The thing about turning 30 is you’re either really excited, or you’re really dreading it.
I should have been excited. My whole life, I had this sort of deep, soul-level knowing that life gets better after the age of 30. However, a few years ago (we won’t say how many), when it was my turn to finally head into my third decade, life was not “getting better.” It was completely and utterly falling apart. I celebrated that birthday, knowing I was getting divorced.
Let’s back up.
I met my now ex-husband in a bar. He was home visiting; I was working. It was one of three jobs I worked while juggling a full semester in my senior year of college. I had already been accepted to graduate school in Australia and was planning on that being my next adventure. Clearly, a man was not part of the plan. But that’s how life goes sometimes.
When I met him, he was a breath of fresh-air—fun, carefree, exciting. He was basically my complete opposite. I am a type-A, rule-following, over-achieving, people-pleaser. Being around someone like my ex felt freeing, almost intoxicating. I had just celebrated my 23rd birthday. He was fun, and I loved the feeling of cutting loose. Three months after meeting, we had moved in together, and a year later, we were married. So much for that Australia plan.
Being married was, for me, not the greatest experience; however, getting divorced has been. While divorce is often described as a “failed marriage or relationship,” a “sad” event, or a “terrible” thing, to me, divorce has been my perfect beginning.
By the time I had moved out of our shared home and the dissolution (a fancy name for divorce) paperwork was filed, I was no less than exhausted.
Having to navigate the complexities of going through the process of divorce leads to a whole new level of exhaustion. Divorce is heavy. It’s a hard decision. It’s a hard thing to process and a harder thing to share. When I did disclose that I was getting divorced, I got a variety of responses from people. Everything from the typical “I’m so sorry” to “that’s so sad” to questions about how I was going to be able to take care of myself (despite the fact that I was the breadwinner in that relationship).
I not only had to navigate the ending of my marriage, I had to navigate everyone’s opinions and responses and hang-ups about divorce while also figuring out who the heck I was as an adult without being married. As a woman, I not only got divorced, but I lost my entire identity. I changed my name back to my maiden name and had to reintroduce myself professionally and personally.
But I also got to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be moving forward. Divorce created a space for me to go deeper. Deeper into knowing and deeper into connecting with source, myself, and others. Deeper into life. It gave me an opportunity to become empowered and to create confidence in myself and my ability to navigate this thing called life. It allowed me a perfect beginning.
I strongly believe that things happen for a reason and that the universe lovingly sends us what we need to learn and what we instinctually desire to learn. I went through all the phases and stages of the divorce process—grief, denial, anger (especially at myself), and, finally, empathy for myself and my ex.
The lessons took me a while, but from this place, I can see how necessary and beyond-valuable the experiences of marriage and, more so, a divorce have been for me. It’s not only provided a space for me to connect with me; it’s also allowed and created an opportunity for me to connect more deeply. Divorce has created space to connect with a whole community of people who have either gone through or are going through the process of divorce.
If you are somewhere on the continuum of a relationship ending or are in the middle of the divorce process, I want you to know I see you. I am energetically holding space for you. The process of divorce is hard. It’s messy. And there is a pot of gold on the other side despite it all.
Let me leave you with this, which was by far the greatest thing anyone ever said to me when I shared I was getting divorced:
“I’m sorry, and congratulations! The end of things means the beginning of something new.”