Cultivating Self-Reliance - Optimist's Guide to Divorce
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Cultivating Self-Reliance

After my divorce, taking on new tasks and challenges that I’d never attempted before proved to be scary, but also healing. Living alone after I separated meant that when there was a jar with a too-tight lid, a shelf that needed to be hung, or a creepy-crawly thing in the bathtub, the person who needed to take that on was . . . me.


I found that the day-to-day tasks I dreaded weren’t necessarily the most difficult. They were simply the ones that I had told myself for years and years I couldn’t do, and I believed that to be true. They were the ones my husband used to handle that now I needed to take on or delegate.


I still remember how great I felt the first time I changed a lightbulb in my kitchen after my separation. A simple task? Yes, you’d think, especially for the daughter of an electrician. But for whatever reason, I had always relied on roommates or men to change the lightbulbs for me. I knew I wasn’t the first woman to worry about getting electrocuted. I got confirmation from my dad that all I had to do was turn off the light switch before screwing in a new lightbulb. My other fear was using the wrong wattage. He explained that modern fixtures have a maximum wattage rating label that says what that limit is. It’s visible inside the fixture. It sounds so silly, but just having my dad reassure me about what to do made me feel better. I stopped wishing I had a handyman around. Now I’m handy. I even changed the brake light on my car. My dad got me a toolbox and is always getting me new tools for it. I am no Bob Vila, but it’s a start.

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