You met in high school, fell in love, got married, had 2.5 children, and thought life would go on forever. But it didn’t. No matter how it happened, you’ve found yourself suddenly single again. Your new companions are solitude and loss. How do you bounce back? How do you move beyond the past and into the future?
No one is going to tell you it is easy and there is no manual to help you negotiate the rough road ahead. However, there are a few travel tips to get you on your way.
1) Get outside.
Yes, that’s right. Leave the sanctity (and depression) of the four walls surrounding you, and get out. Go to the mall, take yourself out for lunch, do anything, but don’t stay at home. You might think your home is comforting, but in reality, it’s isolating and only compounds your loneliness.
2) Rediscover your passion.
Think back to your inner teen. What was it that got you excited to be alive? What were your goals, dreams, or aspirations? No matter how old you are, it’s never to late to tackle them, on some level. Take art classes, flying lessons, clown school, or whatever floats your boat. Now, you have time to spend selfishly on your personal interests without interruption. Take advantage of it.
3) Don’t shop for a replacement.
Often, we want to fill the void as fast as possible. We look at everyone as though they are potential mates. Stop. Bad relationships are born of bad decisions. We gloss over imperfections and fail to see trouble when it’s staring right at us, because we’re desperate for companionship. Get a cat (not 30) to keep you company, and work on being your own best friend first. When you no longer need anyone, that’s when you’re ready to find that special person.
4) Find your own kind.
From jogging to creative writing, there are special interest groups everywhere, for everything. Join one (or more) and connect with people who share your hobbies. Not only will it provide a great stimulus for that project you’ve had on the back burner, but it will also give you an opportunity for that much-needed social outlet.
Countless service groups and organizations could use your help. The payback won’t be in dollars, but it’ll be priceless. Assisting others, on any level, will give you a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, and make you feel viable again. Also, just like the interest groups, volunteering will help you connect with other people.
While it may be tempting to sit at home and wallow, it’s unproductive and doesn’t solve anything. Seclusion will not help you in your recovery process. In fact, it just makes a bad situation worse. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and rejoin the land of the living.