A Girl's Guide to Moving On (New Beginnings #2) - Debbie Macomber Page 0,1

It added up to a thousand annoying tasks I was forced to do myself now. Plus, being a single mother is no cakewalk, either. I’d always lived with others, first at home with my family, then in college with roommates, and from there Jake and I married. For the first time in my life I was basically alone, and that took some getting used to.

Leanne was the one to suggest we each take on a volunteer project. One that would get us out of the house and force us to stop dwelling on our own loss. She opted to teach English as a second language two nights a week. And me…I love fashion and keeping track of the latest styles. One of my favorite things to do was read magazines while Owen napped. That was a luxury now. When it came to being a volunteer, I found an agency that helped dress women going into the workforce for the first time. To my delight, I discovered I enjoyed it immensely.

The second item on our list: Cultivate new friendships.

We’ve both lived the country-club life, our social lives revolving around our friends from the club. I thought I had good friends in Lake Oswego, but all of a sudden I was a third wheel. As soon as I filed for divorce my social life dried up. That didn’t bother me as much as it could have. What bothered me was how eager my so-called friends were to talk about Jake. They were looking for gossip. A few well-meaning ones couldn’t wait to let me know that they’d been aware of Jake’s indiscretions for years and just hadn’t known how to tell me. Yes, it was definitely time to find new friends, which was one reason Leanne and I chose to move to the thriving downtown area of Portland.

The third item and possibly the hardest, for me, anyway: Let go in order to receive. This one came from Leanne, who felt it was important that we not get caught up in a quagmire of resentment and bitterness. She seemed to have a better handle on this than I did. To be fair, she’d separated herself emotionally from Sean years earlier.

This divorce business (emotional separation) was new to me and I struggled to have a positive attitude. (Even now our divorce isn’t final, almost two years into this mess. Jake has done everything humanly possible to delay the proceedings.)

This was by far the hardest because it was a mental game. There wasn’t a checklist I could mark off. The goal was to think positively. That was a joke, right? Leanne assured me that once I let go of my bitterness my heart and my life would then be open to receive.

I’ve had two years to practice and I admit I have been getting better. I don’t hate Jake. We have a son together and my soon-to-be ex-husband would always be part of Owen’s life. Leanne was right, but this step demanded effort. Real effort.

Leanne is emotionally stronger than me. She is older and has the advantage of life experiences. I appreciate her insight and wisdom. I was also the one who came up with the last item on our list simply because I felt it was that important: Love yourself.

Again, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. When I learned Jake had been having affairs, I immediately felt that there was something lacking in me. Okay, not immediately, but a close second to the consuming anger that attacked first. This is really about separating ourselves from the weaknesses in our husbands. I lost fifteen pounds the first month after I filed for divorce. My skinny jeans fit again, and while that was great, I was depressed and miserable. It’d been a low point. Loving myself meant eating, sleeping, and exercising—taking care of myself emotionally and physically. (I was so much better off making a list, and I could do that with this step.)

It meant taking care of myself spiritually, too. After Owen was born I’d gotten slack about attending church services, so after filing for divorce I went back, needing the positive messages and the fellowship. Leanne did, too. And Owen loves his kids’ club class.

The church offered a divorce support group, and Leanne and I both attended the classes. They were wonderful and many of the items we discussed were part of the list we’ve compiled. The pastor made a funny comment. He said that when he taught marriage classes most of those