How to find joy and gratitude following your divorce after 50

When recovering from divorce after 50, every day can feel like a struggle. Learning how to reinvent ourselves, establish our independence and figure out what we want during the next chapter of our life is a bit overwhelming. Learning to find joy in your life, especially if you are ending a decades-long marriage, is an incredible gift you can give your self. So what do we have to be joyful or grateful about? The feeling that although you are no longer married, you are no longer in a toxic or unhealthy relationship. Knowing that everything will be exactly where you left it. The fact that you can choose exactly what to eat, what to wear, where to go on holiday, who to send time with opens up a whole new set of experiences for you.

What is worth celebrating? Everything we do, especially the little successes we achieve after divorce. Each day you learn a little more about the new you. You take back control, you learn about managing money, you might be re-entering the workforce. Every day you get stronger and now you can put yourself first and realise you are worthy of being confident and empowered.

Finding joy in your life is the most important step to learning how to heal and move on. It is a critical element in your road to recovery. Every time you feel angry or resentful or grief-stricken get a pen and paper and write down 5 things you are grateful for. They don’t have to be big things or even important things, the simple things in life remind us we are alive and we will be okay. Things like the smell of new cut grass, the smile from a baby, sharing a cup of tea with a friend.

Don’t just do this once. Make it a daily habit. I journal every morning and every night just before I go to bed. After about 3 weeks it becomes a habit and you miss it if something prevent you from doing it. Its great to look back on and see just how far you’ve come. You might see patterns appearing. Celebrate these things as they are bringing you more joy.

How do you think of yourself? You are not just a divorcee. For years you defined yourself as a wife, caregiver, homemaker etc. We are more than the sum of our parts and definitely more than the handful of labels we give ourselves. When we tie ourselves to labels we forget about who we really are. Now, however, you have been given the incredible opportunity to redefine and reinvent ourselves.

Embrace all the things you are besides just a person who is no longer married. How do you see yourself over and above your marital status? Write down three things that make you who you are e.g. I make the best children’s birthday cakes according to my grandchildren. I am the most caring tutor in the department according to my students. I am the best listener without judgement according to my friends.

Being divorced means now, you call the shots. You get the freedom to do what you want, when you want, if you want and with whom you want. Life doesn’t stop just because you are no longer married. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Start planning for your new adventure. What do you want for yourself? What steps will you take to get it? Who can help you along the way?

Sometimes it can be difficult knowing the steps you need to take to continue the reinvention of the new you. Living under different circumstances, especially if you are retired and living on a fixed income, but this doesn’t have to stop you completely. As long as you live within your means you can still thrive. The key is to recognise you deserve to be happy and that with some planning you can achieve whatever you set out to do.

Don’t view your divorce as a failure. See it as your second chance. Don’t view the end of your marriage as a tragedy, see it as the gift of freedom to choose your own destiny, to define your life on your own terms, to write the next chapter as your own vision, not someone else’s vision. You can’t change the past but you can view your divorce as a learning experience. The opportunity to define life on your own terms and to move forward to an amazing future.

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