Is your glass half empty or half full? If you’re not a fan of clichés, you should probably stop reading. Although, I’d suspect it’s more to do with your attitude so once again I ask, is your glass half empty or half full?
Starting over can be hard, but it really doesn’t have to be. You may not think it when you’re in the midst of it, but there are as many upsides to change as there are downsides — whatever that change is. It just depends on your point of view.
When major life changes occur in one area of your life, it can cause a ripple effect through every other corner of your existence, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and defeated.
I am currently going through one such change having recently moved away from my husband after 16 years together. I have also temporarily moved country, started a new job, met a bunch of new and interesting people, and lots lots more. My life has changed so dramatically in the space of only a few months, and although it has not been particularly easy, it has been an exciting adventure.
As a coach focused on helping gay men through the process of change, I am well versed in coping with difficult times. Although the past 6 months have been some of the most challenging of my life, I am feeling more excited and freer than I have in years.
Not for separating from my husband who is still the most important person in my life, but because I get to start over and create a whole new existence.
I have long believed that things happen for a reason. Not in a pre-determined or destiny kind of way where you have no control over the outcome. More that past struggles teach you (if you let them) how to deal with future difficulties and help to guide you in the right direction when you may feel lost.
Ten years ago, I didn’t understand at the time why I had to go through a long period of anxiety and depression. I now see how it prepared me to deal with the situation I am currently in.
Now, although I may have “lost” a husband, I have gained an incredibly close friend. One with whom I have a deep connection and who knows me better than anyone — and vice versa. In essence, the only thing we have really lost are the things that no longer worked for us in our romantic relationship.
As the saying goes (ready for another cliché?), when one door closes another one opens. And that is exactly how I see it. Yes, I have been sad and scared and yes, I have cried. Of course I have! I don’t know of another way to process such big life changes. But I choose to look forward rather than stay stuck in the past. I choose to see opportunities rather than limitations. And I choose to get excited about the unlimited potential the future holds.
I understand that we all handle these big changes differently and some events are just devastatingly huge. And that’s exactly why I want to point out the positive side of major life changes such as going through a break-up, a divorce, or whatever else it may be for you.
A blank canvas
Do you ever find yourself, staring into thin air daydreaming about all the things that could have been? Regretting not taking that trip, or that job, because it didn’t quite fit in perfectly with the life you had at the time?
Well this is your chance. You can choose to stay stuck in the past, or you can choose to get present and paint a whole new world for yourself. One you might have dreamt of for some time, and one that is yours alone.
You get to create anything you want, exactly the way that you want it. There is no compromising.
Where do you want to live? What job do you really want? Who do you want to spend the most time with? What trips do you want to take? You get to decide for yourself.
Remember, it is ok to want things for yourself. It is ok to want to do things your way. You have the freedom to do just that.
Through our shared passion for travel, my husband and I have experienced the world together in so many wonderful ways and we’ve had an incredible life together.
16 years we’ve spent travelling the world creating invaluable memories and experiences together.
Now we both get to create new experiences in new and exciting ways and with other people. And the best thing is we still get to meet up in cities and countries all over the world when our paths cross in those places.
One of my fondest memories of our travels, was on a trip to Marrakesh a few years ago. We were discussing future business ideas over lunch and a glass of wine. What was most exciting for both of us was the idea of running our own companies, travelling the world, and meeting up in various places when it would fit in with our schedules. We still get to do that and we get to do it exactly how we want to.
Whether it’s travel for you or something else, this is your opportunity to create the experiences in life that you want.
New beginnings, new experiences, new connections.
I love meeting new people, as does my husband. In the past year, we have both met lots of new and interesting people, some of which have become quite significant connections and close personal friends.
Meeting new people can help us to develop and grow as humans. It brings opportunities and can inspire us to create the things we want in our lives.
Meeting new people is healthy and whether you’re in a relationship or not, it shouldn’t stop you making new connections, professional or personal. A mistake I’ve made in the past and one that I will not repeat.
You get to love all over again…
…And in many different ways.
Despite what is happening, I am experiencing a whole new appreciation for my husband. I love him and always will, but I love him in a completely new way and it has been a welcome surprise.
In addition, as most anyone in a long-term relationship will understand, after 16 years together, the honeymoon period of the relationship is long gone. The release of dopamine and other feel good hormones that happens when you fall in love, has been reduced significantly. That’s not to say that the love itself is gone — it definitely isn’t — it’s just different and different is ok.
What’s exciting though, is that we both now have the opportunity to experience that once again. And who doesn’t love that fresh feeling of falling in love?
There are many benefits to “starting over”, these are just some that I have enjoyed over the past few months.
I could have gone down the wrong path and decided to wallow in the “pain” of this big change. But as with everything in life, what you focus on is a choice. And I choose to focus on the positives.
As can you, whatever it is you’re going through.
I don’t claim that it’s easy and we all have our moments, which we shouldn’t fight. But then we pick ourselves up and start our journey to a new and improved life.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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