I’m a bit of a cycling fanatic and I recently watched 43 year old Kristen Armstrong win the gold for Time trial at the Olympics. As I watched I shook my head in amazement. The US team website gives this description of her;
“Co-owner of K-Edge Cycling Solutions, a component manufacturer that received its start designing and manufacturing chain catchers for her Olympic bikes…Active with the YMCA, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and community-building activities…Enjoys being a mom, mountain biking, cooking and Nordic skiing…Announced her return to professional cycling in 2015.”
I know you’re probably going to read this and roll your eyes or at the very least shake your head in disbelief, but how different is Kristin Armstrong from you and I?
Most women I know are juggling work, a family and a variety of commitments pertaining to both, never mind trying to fit in their own social life. Add to that the divorcee’s emotional turmoil and the overwhelming thought, not to mention associated action, of dating someone new. It’s no wonder most women internally decide to just let their dreams and ambitions go.
I see many women in counselling and there are women who just won’t give up. They may show up feeling like they can barely make it through another day yet sure enough, they’re back next week to uncover more and to heal the wounds.
Because there is life after divorce.
As women we have a tendency to give our all in relationships and it’s a beautiful quality; so long as it’s tempered with some self focus too. When a relationship ends, it’s often our lost sense of identity that renders us into the realms of existential crisis. And it is but the truth is,
It’s an opportunity
Because when all is lost, what better time to rebuild?
What better time to think about the dreams we once had or the ideas, mostly about ourselves, we’d like to change. What better time to dream new dreams?
I’m not writing this article from some theoretical counselling perspective of divorce or painful break ups. I’m writing this from a place of knowing. I know the feeling of your heart being shattered; so much so that you think it may never heal again. I know what it’s like to cry on the way to work and wonder how you’re going to get through the day. I even know the numbness that follows that so that each day passes in a haze. I know.
I also know however that with the help of a good therapist, a best friend who indulges you but also calls a time out on your evenings spent with ice cream and mostly the help of your own wise self, there is life after divorce. There’s life!
You’re not to old, thank you Kristin Armstrong for showing me that. You’re not to broken. You’re not too busy – yes even though it is a great excuse. You’re not too anything. You may be scared and that’s okay and totally natural but sometimes we have to just put on our big girl panties, feel the fear, and do it anyway!
If you feel like you’ve lost everything, you’ve got nothing to lose anyway right?
So I leave you with this quote from a prime example of a women who shaped her life through her divorce, Elizabeth Gilbert, and I implore you to consider WHAT NEXT?
“I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest” — a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself… then truth will not be withheld from you.” Or so I’ve come to believe.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love