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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Time to Bloom

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You would think I would know better by now.

But apparently I don’t.

Okay, so that’s not quite true.

I DO know better. I just choose to ignore what I know I should do so that I can instead do what I want to do.

Sometimes the risk pays off and the rewards are early and plentiful.

Other times?

The risk leads to added work, stunted progress or even an early demise.

The official frost-free date for the Atlanta area is April 15. This means that, to be safe, nothing other than the hardiest of shrubs or perennials should be placed in the ground until that date.

And after emerging from the dark of winter, the middle of April feels a lifetime away. Added to that are the early blooms catcalling to me on every corner and the seduction of 80 degree days interspersed among the cold, damp days of early spring.

And so, like every other year I’ve had a plot of soil, I gave in. I spent all day Saturday turning this

photo 2into this.

photo 1And now there is a freeze predicted for the coming weekend. And if I don’t respond, my new plants will end up stunted or even dead.

But even though I will be hauling blankets and towels across my yard this weekend, I don’t regret my choice. Those early flowers are bringing joy now and with a little TLC over the next couple weeks, will become a permanent tapestry in the garden.

I had to laugh at myself this past weekend as I stubbornly and impatiently ignored the advice of the experts as I tucked the tender foliage into the cool soil. I was reminded of how I was after my ex left. When I stubbornly and impatiently ignored the advice of the experts as I dove headfirst into the dating world.

I was advised to wait until the divorce was final to begin dating. But that still-unknown date felt like a lifetime away. Besides, the marriage was dead and buried the day he left. I was counseled to wait until I was healed before fraternizing with other men. But even though I was making progress, healed as a finality still seemed an impossibility (and I also fully believe that some areas of healing can only happen within the context of a new relationship). Besides, I reasoned, I’m not looking for a relationship. Just some dates for some education and distraction. It was suggested that I start out slowly, testing the dating waters (and my own constitution) before going all-in.

I stubbornly and impatiently ignored all of that advice, signing up for Match and (over)filling my dating calendar.

It was a risk. I was still a tender plant not yet toughened to the harsh world outside the protection of the nursery. I could have faced stunted growth or even my destruction.

I wasn’t ignorant of these facts. But I chose to ignore them.

To heed the drive inside that demanded growth and blooms.

To feed the soul that craved some beauty in a life that had been reduced to rubbish.

To believe the hope that abundance would return and that roots would form again.

It wasn’t always an easy path. There were times I had to cover myself in blankets as I waited out a chill I was not yet strong enough to endure. I faced setbacks and challenges. But I do not regret my choice.

There are always those who advocate waiting to explore love again. There is often prudence to waiting. But it can also become a trap of never finding the perfect conditions.

My advice?

You’re ready when the urge to grow becomes greater than the need to hibernate.

You’re ready when the potential of the rewards makes the risks seem bearable.

You’re ready when you can accept that the blooms may be temporary, but that you can enjoy them nonetheless.

And most importantly –

You’re ready when you’re ready. Not when some expert tells you that you should be.

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11 thoughts on “Time to Bloom

  1. I agree. It’s kind of like when people talk about waiting until you are ready to have kids. Honestly, you are never ready. It’s something you will either do, and adjust as needed, or not do. “Ready” is kind of like perfect. It never comes, and it doesn’t exist.

  2. I’ve been forced-fed the “wait until it’s final” stuff. No one cares to see that he and I will NEVER get back together, and that I am so ready to be happy again. Call it diving in with both feet, but I’m tired of living in the dark, grey, and dreary world of hibernation. I’m ready for color-even if it’s only temporary, because the color makes ME happy. And your little garden plot is so beautiful. I don’t even have a green hair, let alone a green thumb!

  3. I just recently started dating again after 3 years of divorce. I waited that long because I was hoping to reconcile. Back in November I decided to venture out and got hurt, but it has shown me that the divorce has made me a stronger person than before. Love is insanity, and it will always bring pain, that’s what makes the good times of love so wonderful!

    I love these lines:
    “You’re ready when the urge to grow becomes greater than the need to hibernate.You’re ready when the potential of the rewards makes the risks seem bearable.You’re ready when you can accept that the blooms may be temporary, but that you can enjoy them nonetheless”

  4. At this time in my life, I don’t feel that I will ever be ready to date again. The age gap between you, most of your readers and myself is so wide that you all have the hope that you will find love again and have a long future ahead. But in my case, I don’t want to risk being so deeply hurt again. I am simply too old. I will say that when it comes to deeply loving someone and the very painful divorce process, age is not a factor. Whether you are 25, 35, or 75 love is the same and divorce is just as painful. I don’t think I will ever be the same, even though I pray to God for contentment and peace in the life I have. I enjoy your uplifting posts very much and look forward to reading them.

    1. That makes me sad To hear that you believe you are too old. I sympathize with not wanting to risk the pain again. I think we all do. Wishing you the best. Lisa

  5. Great advice! I’m jumping in with both feet! My marriage died,years ago, and I did my grieving then. The decision to divorce was just a big sigh of relief for me. I’m dreading the court procedure, because my ex is vindictive, but it’s just more proof to me that I’m ready to begin my new life, my way. Love reading your posts!

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