I am not sure what I was thinking, or if I was thinking, when I committed to buy a 121 year old building to renovate top to bottom. My law partner and I identified a physical space challenge as our firm continues to grow. The answer was easy – expand our physical space. So the next thing I know, I bought the old building next door to our existing space for expansion.
I am several months into the on-going project and the parallels to divorce are too stark to be avoided or ignored. So I offer up the metaphorical insight that taps on my shoulder daily and reminds me of some key learnings about transition.
For months I was in the planning phase – gearing up for the inevitable purchase, demolition, and completion. It was all I could think about. Was I making a good decision? Was it an investment? Would our business sustain the growth? Just like those several months before I knew I would be filing for divorce, the questions were on an unrelenting cycle in my mind, leaving little room for relief. Was I making a good decision? Was I able to be financially independent? Would our children sustain the change?
I craved as much information as I could get. To satiate the stream of second-guessing, I formed my team of professionals who could provide answers and reassurances. Much like the person who needs all of the unknowns of the legal world dissected by a divorce attorney, my professional team took huge amounts of weight off of my shoulders as I got clarity about the things I needed to know, the actions I should take, and the timeline involved. Be purposeful in your plan and let the professionals lend support.
As soon as demolition began, the walls and my nerves collapsed. The inevitability of change, and more unknowns than I could even name, peppered the long road before me. Each day I felt like a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune spinning that giant needle to land on the emotion of the day. Excitement, fear, overwhelm, joy – you name it. It’s like those first nights with an infant at home – only without the beautiful sleeping baby in your arms.
Divorce demolition is much the same as you alternate between dizzying independence, starting from scratch, and the simultaneous fear of both freedom and failure. Similar to when I was divorcing and staring at all the dust around me, I started cleaning – little by little. Taking one small action after another to get it cleaned up and cleared out. Most importantly, I looked behind me on occasion to admire the cleared path I made and reveled in the simple satisfaction of progress made. You know the feeling – like looking out at your freshly mowed lawn while you cool your sweaty self with a glass of cold water. Acknowledge the accomplishment of clearing your path along the way.
Then one day you will hit a sweet spot (it will likely happen more than once). When the layers are peeled back to reveal a layer that has been covered three times over and it makes you suck in your breath at its beauty. The exposure of it is raw and vulnerable. In that moment you will get a glimpse of the old and the new colliding into each other and showing you a side you could not have imagined even if you tried.
These are the moments to capture. These are the times when you know your transition is on the right path. That one beautiful find or awakening is worth all the heartache of the other moments. Be open to the beauty of transformation.
My journey is far from over, but these reminders are keeping my foundation solid as I move forward building my dreams.