“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
Sculptor, Painter, and Architect
Caroline’s Story: A World Out of Focus
“As I look back to my early days after being divorced, I realize my biggest struggle was putting change into perspective. All I could focus on was what I was losing – a certain lifestyle, my routines, what I thought was the security of being married.
Four years later, I have a better handle on myself and my life, and now recognize all that I didn’t lose – my children, my family, my health, and my true friends. I only wish I could have seen the possibilities that were there for me to grow into, like the rekindling of my career as a food editor, the fun of traveling to fabulous places both with my children and for my work.
I appreciate that change is hard, but I understand now that I wasn’t well equipped to tackle it all on my own.”
Rebecca’s Story: Running from Reality
“When my husband died after a brief illness, I thought the best way to cope was to plow ahead into my future, to let go of everything I had in the past and redefine myself. I have never admired women who wallow in self pity, so I bought a ranch in Montana, sold the apartment in New York, and decided to spend holidays in exotic places. Needless to say, this approach created a divide between my daughter, my son and me. It was two years later that I realized how narrowly focused I had been, and that escaping solved nothing.
But I couldn’t see at the time – by rushing forward in this way – that I wasn’t allowing myself to deal with losing Robert, and I was also creating more pain for my two children. I dismantled both the good and the bad of my life. I didn’t know how to go about dealing with this huge change, how to leave Robert behind without leaving my family, my life and my memories behind as well.
Three years after Robert’s death, I am happy to say I have slowed down, rewoven my children into my life, and learned, however slowly, some valuable lessons about managing the impacts of change.”
Adena’s Story: Addressing the Unknown
“The most challenging time for me after my divorce is what I now refer to as my ‘limbo phase’. I have an extraordinarily close, and big, family who were very supportive and lessened the initial shock. During the time my family was with me, I was able to embrace what I had lost. The bad part about all that family support was that after awhile, they all went back to their own lives and there I was, all alone.
I had no clue what to do then, or how to take control of my aloneness. Through my friends, I eventually found a support network of women who also had been through a divorce, and that was helpful. What I finally grasped was that I needed to find a new sense of purpose in my life – which sounds so simple now - but surely took me a long time to discover.
I went back to school to get a Masters in Social Welfare, and today I work with battered women seeking to find better lives. In a strange way, my divorce helped me to find a path to a more meaningful life.”
Jackie’s Story: A Long Road to Clarity
“A year after my divorce, I suddenly felt totally lost. I had such great legal and financial advisors during the early days, and they helped me feel very empowered and on top of the practical things I had to deal with.
But once the dust settled, I realized that I had no internal compass. I had three young children who were coping better than I was with all the change, in part because we had a great nanny who provided continuity for them. For the first time in my life, I felt as though I had no foundation, and I didn’t have a clue what to do about it.
I spent several unguided years trying to find my direction, and I made a number of poor choices along the way, not the least of which was getting re-married too quickly during a whirlwind relationship – a marriage that also resulted in divorce. It took me a long time to develop a solid vision for my future, and I can happily say that I am there now, in a good relationship, with a clear sense of purpose in my community and my family.”
Vanessa’s Story: Embracing the Future
“Four years after my divorce, I had a light bulb go off. Looking back now, I realize that the process of getting to that ‘aha’ moment was long and often arduous. But I do commend myself – nonetheless – for getting to where I am today, however convoluted the journey!
My ‘aha’ moment came when a lot of threads just came together. First, my self confidence had grown again. Second, I felt ready to take charge of my life in a new way. Third, during the years I had served on many benefit and gala committees, I always received feedback that my ideas for styling events were really good. So, I took the plunge and started a consulting business to create the designs for high-end special events – both for charities and for corporations. And I love my work and the many new friends I have made. I take great joy from rising like a phoenix from the ashes of my divorce and am no longer anxious about the journey ahead.”