I was not quite 50 when I got divorced,but I felt like I was about a hundred and ten. I figured that my life was over – what man in his right mind would want my aging body? After 30 years as a stay at home mom who would want to hire me?
Worst of all, who in the hell was going to unclog the toilets?
Your Perception of Yourself Is Wrong
You need to know that the way you feel about yourself, right now, right this moment is probably not truth – unless you are feeling positive, beautiful, and confident, in which case it is totally true. Whether you wanted the divorce or not, whether there was infidelity or not, divorce has a way of taking a cane to the knees of your self-esteem. If you are in midlife it’s even worse.
I like the company of men, I always have. In fact, most of my friends when I was growing up were male. I enjoy the way they think but most of all I enjoy the mushy, physical stuff, I’ll be honest. Living in a near celibate marriage for so long didn’t seem to squelch my need for hugs, kisses, and romance although I thought those things should have died from neglect.
I’d love to say my first thought was grief at the dissolution of my marriage but honestly it was, I will probably never have sex again. I am old. I am ugly. No one will ever want me.
The morning after I kicked the ex out I called a guy I had been friends with since I was 13. He is a comfort to me because he remembers when I looked good, you know?
Anyway, we went for coffee and talked and I mentioned that I might as well get a ratty looking bathrobe and start collecting cats. He laughed at me and said, Men will be lined up at your door once it gets out that you are single.
50 Is Beautiful… and so Is 60…70…Whatever
And, you know what? For the first time in years I noticed men noticing me. I was on the receiving end of stupid pick-up lines, I was invited for coffee, and I did the most uncharacteristic thing of my life. I joined a singles chat board. I wasn’t really looking for relationship so much as I was looking for someone to talk to.
Sigh. OK, and I was also looking for someone to reaffirm to me that I was female. Someone to flirt with, you know? I was so out of practice. Well, within two weeks of kicking the ex out I was juggling coffee dates and late evening chats.
It. Felt. So. Good.
I realized that I wasn’t the only person in the world who was no longer 18. I also realized that for some odd reason men still found me attractive.
When I began really thinking about it I realized that I have a lot to offer the world as a 50 year old woman that I did not have when I was 18. I have had decades filled with experiences, both good and bad. I have become deeper, more thoughtful, and more compassionate. In many ways I have become more intensely me as the years have gone by. I am a better listener, better writer, and better person. And, without the daily stress of living with a narcissist I look better than I have in years.
You’ve been in a Rut
For years you’ve probably been doing the same thing, fixing your hair the same way, and wearing the same style of clothes. Raise your hand if you are still wearing the same makeup look that you did in the 1970’s. Really, I am serious. A couple of years ago I found some Kissing Potion lip gloss and I was much more excited than any living human being should be.
I am making changes, now. I am going to own my 50s!
I still wear jeans and tank tops pretty much every day and I have decided that it’s time to wear clothes that help me look more pulled together. Jeans and tanks worked when I was 20 but at 50 I need to let them go (note: as I write this I am wearing jeans and a tank). I have been working on my “look” on Polyvore and Pinterest.
I am teaching myself to think before I say yes or no. Is it something I really want to do? If so then I am trying to give myself permission. I have said no to me way too much over the years. It’s time to say yes to myself.
I am going to get a language program and become proficient in French again. I was fluent in my teens and just lost it over the years. Once I have regained proficiency then I am going to learn another language, maybe Italian.
I have cut back on client work and am doing more for myself. I realized that I am at the point in my career where I don’t have to write articles I am not passionate about or take less than I am worth. It’s not that I am rolling in cash but that I have learned that my time is valuable and I need to be careful of what I choose to do with it.
What about You?
Just because you are divorcing at 50 does not mean your life is over. In fact, if you are divorcing a narcissist you’ll find that your life is actually just beginning. The freedom of being able to be totally yourself is overwhelming. Sometimes I don’t know where to start.
You have so much to do, to add to the world, and to experience. You can help others who are going through the things you did. You can go back to school. You can even completely reinvent yourself if you want to – but you don’t have to.
Go back to school, start weight training, run a marathon, or knit baby blankets for preemie babies – it doesn’t matter. If you’ve always wanted to walk on the beach at the Galapagos Islands at sunrise make it happen! Do everything! Try everything until you figure out what you like. Get rid of the things you don’t like.
Be yourself more extremely than you have ever been and don’t make excuses to anyone. Want to talk to someone who’s been there? Join First Wives World today to spend time with others who understand.
Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, User: Emilian Robert Vico