We all have this idea of how our life will turn out, and when it doesn’t turn out that way it’s pretty scary shit. Maybe you thought you’d retire by 55 but had to wait until you were 70. Maybe you expected your parents to be around but they both died in their fifties. Maybe you got pregnant out of wedlock instead of waiting until you had a ring on your finger to do the deed.
Any way you slice it, life doesn’t slow down for us. It doesn’t wait for us to be ready. It doesn’t place things in the order in which we hoped.
Sometimes we don’t even get the card we need. Or, at least we think we need. Because honestly, life is a little more fun when we don’t know what’s coming next, don’t you think?
So I sit here writing, thinking of all my failures, all my mistakes, all my lessons learned, and I have to think that from the outside looking in, so many would say that the fact that I was divorced at 24 was a failure. But that’s not the case. Here are 6 reasons why getting divorced in your twenties is anything but a failure.
1. You Grew Up And Became Humble
I’ll be the first one to admit that getting married when I was very pregnant at twenty-two was pretty childish. I was trying to please other people by getting married. It wasn’t something I wanted, but I did it anyway. The process of marrying, trying to make a broken relationship work, and then working through a divorce made me seriously grow up. I stopped thinking about pleasing other people and learned that I needed to handle my own affairs in my own way. I took the training wheels off. I silenced my phone. I let that little girl with the dream of being married in her early twenties fade away so I could grow up and realize what a terrible mistake it was to turn a fantasy into a reality before I was ready. It’s a humbling experience to admit your mistake, and you did it with your grown-up head held high.
2. You Became Brave, Bold & Fearless
How long into feeling unhappy did it take you to actually say something about it? A long time. It’s hard to admit when you were wrong about something. You had to become brave enough to look your partner in the eye and say, “This isn’t working,” and “I think we should separate/divorce.” You were bold and fearless sticking to your guns, even when you started to doubt yourself and wonder if maybe you were the problem.
3. You Learned What It Really Takes To Have A Great Marriage
It’s true what they say, hindsight really is 20/20. I firmly believe that someone who gets divorced has a better marriage the second time around. Why is this? It’s because you knew what went wrong the first time, and you made a vow to yourself to not let the same mistakes happen again. You learned how to value your partner, and learned that marriage is sacred and you should be more careful the second time around in choosing a mate. The best part of getting divorced young? You have a chance to spend way more time with the person you should have actually married in the first place.
4. You Learned When To Say When
If you’ve read my previous post, you know that I have the “Superwoman Complex.” This is something that so many woman struggle with. Even if you don’t, you can still probably relate to not knowing when to say enough is enough. Learning to say stop, learning to say I’m done, are things that can’t be taught. They have to felt. You have to know your capacities. You have to realize when to try harder and when to move on. You did this when you decided to get divorced, whether that was after multiple attempts at making it work, or whether it was after you realized staying couldn’t change the marriage that just wasn’t working. What I’m trying to say is, you hit your limit and you didn’t get sucked into staying. You were (see above) brave, bold and fearless in your decision to say “when.”
5. You Learn Excellent Bartering Skills
Okay, so this one is a bit different but stay with me. I know you’ve probably tried to block it out, but do you remember what it was like trying to decide who got the kids when or who got what assets? Yeah, it was pretty difficult shit. But you kept your cool (well, mostly) and you bartered the heck out of that divorce decree to get what you wanted or needed. If you didn’t, well then that sucks. But for the most part, I have a feeling that most of you could now give a shop owner in Morocco a run for his money when you negotiate a price for his rug you fell in love with. Another one of those many skills they don’t teach you in school. You need this real life experience. Just sayin’.
6. You Have The Rest Of Your Life To Find Your Soulmate
I mentioned this above but let me expand on this for a second. When you’re sixty-five, rocking on your wraparound porch, sipping sweet tea (or lemonade for all you non-southerners – and me since I can’t bring myself to actually like it. I know, I’m a horrible southern belle. But I digress…) you have the opportunity to look at the person rocking next you and say that you’ve been married to them for most of your life. You may even be able to say that you are married to them longer than some of your friends who had their first marriage much older. You knew who you were looking for so much clearer the second time around. You knew what you did and didn’t need.
You have this advantage to other girls your age. They don’t know what it is like to feel the weight of that ring, knowing it is something you just want to break free of. They don’t realize how big of a commitment marriage really is yet. They don’t understand how much you have lived in such a short period of time going through a marriage and a divorced. (You’re probably 100 in dog years by now.)
So when you have those days where you look in the mirror and wonder how you could let a marriage fall apart, stop and tell yourself this: “I am not a failure. Divorce isn’t the end of the world. I will still find my soulmate.”
Because you will. And when you do, actually saying “I do” will mean that much more.