When you’re really, really sad, it is hard to imagine things will get better. When many of the things you never dreamed of (e.g., divorce) came true anyway, it is even more difficult to envision a positive resolution. But, as cliché as it sounds, time does (eventually) heal all wounds and life does go on.
I signed the contract to sell my marital home last week. I knew this time was coming. In fact, selling the house was partly my decision, as the alternatives were unreasonable. I couldn’t afford to maintain the home on my own, had no inclination to attempt to buy out my ex-husband, and frankly, would choose something altogether different to be my single-parent home. Yes, I am sad about the prospect of leaving my home. It is the home my ex and I had built to our specifications (as much as we could afford anyway) when our oldest was in preschool and our youngest had yet to arrive. It is the home where our kids spent their school years, hung out with their friends, and played outside. I am sad about leaving my neighbors, my yard, and my fireplace. I am sad about leaving the incomparably beautiful sunsets visible across the field in my backyard, the breathtaking sunrises over the pond out the front windows, and the trees we planted with plans to watch them grow for years to come.
But, I am excited about the prospect of choosing something that reflects the “me” that I am today, rather than the “us” I was part of when we built our home 16 years ago. I could not have said that a few short months ago. Back then, I was too engulfed in the heartbreak of what I was leaving behind to imagine what the future held. Over the last several months, I have remembered how much I embrace my time alone and how much I cherish my own space. I have found no shortage of ways to fill my time when my kids are not with me as well as things to do when I get to spend time with them.
The unknown is still hard. Will I find a new place in the desired school district? Will it have many (any? some?) of the accouterments that I prefer? Will the neighbors be nice? Will my daughters and I feel safe there? How long will it take to find it? Will we have to find temporary housing until we can move in? There are so many questions to consider and not nearly enough answers readily available. This is a great opportunity to practice patience. Some things are beyond our control and no amount of wishing and hoping can change that.
So how am I going to handle this situation? I am going to check real estate listings daily – actually, multiple times per day. I am going to start purging closets, drawers, cupboards, and cabinets. I will donate to charity the stuff I don’t need to move with me and pack up the stuff that I do. I am going to think positively and believe that the possibilities of a good outcome are endless. I am going to keep my mind open to solutions that I cannot currently fathom. This won’t be easy for me as I prefer structure, routine, and linear processes. But, in my experience, everything about divorce throws you out of your comfort zone and causes you to develop new skills, learn new things, and accept new challenges.
I am not grateful for my divorce. I loved my husband and would have liked the opportunity to keep our family together. That didn’t happen for me, and I have had to accept that reality. I am, however, grateful for the resilience I have shown and the strength I am developing.
Selling my home and finding a new place to live won’t be last of the obstacles I face as a result of divorce – far from it, I imagine. But, it will be one that I learn and grow from.
In the lovely words of Stephanie Bennett-Henry, life is tough, my darling, but so are you.
Stay strong, friends.