You’ve worked hard to put all the pieces together and rebuild a new you: your physical and emotional health, your financial security and your inner strength. It’s time to make your debut and put your new self into play.
It’s easy to isolate yourself when you’re enduring tough times. You may not have the same social network as you did when you were married. Socializing solo may be the last thing you feel comfortable doing as you’re going through a divorce. But this isn’t about dating. It’s about getting out of your routine, having fun, recreating—re-creating your life. Mingle with old friends and meet new ones. Mix it up. Reconnect with neighbors or school friends. Find people in your community that share your interests on sites like Meetup.com and Meetin.org. For sports and exercise buddies, try Smacktive.com.
Do that thing that gives you joy, you know, the one where you are so absorbed you lose track of time. Author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi this condition ‘flow’ and describes it as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. . . . Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.”
It may be quilting or fencing, singing or biking. Find your flow and, if you prefer company, find venues that support it. Check your local paper for bird walks, art classes, dances, auditions, writing groups, climbing, crafting and gardening clubs. Choose a challenging activity that requires skill and leaves you feeling energized.
“In a study of London taxi drivers who are learning some 25,000 streets, researchers found that compared with bus drivers (who had a fixed route), taxi drivers’ brains changed, with more brain cells growing in one part of their brain that is related to knowledge of maps. This study shows that the brain is an active neurological mechanism and not just a warehouse for cells.”
You needn’t study to drive a London taxi to enjoy the benefits of a learning curve. Hike a park trail you’ve never tried or, better yet, in a park you’ve never visited, try a new cuisine from one of the specialty food trucks that seem to be proliferating in small towns as well as in larger cities, comb an unfamiliar beach.
Borrow CDs from your library and listen to music normally off your radar, go see an experimental play at a community theater, try Zumba or yoga or a rock climbing gym. Learn to meditate or speak Italian or make sushi. You may be bored, disappointed or thrilled and enlightened. Either way, you’ll have great stories to tell and, best of all, you’ll be creating new brain cells.
©2015 Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation