Updated: Dec 12, 2022
By Brenda Grays,
I Start Wondering Columnist
As I sit and reflect on my life, I must say that the journey has been full of adventure, love, and good things--but also heartbreak. I recently went through a divorce, which broke my heart.
Sometimes when there is a major change in life, there are feelings of failure and fear--but I am learning that I didn’t fail. Failure was there to point me in the right direction. The best things in life are on the other side, and God has given me a second chance.
Everything that has happened to me was preparing me to handle that moment of opportunity to make me better. Yes, it is still painful, but I am embracing growth in myself and finding ways to stretch and grow. This was a chapter of life and now that chapter is no longer there. I am taking stock of who I currently am and realizing that I am more alive at 65! Taking care of myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually has become even more important moving forward.
We as women all go through so much--divorces, health issues, taking care of family members, job changes, etc.--but at the end of the day, we still stand strong. I’ve had close friends and loved ones who have experienced divorce or loss of loved ones. We aren’t the first, and surely will not be the last.
It’s called life so why are we choosing to live our lives in the “waiting” room? What are you going to do while you are in the “waiting room”? We all may—and probably will-- stumble and fall, but we need to commit to getting up We need to remember that we have support systems and we hold each other up.
I don’t want to live my life in the waiting room, so I turn to these nuggets of encouragement that help me be my best self:
Don’t sweat the small stuff because that’s what almost everything we worry about is--“small stuff.” We all have the power in us to pull ourselves up by our own efforts so we can keep moving.
I find peace when I’m in a stress-free state of security and calmness in perfect harmony and freedom. Lately, I’ve found this while sitting on the back porch of my new home enjoying a cup of coffee while feeling grateful to the Universe for granting so many of my heart’s wishes.
As I step forward into this new chapter, I know that “my peace” is what’s important. We always have a choice in how we respond so I encourage you to choose wisely, following Dr. Stephen Covey’s advice: “Don’t let yesterday hold tomorrow hostage.”
Every day is an opportunity because we get to wake up so we should all wake up grateful. Since my divorce, I’ve been incredibly grateful to come home to a beautiful home, one that I never imagined having before but that came into my life unexpectedly as my marriage fell apart.
Inspirational speaker Esther Hicks writes that we should be “tuned in, tapped in, and turned on” to help us find gratitude. I’d suggest that you apply this by doing the following:
Tuned in: Find harmony with the world around you.
Tapped in: Count to 10 while focused on your breathing. Inhale and exhale deeply so that you tap into your nervous system and help to reduce stress.
Turned on: Embrace positive thinking, which determines how you see and experience your life. Truly, step and contemplate-- Is your glass half-empty or half-full?
Stay in Faith
I believe we need to remain in faith to be able to move forward in starting a new chapter at midlife and beyond. Although it’s easy to do so, don’t dwell on disappointment. Always saying, “Why did this have to happen to me?” is self-defeating.
Instead, keep hoping, expecting, and believing. Reframe how you’re seeing life so you are a “victor” instead of a “victim” You can’t control what happens to you in life, but you can control whether you receive it as a victor or victim.
Also, realize that no one is better than you. Yes, they may have a better skill set, sing better than you, dance better—but you bring your own gifts as well. Remain in faith, realize you are great, and embrace and share your own gifts.
Happiness = An Inside Job
Author Mandy Hale said, “Don’t assign anyone else that much power over your LIFE!” I’ve learned that even while I face an unexcepted new chapter in life, it’s my job to take power over my own life.
If you, too, are facing a life change, I’d encourage you to stop looking at how far you have to go. Instead, celebrate the good! Create new healthy habits that help you be your best self!
Focus on Discovering the True You
As I start this new chapter, I realize more and more that things don’t make me happy. Instead, it’s finding that sense of peace and gratitude while also stepping into my own gifts that bring happiness. Ultimately, my new chapter gives me the opportunity to build the life I want—and I realize that it’s an inside job. My family, friends, and former spouse (who remains a friend) can’t do this for me.
It’s my journey—and one that I am thankful to continue to make. As the very wise Maya Angelou reminds us, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, CHANGE your ATTITUDE.”