Every July 4 brings big parties, skies filled with fireworks, crowds singing and Americans taking a moment to think about their freedom.
For those going through a divorce, or whose divorce is in the rearview mirror, it can be a time to take stock of your progress on the road to crafting a new life.
The country’s Founding Fathers fought for the right to self-govern, to create and enforce laws that fit their idea of fairness and justice and to bring to reality a country that they felt was better than the oppressive regime they left behind.
Were there elements of your marriage that left you feeling like one of the early colonists: always answering to someone who was absent or controlling? Did you need to justify your spending to someone else who controlled the budget? Were you, in any way, punished for wanting to exercise a little independence?
When going through a divorce, it can be difficult to re-learn how to think about yourself as an independent person instead of part of a couple.
Before your marriage, you were an individual person. You answered to yourself, made your own choices, took your own path. After marriage, even if there are children to consider and prioritize, you get to be that independent person again.
Take stock of your old interests and hobbies. Have any of them fallen by the wayside? Take today to embrace your freedom to pick them up again.
Go through old letters or messages from friends. You’re now free again to involve them to a greater extent in your life.
Were there places you wanted to visit, museums you wanted to see, or things your children wanted to do but trips were never taken because your former spouse didn’t want to go or refused to support? You’re now free to fulfill those wishes.
A simpler pleasure: Is there a favorite song that you’ve always loved but didn’t feel free to listen to on full blast, singing at the top of your lungs? Guess what – you’re now free to do just that. Why not have a little karaoke party with the kids?
If the ink is still fresh on your divorce papers, it’s okay to take a little time before declaring your new independence in the world. But you might, in the future, want to consider the day your divorce was final as your own, special independence day. You might event want to celebrate it in some way, with a special meal or a little treat just for you. You deserve it.
And let’s be honest: ending a relationship can be scary. Standing on your own when you’ve been part of a pair, especially if the relationship lasted a few decades, is intimidating. It will likely feel as though the whole world has changed. In truth, it has – but so have you. You’ve grown as a person, as a parent, as a member of society. Your priorities have changed. Your values might be different. You might even register for a different political party now than you did when you were 20.
All of that is part of life. That’s all part of your story as a person. And it’s wonderful!
Take a moment to consider some of the language in the Declaration of Independence, that glorious document that shouted to the world that the United States was going to make it on its own: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Declare your freedom and independence from a marriage that didn’t work out. Reclaim your ability to self-govern. Stake your claim to a happier future, free from oppression and tyranny, from criticism and judgment. Revel in your independence as you set out to draft your own future, of yourself, by yourself and for yourself.
You don’t have to do this alone. Contact me for help in celebrating your Independence Day at firstname.lastname@example.org