If You Could Turn Back Time

Dear Tonja,

If You Could Turn Back Time

A year and a half ago, my husband left me after 14 years of marriage and two kids.  He remarried as soon as the divorce was final.  I, instead, am a mess.  I’ve tried counseling, anti-depressants, and divorce recovery but nothing seems to be working.  I can’t shake the tears, sadness, and adjusting to what my life looks like now.  I spend my time wishing I could turn back the clock and go back to being the old me.
So Overly Sad

If You Could Turn Back Time

Dear SOS,
You speak for many others when you describe your loss and your feelings.  Perhaps the following example will help you gain a new perspective. Since you mentioned “turning back the clock,” if we related your life to a clock right now, it would look like this:

If You Could Turn Back Time

12:00 NORMAL
At this hour, metaphorically of course, this was your “Normal.”  You went about life pretty much the same every day, with the normal ups and downs that happen to us all.  This was your life as you knew it and it ticked right along.  No one is ever prepared for the next phase on the clock, but nonetheless, it’s coming—for all of us.

If You Could Turn Back Time

3:00 LOSS
As the hands, and you, move forward in life, 3:00 on this metaphorical clock signifies your moment of “Loss.”  This is a time when you experience a crisis that you probably have no control over.  You may lose your job, your health, or the person you are closest to.  You are devastated, stunned, and knocked down.  You try to get up on your feet and get back to 12:00—”Normal” as you knew it—but unfortunately, the clock does not and never will move backward.  You are heading into 6:00.

6:00 SUFFERING
This is your deepest hour of suffering.  Between 3:00 and 6:00, try as you may, you can’t seem to get back to feeling “right.”  You feel you’re sinking deeper into sorrow.  Notice that 5:00 is often called the “drinking” hour.  People who drink and try to ward off feelings of loss are desperate to self-medicate.  At 6:00, like the hands on a clock, you are upside-down.  Nothing looks the same.  You can’t get your bearings.  From 3:00 to 6:00, you need help.  You need a coach, counselor, and/or guide to lead you through the struggle to get on your feet.  If you work your way through it, you will arrive at 9:00.

9:00 HOPE
Having come through the darkest days and nights, you will finally be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  You have reached a place—finally—of “Hope”.  You can see your new “Normal” on the horizon.  You fully realize that your life will never be the same.  But you have begun to accept your loss, incorporating it into the stronger, evolving you.

As you move gingerly into the hours before 12:00, you pause to remember the way it was.  Somehow, in spite of all you’ve been through… and because of it… life looks richer, the colors in your surroundings are vibrant, and you have more meaning to everything you do.

When you have suffered a huge loss, one of the wisest lessons to absorb is this: loss is part of life.  You will have others.  So stop and think about what would help you get through this one.  Some people might say you need “a life.”  I would call it reserves.  Here are the five basic safety nets that get you through a crisis:

Money.
You need to be saving your money when you are at 12:00 (Normal) so you have reserves when you hit 3:00 (Loss).  If you weren’t doing this in the past, there is no better time to start than now.

Health. If you’re burning the candle at both ends when you’re at 12:00 your immune system will be weak and unable to fully support you when you’re at 3:00.

Friends and Family. You need comfort, help, and people to step in and take care of you. Start building the ties that will help you survive.

Career or Career Path. Going back to work at some point and being a contributor can be a tonic. No one can give you a career except you so take the necessary steps.

Hobby. At least one constructive hobby helps you rediscover your energy.

The SOS I send to you is this: get a counselor or coach, (and if the first one you go to doesn’t help you feel better, find another one,) start building on the above five points, and with this as your focus you will find your way back into the world. 12:00 NORMAL
At this hour, metaphorically of course, this was your “Normal.”  You went about life pretty much the same every day, with the normal ups and downs that happen to us all.  This was your life as you knew it and it ticked right along.  No one is ever prepared for the next phase on the clock, but nonetheless, it’s coming—for all of us.

3:00 LOSS
As the hands, and you, move forward in life, 3:00 on this metaphorical clock signifies your moment of “Loss.”  This is a time when you experience a crisis that you probably have no control over.  You may lose your job, your health, or the person you are closest to.  You are devastated, stunned, and knocked down.  You try to get up on your feet and get back to 12:00—”Normal” as you knew it—but unfortunately, the clock does not and never will move backward.  You are heading into 6:00.

6:00 SUFFERING
This is your deepest hour of suffering.  Between 3:00 and 6:00, try as you may, you can’t seem to get back to feeling “right.”  You feel you’re sinking deeper into sorrow.  Notice that 5:00 is often called the “drinking” hour.  People who drink and try to ward off feelings of loss are desperate to self-medicate.  At 6:00, like the hands on a clock, you are upside-down.  Nothing looks the same.  You can’t get your bearings.  From 3:00 to 6:00, you need help.  You need a coach, counselor, and/or guide to lead you through the struggle to get on your feet.  If you work your way through it, you will arrive at 9:00.

9:00 HOPE
Having come through the darkest days and nights, you will finally be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  You have reached a place—finally—of “Hope”.  You can see your new “Normal” on the horizon.  You fully realize that your life will never be the same.  But you have begun to accept your loss, incorporating it into the stronger, evolving you.

As you move gingerly into the hours before 12:00, you pause to remember the way it was.  Somehow, in spite of all you’ve been through… and because of it… life looks richer, the colors in your surroundings are vibrant, and you have more meaning to everything you do.

When you have suffered a huge loss, one of the wisest lessons to absorb is this: loss is part of life.  You will have others.  So stop and think about what would help you get through this one.  Some people might say you need “a life.”  I would call it reserves.  Here are the five basic safety nets that get you through a crisis:

Money.
You need to be saving your money when you are at 12:00 (Normal) so you have reserves when you hit 3:00 (Loss).  If you weren’t doing this in the past, there is no better time to start than now.

Health. If you’re burning the candle at both ends when you’re at 12:00 your immune system will be weak and unable to fully support you when you’re at 3:00.

Friends and Family. You need comfort, help, and people to step in and take care of you. Start building the ties that will help you survive.

Career or Career Path. Going back to work at some point and being a contributor can be a tonic. No one can give you a career except you so take the necessary steps.

Hobby. At least one constructive hobby helps you rediscover your energy.

The SOS I send to you is this: get a counselor or coach, (and if the first one you go to doesn’t help you feel better, find another one,) start building on the above five points, and with this as your focus you will find your way back into the world. You’ll never turn back time…but you can strengthen yourself so you can move through it with grace.

God bless you.
Tonja

About Tonja Weimer: Published Author: 8 Books, her latest book, Thriving After Divorce, is on shelves now.  Her books have won over 25 awards.· Columnist: Weekly syndicated singles and dating columnist (over four million readers in the U.S. and Canada) · Media: Coverage on TV, including CNN’s ShowBiz Today; rave reviews in USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher’s Weekly · Author: NBC/USA TV Network, selected author for articles on dating and singles for website · Articles: In House Beautiful, New Woman, GRAND, and other national magazines · Coach: Master Certified Singles Relationship Coach; Associate Certified Life Coach; International Coach Federation; Relationship Coaching Institute; Institute for Life Coach Training · Keynote Speaker: Regional, National and International conferences in U.S., India and Europe · Academic: BA; MA in Human Development; U.S. Dept of Mental Health full fellowship
Visit Tonja’s website for more exciting dating tips! www.tonjaweimer.com

 

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