May your divorce finances be kissed by the luck of the Irish
Here in the US, we all celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, whether we’re Irish or not. And either way we can benefit from some Irish wisdom when it comes to divorce finances.
“St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time — a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.” — A. Cook
Think about life as a book. There are a lot of chapters. Some of them are in the past and can’t be changed. And some are waiting to be written.
You may have thought that this chapter of life, the chapter of marriage, would have lasted longer. Are you surprised that the chapter itself is so short. Or that it came to an abrupt end? Or both?
Once you’ve understood made peace with the feelings about the end of this chapter, you’re ready to move on to the next. The best part is, it hasn’t been written yet.
And your book’s ending isn’t written yet either.
That means your fears don’t have to come true. You can find another partner, if that’s what you want. (You might not want that! Which is OK too.)
You can rediscover who you are if you’ve spent so much time being Wife and/or Mother that you don’t remember your own self. Instead of looking at the blank chapter with dread, think of it as an opportunity.
And maybe you already have some idea of where you want to end up, or what you want to accomplish along the way.
In order to do that, you have to know where you’re starting from. Especially in regard to your finances. If you’re new to handling the money yourself, you might find it helpful to go through our Financially Fab-ruary program to help you get started.
It’s common for those going through divorce to think about “the good old days”. They might not have even been that good, but because starting again is so overwhelming, they seem better in retrospect.
So take to heart this Irish blessing: “May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.”
Rather than spend more time wallowing in self-pity (as we all do at one point or another), think about the future. What makes it good? What does a good day in the future look like?
Some of you probably have more anger and resentment than self-pity, as you’re reading this post. That’s OK too. You may have fantasies of avenging yourself on your spouse. Maybe you want to stop paying the mortgage or the rent, or the minimum on your joint credit cards.
It’s understandable. We all get it! However, none of that is going to produce a good day in the future. If your name is on the debt that you’re not making payments on, your credit score tanks too. It will make it difficult for you to buy a house or a car, or even rent a nice apartment.
When you’re thinking about the future, the next chapter, think about what a good day in the future looks like for future you, not current you. Currently you’re sad, or angry, or resentful, or fearful, or some combination of all of the above. You might have mixed emotions too, including a sense of relief and even happiness.
Will future you be happy with a bad credit score? Will future you be happy with a house that’s not as nice as you want because your score prevented you from buying a better one?
I promise you the answer is no.
If it helps, pretend your ex has been painlessly removed from the face of the earth and is no longer around. What would you do? How would your life be different?
Writing future chapters
So you know where you are now. You have an idea for what the plot will be in the next chapter, or next few chapters. (Life has a way of changing these plots as we go.)
Once you’ve taken charge of your own finances, you know how much you have to live on. You might need to do some things differently after the divorce to write the chapters the way you want.
Your future chapters can be exciting! If you like. Or they can be cozy, centered around friends and family.
Whatever it is that you want to do, you can take the actions to get there.
You might not be able to get to the chapter on travel until you finish the chapter on raising your children. But you can get there.
As all writers know, the blank page doesn’t write itself. Trust me. Probably every single writer on the planet, including me has tried to will the page into suddenly erupting in words! But no. The writer has to take action: butt in chair, pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
Just like a writer, you have to take action to make the blessing come true.
Take your first step toward making the worst day of your future better than the best one in your previous chapters.
Exciting news for Medium readers! I am cohosting an online session with a coach/therapist, María Tomás-Keegan. We’ll be discussing how emotions impact your divorce finances, and how to use your voice, values and vision to overcome the overwhelm. Click here for details on our free educational webinar being held March 29.