce and single motherhood. Click here to head on over to my Huffington Post debut. As always, I appreciate any comments you take the time to share with me.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Happy Moment: Life's a Beach

Last Sunday was Mother's Day. And my Mother's Day was fantastic, due in large part to the fact that I have the coolest kids ever, but also because I live in walking distance to the beach and because Mother Nature gave me the gift of sunshine.

Happy moments are everywhere... 

Happy Moment: Life's a Beach

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Top 10 Uplifting Divorce Quotes

I find comfort in other people's words. I feel better knowing my feelings have been felt before. I'm motivated by encouraging sentiments. I can change my perspective for the better with a glimpse of another's insight. 

That's why I love quotes.

I started collecting quotes when I was a teenager and realized that other people could conceptualize what I couldn't express myself. Twenty years later, as my divorce loomed, I once again found myself collecting quotes. They're on my iPhone's camera roll as memes. They're saved as notes in my Evernote app. They're scribbled in my daily planner, on Post-It notes in my purse and on random pieces of paper shoved in between pages as bookmarks.

I've stashed WAY more than 10 quotes that have helped me to find solace through my divorce journey. And I'm sure I'll be sharing future top 10's with more quotes. But for now, here are my favorite...

Top 10 Uplifting Divorce Quotes

10.  “Divorce isn't such a tragedy. A tragedy's staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.”  
~Jennifer Weiner

9. “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”  ~Socrates

8. “Forgive yourself for not having the foresight to know what now seems so obvious in hindsight.”  
~Judy Belmont

7. "There is no passion to be found playing small -- in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."  
~Nelson Mandela

6. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”  
~Nora Ephron

5. “Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.”  
~Mandy Hale

4. “Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.”  
                   ~Jonathan Lockwood Huie

3. “Let go or be dragged.”  
~Zen Proverb

2. “Close some doors today. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.”  
~Paulo Coelho

1. “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”  ~Joseph Campbell

What quotes have gotten you through a difficult time in your life?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Business Trip Travel Prep

I’m currently on a business trip. I love business trips because I love to travel, I love my co-workers and I love my job. But I don't love the pre-trip prep. You would think I'd know the drill by now, but I still manage to forget something, hurt something or generally screw something up.

The following is the closest I'll probably ever get to having a travel prep system. Here are my...

Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Business Trip Travel Prep

10. DO pack lightly when flying, but DON’T bother when driving. I like to have wardrobe options when I’m traveling. So if I don’t have any packing restrictions, why not bring all those options along?

I’d like to say I pack like this..

But when driving, I actually pack like this…

9. DON'T wear brand new shoes for the first time on a business trip where you'll be standing and/or walking all day long. I learned that the hard way.

8. DO pack Bandaids. (See #9.)

7. DON’T. Forget. Chargers. (And if you have them, keep backups in your car.)

6. DO check the weather forecast in the city you’re traveling to. It may be short sleeve weather where you live, but it's not worth risking a frantic search for fashionable and appropriate outerwear at your destination.

5. DON’T wait til the last minute to pack. Unless you like making late night runs to the drug store for travel contact solution and make-up removal wipes.

4. DO plan ahead to make the most of your trip. Arranging child care, especially during the week, is challenging. So when I can make the proper arrangements, I plan to make the most of my time away. Do I have a friend who lives in the vicinity of my business trip? Make up your guest bed, friend, because I’m coming to visit! Is there a cool concert one night I’m in town? Sign me up for tickets! Is there a cool place to go running? Lace up your running shoes and bring your camera, co-workers! (See photo. That's me about to run the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.)

3. DON’T forget to inform your kids’ teachers that you’ll be out of town, especially if the kids will be left in the care of a man (sorry men, but you just do things differently than us women). As a former teacher, I appreciated being informed of any changes in a family’s daily routine. It explained forgotten lunch boxes, mismatched clothes, sleepiness, tardiness, dirtiness and minor to major behavioral problems.  Plus, they know who to call in an emergency.

2. DO clean your house before you leave. Business trips aren’t just business trips for me. Usually they also double as mini vacations (have I mentioned I have the coolest job ever?). I come home with the perfect combination of fatigue, recharged batteries and good mood. I don’t want to kill that buzz by coming home to a mess. It’s worth the last minute tidying.

1. DON’T mysteriously injure your foot to the point that you have to go shopping for new shoes because your foot is too swollen to squeeze into your pretty shoes and just the thought of wearing your standard 3-inch heals makes you want to call an orthopedic surgeon. Sigh.

What would you add to the list?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Learning to Close Doors

It's the end of a long week filled with too much drama and baggage. Learning to close some doors.

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