It was a chilly Friday morning when I drove myself to the court house. My stomach was in knots and I was trembling on the inside. I thought I might throw up but I held it together as I walked through the metal detectors and onto the elevator. I made chit chat with a man that seemed even more nervous than I was. We both got off on the same floor and realized we were headed to the same court room…the one that handles divorces. He asked to sit next to me while we waited for the judge and it was a welcomed relief to have a new friend to go through this with me. I wore dark clothes, like I was dressed for a funeral. It’s how I felt. My marriage had long been dead and I was here to lay it to rest.
Ironically, it was four years ago to the day that I had my first date with my husband. And now, it’s gone full circle and I’m getting divorced from him. The proceedings only take a couple minutes from when my name is called. The paperwork is signed and stamped and I’m free to go. It’s a little anticlimactic after the pain and anguish it took me to come to the decision to get divorced in the first place. But, the bottom line is, “It’s finally over.”
I head down a couple flights of stairs and change my name. I walk back out of the courthouse, as Miss Karen Jerabek. I finally feel like myself again. I’ve shed the pain and disappointment and all the trauma that a divorce creates. I’m free of all of that. I can now move forward and I can create the life that I had always envisioned for myself. I have a second chance.
Several years later, here I am celebrating another divorce anniversary. I can’t help but marvel at the young woman I was on that first date with my now ex-husband, who was so full of life, love and excitement about a new relationship that was about to bloom. And then I wistfully think of the woman that clenched her teeth and filed for divorce. She went through hell and back and yet she still had hope that she could have a second chance. And now, here I am. I’m living that second chance and I’m happier with my life than I ever thought possible. My life isn’t perfect, far from it. But it’s filled with joy and love and contentment. Getting divorced was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Each year, I toast all three of us – the woman that had the courage to love, the woman that had the courage to get divorced and the woman that continues to have the courage to embrace this second chance with all it’s bumps and curves and unexpected delights. Cheers to us and cheers to all of you that are embarking on your second chance. Be grateful for this opportunity to reinvent your life and embrace all of the twists and turns that will make it fabulous.
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