6 Small Ways Getting Divorced In My 20s Changed Me Forever

Photo: Srdjan Randjelovic / Shutterstock
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It’s a Saturday night and you’re all alone. No place to go, no friends to call. I know how it feels; I've been there. You watch your ex pick up your daughter with his new spouse and again you’re alone; I know I've been there. You dread going to the mailbox because more people want money. I know how it feels; I've been there. Getting divorced in your 20’s is difficult. I married at 19 and divorced at 27. Was it the end of life as I knew it? At first, I thought so. Being 27 with a 4-year-old daughter was not easy, but the change did create positive opportunities and eventually, a fulfilled life. It didn't happen overnight. However, 6 ways helped me move from a fixed mindset of heartbreak and despair to a growing mindset of possibilities.

RELATED: I Was Mortified To Get Divorced In My 20s (And 6 Ways I Got Over It)

Here are 6 small ways getting divorced in my 20s changed me forever:

1. I'm better able to own my mistakes

Life is about lessons. Successful people take those opportunities and learn from them. Those who don’t live in the world of should haves, could haves, and would haves swim in the pool of self-pity and guilt. If you made a mistake, look in the mirror and say, "I made a mistake." If your spouse broke your heart, look in the mirror and say, "My heart is broken."

Either way, it is not the end. There’s plenty of life to live and plenty of opportunities to meet the right person who will satisfy your needs. I don’t know why I married at 19. He was nice, we were friends, it seemed right. Unfortunately, I was not good for him nor was he for me. It was better for us and our daughter that we ended the nightmare when we did. It was time to write a new chapter and a great chapter it has been.



2. I met new people

Let’s face it. When you’re in your 20’s, it is easier to meet people than when you’re in your 40’s or 50’s. If you’re worried because you have a child or children, don’t worry. There are plenty of people who love children and will also love your children. I was fortunate to meet such a man. His eyes sparkled when he met my daughter for the first time. I will never forget it. She loved the attention and to this day (22 years later). She will call him before she will call me, regardless of the topic. The key is to look for someone who will love your children like their own. If they can't do that, they're not the right ones.

RELATED: I Didn't Properly Grieve My Divorce — Until I Lost My House

3. I learned to shop from a different catalog

As a child, I loved the holiday catalog. It was full of wonderful things. When I divorced, some of the best advice I received was to shop from a different catalog. Reflect on what did not work and look for someone different. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just take the time to look deep inside yourself and determine what it is you want. When I did this, I knew that I wanted someone like my dad. I remember writing down all the attributes that I loved and admired about him and before I knew it, I had my own personal dating catalog. Much like the holiday catalog, I kept the list in front of me and referred to it often.

4. I never undervalued patience again

When you are in your 20s, people will either leave you alone or introduce you to everyone they know. For me, it was the latter. It seemed like everyone wanted me to meet their nephew, son, or brother. It was exhausting. I could go on forever about all the bad dates, but I was patient. I remember telling my mother that I was done with the whole dating process and would focus on finishing my degree and raising my daughter. About a month later, my soul mate was at the door. When you're patient, good things happen.



RELATED: 5 Things I Would Never Do As A Newly Divorced Woman

5. I made better financial choices

It’s all about choices. When you're in your 20s, the opportunity to bounce back from financial mistakes is easier. However, you have to make the right choices. My finances were a mess. When I was depressed, I would buy shoes (using a credit card, of course). I had great shoes but was in debt. I had to stop buying shoes and dig my way out. I soon figured out, that I didn't need that many shoes, and cash was king. Money in the bank was far more important than shoes in the closet.

When you're in your 20s, you have the ability and energy to change jobs and work more than one job to improve your financial situation. Your finances can improve if you want it bad enough. A financial tip: spend time with positive people who are good with money. Also, create a budget and stick to it; your situation will change.

6. I welcomed change more easily

When life throws you a curve, sometimes you need a change. Maybe you need to move to a different part of town or to a new town, whatever it takes to allow you to meet new people and open your mind and heart to new possibilities.  A phenomenon of divorce is that your friendships change. People are uncomfortable "taking sides" and it’s difficult to stay in those relationships. I had a daughter and a home so moving was out of the question, but I did change other aspects of my social activities which allowed both of us to meet new people.

When I re-married, my husband and I together developed new friendships because we both knew it was necessary to let go of the past to create a positive future. A change of scenery brings a whole new perspective to your life; opening doors you might not have known existed. If you’re in your 20’s and divorced, you’re in transition. It's not the end, but the beginning. It's a time to reflect, grow, and change. It's time to look at what you want and to go get it. As children, we were comfortable with transition and change. We called them do-overs. We made mistakes and fixed them. Think of it this way: life is simply a series of do-overs. You may be experiencing hard times, but your life is not over it’s just time to yell, "Do-over!"

RELATED: Why You Should Get Divorced At Least Once

Brenda Descamps is a Board Certified Coach, Certified Divorce Transition Coach, and a seasoned HR professional with 30 years of experience in talent management, talent strategy, business coaching, and more.