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Kat Forsythe, MSW Headshot

Recently Divorced? You're Not Getting Older, You're Getting Started.℠

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Last weekend, I attended a fundraiser. There was lots of talk of safaris and visiting the Galapagos. A gentleman offered me a glass of bubbly. I spotted a hefty gold band on his left hand. (Married. We single women notice.) So as we sipped, I queried him about his recent travel adventures with his wife.

His face fell and his sadness was palpable. I waited for news of a crippling illness.

"I'm divorced. I can't get beyond it," he said. "Everyone wants to fix me up, but I can't do it.

"It doesn't feel right in here," he added, holding his hand to his heart. "I'm too old to start over. I miss her."

I felt his pain. I've felt the sting of divorce, too.

"I've been there," I replied. "It's tough. How long has it been?"

"Twenty years," he said.

Astounded, all I could utter was a quiet "Wow."

Wow, indeed. Get some help, big guy, and move on. Twenty years means you're using divorce as an excuse to not live your life.

In fact, by midlife, most of us have encountered any number of cataclysmic life rearrangements. To name just a few: death, debilitating illness, children growing up and leaving home, philandering by a partner, the loss of a lifetime career.

It's rough sledding, no doubt. There are times when leaping from the Golden Gate Bridge could feel about right!

If divorce has torn apart your life, you're not alone. "Gray divorce" is on the rise even though the overall divorce rate is dropping nationwide.

Yet life is great and glorious. Why waste a second?
It's time to get tough. Get started, now.

My mother and her generation, who witnessed two world wars, offer us this axiom of the ages. "This, too, shall pass." Their post-war wisdom boils down to this: You must consciously train your brain to move on after the event itself is over.

It takes mental muscle to get started again. Think of strengthening your brain as you would any other muscle in your body. It's simply a matter of a sticking to a deliberate workout routine.

The difference is that this muscle -- your brain -- can bring sublime contentment or continued misery, depending on your message workout.

Is it time for you to reinvent yourself after your life has been "rearranged"? Here are four tips for your new mindset regimen:

1. Be prepared every morning with a positive message when you wake up! Do your homework the night before. Have motivation and cheerleading at the ready -- an audible message to listen to, a written message to read, an upbeat radio station to greet you.
2. Be like a surfer: Wait and ride only the positive thoughts that will get you where you want to go. Consciously say NO! to negative thinking. It takes practice, but don't give up. At first, you'll want to jump on every thought that floats by. Remember, just like waves, the thoughts will keep coming. Ask yourself: Do I want to believe that? Choose what will help you and tell the others bye-bye.
3. Your brain believes everything you tell it. Listen to the words you say to yourself. If you say, "I miss her," (after 20 years?) your brain sets all systems to missing her. If you say, "I love my life now," your brain resets for loving life. It's your choice.
4. Aging? We all are. Getting older? That's a mindset. You are what you tell yourself. You have a chance to mentally recreate yourself and start over with brand-new perspectives right now. The world is waiting for the new you. Fresh. Reborn. Reinvented. Take a deep breath and jump in!

There's so much of life to be lived. What are you waiting for?

You're not getting older, you're getting started.

Need a gentle nudge of inspiration in the morning to get going? Visit www.katherineforsythe.com for my 30-day audio download of short, four-minute inspirational (and often very humorous) messages to kick-start your day every morning for thirty days.

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