Divorce was so much easier to adjust to when most of my girlfriends were single/divorced as well. They walked me through the most trying times, sitting at my kitchen counter listening to my tales and trials of the drama that naturally comes with such life decisions. While they are still my dear friends, a couple of them have now gotten remarried or are about to which is a bitter sweet pill to swallow. Not wanting to be the third or fifth wheel in their evenings out, I have purposefully politely declined the invitations.
On top of this, my children, all young adults, have moved out of state to begin their news lives as college students and/or recent graduates embarking on their own adventures. With no family in town the question that is looming over my head is, What will I do for traditional holidays? The first year after divorce is always a test of how flexible we are to change. Whose house will the kids go to and who will fill in for the husband no longer there to cut the meat? But the idea that the kids will also find their own version of “new normal” away from my house has a biting reality that leaves me feeling, quite frankly, empty.
- What does a healthy social life look like for a single woman who doesn’t necessarily want to delve right back into a heavy relationship (not that they are lined up at the door or anything)? I’m not sure I’ve quite figured it all out but there are some rules that I believe will make the transition a little easier. First, get comfortable going out to a movie by yourself or being proactive in asking friends to join you. Don’t sit at home watching Netflix every night just because it’s the path of least resistance.
- Find ways to be a part of a group of people doing similar activities. This is why there are singles networks around everything from eating to praying to rock climbing. I’ve spent the last 20 years working out to tapes and equipment that is sitting comfortably in my house but I think it’s time to belong to the gym where I can feel like I’m being social even if I don’t speak to a sole while I’m sweating. Just being seen is 90% of the way towards actually interacting.
- Find a phenomenal alternative to spending the holidays in the traditional sense. Make the one holiday a year with the entire family around totally unforgettable. Wallow in their presence and the love they bring to your life. Then pick at least one other and treat yourself to a ski trip, a spa weekend, or a cruise. These will be the adventures that you may never have had, had you stayed married. Make them something you can brag about to all your friends and family over Facebook or Twitter.
My girlfriends may be getting married and my kids are moving away but these are healthy changes for all of us. Girlfriend time is still every Sunday at noon over bloody mary’s and my kids are just a text away. I’ll go to a movie this afternoon and set myself up on a schedule to go to the gym every morning at 5 AM. This is the state of my new world of social solitude and it’s not as lonely as one might think. In fact, it’s feeling quite peaceful.