Divorce after a long-term marriage requires a lot of adjustments. All the legal changes, living arrangements, family connections, financial uncertainty and a myriad of other issues can be overwhelming. It all comes down to one word: change. Change can be very difficult for many people, especially at a time when they are looking for something to hold onto. The reaction for some people is to slow down or shut down, to try to make the world move slower. It's easier to understand things if they change slowly. Some people will take slowing down to an extreme and will try to do nothing while they process what's going on and what they will need to do. Sometimes, it's easier to hunker down and stay home in a quiet safe environment. That can give people time to emotionally catch up with what's happening legally. But, becoming immobilized can be dangerous over the long run. If you find yourself in this situation, you cannot adequately take care of your own needs. You can stay home and avoid people for a while, but soon, you will have to get on with your life. What if you get stuck in a rut and can't figure how to get out? Here are some tips to help you break free of the physical and emotional paralysis that can easily overtake someone dealing with intense personal changes.
1. Go outside. Get some fresh air. Take a walk. Go to the mall. Shop without spending money –just look. Move around in public. Don't be isolated.
2. Exercise. Join and use a gym. Run, bike, climb or walk. Getting exercise will have lots of benefits, from mental alertness to losing weight to meeting new people.
3. Hang out at a coffee shop with a friend. You can look around and take turns making up the life stories of the other people hanging out there.
4. Go to a modern art gallery or museum. Look for some art that you can understand or like. If you already like modern art, go to a gallery or museum with some other type of art that you may not appreciate. Have some fun with it.
5. Go see a live play. If you regularly go already, pick out a theater that's a different type than what you usually attend. Bonus points if you go with a friend and discuss the play afterwards.
6. Go listen to a different genre of music. Go hear classical music, if you don't usually listen to it, or go hear blues, country, reggae, bluegrass or something else you aren't familiar with.
7. Fly somewhere on a whim. Take a weekend trip on a “last-minute” special. Go see a friend or a place you have been meaning to see.
8. Help a friend with a problem. You'll be amazed at how much that will help you.
9. Try an activity from your youth. Go dancing, swimming, boating, bowling or playing miniature golf, if you haven't done so for years. You'll feel younger and act younger.
10. Try an unusual restaurant. Go to one that serves a different type of food than you are used to. Expand your tastes. Tell your waiter that it's your first time and you need some help and suggestions.
If you are a Baby Boomer exiting a long-term marriage, you need to expand your horizons. You have a lot of choices and opportunities ahead of you. To get a jump start, try some of these ideas. Have some fun!
P.S. If you have some suggestions, please send us a Comment (below).