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3 Small Things I Did to Regain Control

Divorce feels like the complete loss of control - financial, personal, family, etc. The bits and pieces of your life all feel just out of reach, and when you try to grab one and rein it in, three more fly by. Sometimes, the small things can make the biggest difference. In the early, post-divorce days, I remember clearly sitting on my couch, staring at a wall with a missing painting, worrying about my career, my kids, my finances, which friends I'd keep and which I'd lose, and not knowing where to start. There are a few things that were relatively low-effort that made me feel like I was reclaiming my own sense of self.

  1. I turned off my cable. I didn't watch the news, didn't want to watch sports, and didn't want to have the constant drone of the tv on in the background. My dad did that growing up, and my ex-husband watched show after show that wasn't my taste, all the while trying to convince me that if I tried just one more episode, I'd enjoy it. I called the cable company, and disconnected my cable the week after he left, and I haven't looked back. Yes, I still watch tv. Yes, it was a scary decision (and frankly, one that I over-researched at the time) but it was the right one for me. I still have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and I cycle through a few other streaming services, but my tv-consumption has become intentional. I have to actively pick something to watch rather than turning on something random and just watching show after show.

  2. I painted the walls in my house. I may have, in fact, hired the world's CHEAPEST painter (and yes, you get what you pay for in many cases) but I hated the beige walls we always had. I hated that the paintings that once brightened the rooms in my house were gone and decorating someone else's home. BUT, my ex really hated white walls, so I went with white walls. The entire house felt brighter, cleaner, and most importantly, more MINE.

  3. I stopped paying for lawn service. I know I know - this isn't something that everyone would take on. But my kids and I take turns mowing now. Does it look like something out of Better Homes & Gardens? Heck, no. Many weeks, it's barely passable. But it saved the expense of the lawn service every week and it's something I can do, and then see the results. I still get funny looks from neighbors. (I think I'm one of three people that I know of in my neighborhood who mow their own lawns.) But there's something rewarding about mowing and edging and knowing I can do it myself. (Plus - my kids pitch in, and they may not love it, but they're learning to be self-sufficient along with their mama!)

None of these things on its own is a game-changer. I realize that. These are not even options for a lot of us, but if you take a long look at what's important to you instead of what you think *should* be important to you, or what was important to your partner, there's the chance you can uncover something that works for you.

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