your new chapter

I am writing this at the request of Thomas, my trainer at Workout Anytime. I wrote a version of this earlier, but it was a little too over the top, so I’ve tamed it down here to make a nice addition to their Facebook page, or wherever.

I am writing this particularly for men in my situation, men facing divorce or having gone through one, believing that their lives are over, that they have lost their soulmate, that they are too old to start again, that there is nothing worth living for.

First of all, you are not alone. You are not the first, and won’t be the last. If you are like me, you have owned up to your mistakes, recognized them, repented of them, and forgiven yourself. Most importantly, forgive yourself. Part of life is making mistakes, so just learn from this one. Do things differently this time. It’s just another mistake to learn from, that’s all.

Second, do not look at your situation through such dark-colored glasses. Right now, it feels like there is nothing to live for. The problem with that thinking is it’s simply not realistic, logical or practical. Look around you at other divorced men. They are doing okay, aren’t they? Some of them are doing really well, in fact, better than they ever have. This is a hurdle—a big one indeed—but it’s far from the end. 

Third, use your pain as motivation. There is no better motivator for a man than pain. There is nothing that moves mountains more than a man in pain. Look around you at some of life’s most successful men. They got there using their pain. Don’t waste that energy while you have it. Use it to your advantage. Comfort and happiness teach you complacency, pain will teach you ambition. Don’t be afraid of it.

Fourth is something practical. Hit the gym. Work on your body. Your body is an easy thing to improve on. With other things you try, you might fail. You might try a business venture that ends up not working out. You might take up some new career that you always wanted to. Those things take time and don’t always pan out. Your body doesn’t. With your body, you will see results in a few short months. You will feel better about yourself, and you need something somewhat immediate to start feeling better about yourself.

When I learned that my divorce was inevitable, the first thing I did was hit the gym. I signed up with a great guy named Thomas to show me the ropes again. I hadn’t worked out since college. Thomas took a before picture of me, and I was a sorry sight—shoulders hunched over, a spare tire around my waste, eyes drained of self esteem through years of being chipped away at.

It’s only been three months, and I can look in the mirror and be proud. Listen to your trainer, eat what he tells you to eat, and you will start to see a better man in the mirror. I am healthier and fitter than I have been since my teenage years, in only three months. It doesn’t take as long as you think to start seeing results, and results are what you need to see right now. You need to start seeing yourself as a man undergoing improvement, and there’s no quicker and easier way to do that than hitting the gym.

Finally, work on yourself spiritually. Spend some alone time with God in the mornings. Pray. Read the Psalms in particular. The Psalms were written by and for someone going through very hard times. They will get you in the right mindset, even if you are not a believer. It takes five minutes. Read a Psalm instead of that YouTube video or tweet you would usually read instead.

Then take the day by the horns my friend. This is a new chapter. You have the world ahead of you, and a whole lot of free time to do what you want with it. Don’t waste that.

Do these things, and you will be just fine. No, better than fine. I promise you.

This is not the end.


2 responses to “your new chapter”

  1. Donald Wheeler Avatar
    Donald Wheeler

    Man, you are an inspiration, Chad, particularly to those of us suffering under a much, much lighter yoke. Thoughts and prayers to you – I am enjoying your Psalms series

    1. chadbh Avatar

      Thank you Donald, what a compliment. That’s the thing to remember, isn’t it? There is always someone worse off than you.

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