Middle Age and Divorcing
Being middle aged and divorcing is not an insurmountable hurdle. I will say divorcing over the age of 40 felt odd. The age of 40 is a milestone and most celebrate in a big way to mark the occasion. Shortly, after turning 40 I was separated and moved. If I had a crystal ball, I envisioned turning 40 to be a pivotal time in terms of career, finances, parenting, etc. I spent a few wonderful days in Miami to celebrate my 40th. Who spends a milestone birthday without their spouse? This was a clear sign of the downward spiral of a crumbling marriage. Honestly, this was really only masking the inevitable of returning home to a broken marriage.
The most excruciating part of the process was planning our next steps. My planning was about making all decisions in the best interest of three vs. one. One thing I learned is that not all decisions are warmly received by children. Children learn very quickly how to adapt to change. While change is easy for some adults how to plan out my next year let alone years was easier said than done. Unfortunately, we cannot predict the behavior of other people and as much as we strive to make changes stress-free there are no guarantees.
I really think divorce is hard at any age, however, entering your forties while divorcing feels like an oxymoron. The forties should be a time of feeling empowered, being unapologetically self-confident and owning your voice.
What I have witnessed in real life is mind boggling. I am really irked with the assumption that being divorced means you’re lonely, miserable and desperate. For some reason, I find that having the status of single insinuates that you’re looking. I remember the question posed “so you want to start over at 40?”. Now thinking back the question was asked not out of concern but selfishness. I have learned that some adults are utterly afraid of change and will live days, months and years filled with unhappiness. Fear is a deterrent for progression. I had to really listen to myself on how I wanted the next chapters to unfold. As a friend told me “we” (women) change and “they” (men) do not. The fear of complacency and living the next chapters unhappy was more than enough to leave.
It was 3 and a half years after leaving my home that I had the momentum to move forward with mapping out our lives. Change inevitably takes time and I wish I could say there are no challenges and everything is easy but that would be a lie. I knew what I wanted for myself was far greater than what anyone else could envision for me. The desire to live in peace should never be compromised. We owe it to ourselves to live a life that is filled with peace. If I had to do it all over again there is not one thing I would change. Well, there is one thing and that is deciding to leave sooner than later and minimizing the instability for the kids.
Experience is truly the best teacher. I know now that I have to set standards for all elements of my life. There is no room for mediocrity or accepting what others think is right for me. My next chapters have to be on my terms!