Life is not over, it’s just time to yell, “Do-over!”
It’s a Saturday night and you’re all alone. No place to go, no friends to call. I know how it feels; I’ve been there.
You watch your ex pick up your daughter with his new spouse and again you’re alone; I know I’ve been there. You dread going to the mailbox because more people want money. I know how it feels; I’ve been there.
Getting divorced in your 20’s is difficult. I married at 19 and divorced at 27. Was it the end of life as I knew it? At first, I thought so. Being 27 with a 4-year old daughter was not easy, but the change did create positive opportunities and eventually, a fulfilled life.
It didn’t happen overnight. However, there are 6 ways that helped me move from a fixed mindset of heartbreak and despair to a growing mindset of possibilities:
1. Remember that it’s your story.
Life is about lessons. Successful people take those opportunities and learn from them. Those who don’t live in the world of should have’s, could have’s, and would have’s and swim in the pool of self-pity and guilt.
If you made a mistake, look in the mirror and say, “I made a mistake.” If your spouse broke your heart, look in the mirror and say, “My heart is broken.”
2. Meet new people.
Let’s face it. When you’re in your 20’s, it is easier to meet people than when you’re in your 40’s or 50’s. If you’re worried because you have a child or children, don’t worry. There are plenty of people who love children and will also love your children.
I was fortunate to meet such a man. His eyes sparkled when he met my daughter the first time. I will never forget it. She loved the attention and to this day (22 years later). She will call him before she will call me, regardless of the topic.
3. Shop from a different catalog.
As a child, I loved the holiday catalog. It was full of wonderful things. When I divorced, some of the best advice I received was to shop from a different catalog.
Reflect on what did not work and look for someone different. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just take the time to look deep inside yourself and determine what it is you really want.
When I did this, I knew that I really wanted someone like my dad. I remember writing down all the attributes that I loved and admired about him and before I knew it, I had my own personal dating catalog. Much like the holiday catalog, I kept the list in front of me and referred to it often.
4. Patience is your best friend.
When in your 20’s, people will either leave you alone or introduce you to everyone they know. For me, it was the latter. It seemed like everyone wanted me to meet their nephew, son, or brother.
It was exhausting. I could go on forever about all the bad dates, but I was patient. I remember telling my mother that I was done with the whole dating process and was going to focus on finishing my degree and raising my daughter. About a month later, my soul mate was at the door.
When you’re patient, good things happen.
5. Make good financial choices.
It’s all about choices. When you’re in your 20’s, the opportunity to bounce back from financial mistakes is easier. However, you have to make the right choices.
My finances were a mess. When I was depressed, I would buy shoes (using a credit card, of course). I had great shoes but was in debt. I had to stop buying shoes and dig my way out. I soon figured out, I didn’t need that many shoes and cash was king. Having money in the bank was far more important than shoes in the closet.
When you’re in your 20’s, you have the ability and energy to change jobs and work more than one job to improve your financial situation. Your finances can improve if you want it bad enough.
A financial tip: spend time with positive people who are good with money. Also, create a budget and stick to it; your situation will change.
6. Welcome change.
When life throws you a curve, sometimes you need a change. Maybe you need to move to a different part of town or to a new town, whatever it takes to give you the opportunity to meet new people and open your mind and heart to new possibilities.
A phenomenon of divorce is that your friendships change. People are uncomfortable “taking sides” and it’s difficult to stay in those relationships. I had a daughter and a home so moving was out of the question, but I did change other aspects of my social activities which allowed both of us to meet new people.
If you’re in your 20’s and divorced, you’re in transition. It’s not the end, but the beginning. It’s a time to reflect, grow, and change. It’s a time to look at what you really want and to go get it.
As children, we were comfortable with transition and change. We called them do-overs. We made mistakes and fixed them. Think of it this way: life is a simply a series of do-overs. You may be experiencing hard times, but your life is not over it’s just time to yell, “Do-over!”
Originally published on YourTango