When my world was turned upside down, it was hard for me to find my happiness. It was hard to find because it wasn’t where it used to be.
When I was married, my happiness perched in many places. It was on our patio on a Tuesday night when soccer practice was cancelled and a family dinner was guaranteed. It was in a plate of buttery corn on the cob and tomatoes with basil just picked from the garden. It was in the simple bouquet of bluebells picked from beside our goldfish pond. It was in the sight of my little family as I savored the days of the season and I lit a small candle to complete the moment.
When my world was turned upside down because my family was never going to look the same again, I searched for my happiness in familiar places. But it wasn’t in its designated spots. I looked for it inside one of its favorite places: A night out. It used to be in the living room in front of his favorite leather recliner as I paraded my new dress to earn his vote of approval. It used to be at the party where I could retreat to his side when I felt alone in a too noisy room. It used to be in our bedroom where we spooned at the end of the night, regardless of our quarrels of the day.
When my world was turned upside down, everything in my life felt out of order, and finding my happiness amidst the mess seemed uncertain. I clamored for the comfort of my old happiness. With the passing of time, I appreciate seeing this path to happiness:
The grand essentials to happiness in this life are
something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
– George Washington Burnap
Throughout the divorce experience, there is always plenty to do. But apart from the “to do” list of packing boxes and building a new budget, one can ask: What is one tiny thing I can do to bring me happiness? It could be as small as a game of chess with a friend or a goofy cat video.
Divorce usually means lost love. When we find something to love, we are reminded that our passion has not left us and can still be found within us. It could be libraries, soaking our feet, or carving a piece of wood. Find it and love it.
Divorce can cause us to lose hope. With so many of our dreams lost, how do we have something to hope for? We create our own hope by making a plan. When I plan for something in the future that will make me happy, I immediately recover my hope.
The next time I face the confusion and chaos of a changed life, I hope I remember that the only way to find my way back to my happiness is to take a single step forward with my eyes wide open until I find it. With that faith, and that hope, my happiness will somehow turn up, even when my world is turned upside down.