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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Everything Has Changed But the Birthdate

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English: Shoes in a shop
English: Shoes in a shop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had to buy a new pair of shoes the other day. I visited a store where I have a shopper’s card that gives me coupons for each purchase made. The problem? I have no idea where the card has migrated to. At the checkout, the cashier asked if I was member. I replied, “Yes, but I have no idea where my card is.”

“No problem. We’ll just look you up in the system.”

Well, she didn’t know it yet, but that was certainly a problem. I knew that I had accessed the account and updated some information during the past three years, but I no idea what current combination lived in their system.

“Phone number?”

I gave her my number. No matches.


Again, I replied. Again, no success.


The machine responded, “No matches.”


At this request, My mind blurred. I’ve had five addresses in three years. I gave up.

Then, a flash. I realized that I hadn’t purchased shoes there since I received a new phone and accompanying number. I gave her my old phone number – the one I sought out after my husband left to provide a layer over my old life.

Success. It pulled up my married name, the address of my apartment that I got one year out from sudden singledom, and a temporary email that I used for a brief period.

Everything had changed but the birth date.

She updated the account with my current information. Which, other than the address, should remain fairly constant for the forseeable future.

It was a moment of reflection for me. I no longer identify with the woman that had those other data points. I am no longer the innocently married woman that carried his name. I no longer have that phone number that was sought out in the initial fear and desperation of those early days. I no longer live alone; I have now found a new and happy relationship. The email addresses I have now reflect the success of my new life with the writing and the coaching. And, as for the birth date, I will keep that one happily, for each year has brought more wisdom and gratitude than the one before.

Oh, and the shoes are cute too!


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6 thoughts on “Everything Has Changed But the Birthdate

    1. Empowering and very strange. I set up a Facebook profile under my old name just to access a page one time. Now, Facebook recommends that I befriend her. It’s kinda funny:) They really are two different people!

      1. Hi, I thought of you today when i read that the more devastating the death of a relationship was, the better. This is because the person who has been really wiped out makes a lot of changes and moves on to a better life. I remembered your first comment to me was regarding your ‘tsunami’ divorce; and yet you were in a positive place. I thought ‘Wow!. There is some light here!’
        Thanks for shining it this way. 🙂

        1. That makes sense. I think a total change can be easier than a partial one, assuming that one survives the initial shock, that is. The more people I’ve talked to who have been through a slow demise, the more gratitude I have for my tsunami. Thank you for sharing what you read!

  1. I had the same thing happen just this week buying a light fixture for my new (2 year old) home. They pulled up my cell phone and asked me if I was “so-and-so” (my married name.) I just wanted to look at the salesman and say, “no, I have no idea who that is!” You’re a great writer.

    1. It’s funny for me- I still sometimes straddle the world of both names. I’m a teacher and all of my classroom stuff has my old name. My former students call me by my old name. And so does Geico ( of course, they also think my ex lives with me and I’ve moved five times since then!). Thanks for the follow and I promise to never call you by your former name:)

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