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How to Find Joy and Gratitude Following Your Divorce After 50

By Martha Bodyfelt October 06, 2023 Family

When recovering from divorce after 50, every day can feel like a struggle.

Learning how to reinvent ourselves, establish our independence again, and figure out what we want during this next chapter of our lives is a bit overwhelming. Oftentimes, we may forget to see all the wonderful things that await us.

Learning to find joy in your life, especially if you are ending a decades-long marriage or are recovering, is an incredible gift that you can give to yourself. And it can be easier than ever when you ask yourself the following questions.

What Is Yours and Yours Alone That Nobody Can Take from You?

Answering this question establishes a solid foundation for celebrating what is good in your life. The answers are simpler than you think. Some of my answers, especially during the hardest times of my divorce, included:

  • Coming home to a clean house – everything just how I left it.
  • The feeling that although I am no longer married, at least I am not in a toxic, unhealthy relationship anymore.
  • Knowing that my dogs would always greet me with a wagging tail and sloppy kiss.

Those simple things are ones we usually take for granted, but when you are mindful to the love and beauty that actually surrounds you, just waiting to be acknowledged, you will see dozens of things to be happy about that are right in front of you.

What in Your Life Have You Overlooked But Is Worth Celebrating?

We have this unfair expectation that only huge milestones in our lives are worth celebrating. But what about the day-in/day-out struggles that we endure, especially as we grow older? We don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we have accomplished, especially as we learn to move on after divorce.

Every day that you take control of your life, every day that you learn a little more about managing money and re-entering the work force, every day that you get a little bit stronger and take care of yourself and put yourself first and realize that you are worthy of getting your confidence back and reclaiming your life is something you should celebrate.

So, what will you start to celebrate? I’ve listed a few celebrations of my own!

  • I choose to celebrate that I am no longer in a relationship that was unhealthy for me.
  • I will celebrate that I am a survivor. I got through this, and now I know I can get through anything.

If you are still having trouble identifying what brings you joy, don’t worry! Finding joy in your life is the most important step to learning how to heal and move on. It is also the easiest but most critical component of taking care of yourself as you recover for your divorce.

When the world still seems like a disaster, or when you are angry over something that happened today, or you saw or heard something that triggered you into feeling resentful or grief-stricken, you must do this one thing.

Write Down Five Things for Which You are Grateful

These things do not have to be extravagant. In fact, the simplest are usually the best because they remind us that we are still alive and that we will be okay. Need some inspiration? Here’s an entry from my own notebook:

  • The crinkle of the fall leaves underneath my feet.
  • The smell of fabric softener on clean sheets.
  • Hot Epsom salt bath before bed.
  • My sweet dog Oliver, who always makes me laugh.
  • Homemade delicious olive oil cake after dinner.

Do This Exercise Tonight

I prefer doing this as I am getting ready for bed. After I finish the night rituals but still have a few minutes before I know that I will zonk out is when I write these entries. It doesn’t really matter when you do this exercise exactly, but I find that doing it at the end of the day is the best way to get closure on any nonsense that has gotten in my space, as well as celebrate any good that has come my way, too.

Make It as Easy as Possible for Yourself

I keep a medium-sized notebook with a pen on my nightstand, next to my alarm clock. That way, I will see it every night. Get a beautiful or as simple of a notebook as you want – some people get super-fancy and call them Gratitude Journals. I just call it a lifeline to joy.

A Simple Habit Can Change Your Outlook Following a Divorce After 50

This is not a just-one-and-done exercise, however. You must make this a habit in order for it to work. Some studies show that it takes 21 days of practice to make something a habit, but you will start to notice the change in your outlook in three days of writing.

You may also see patterns of things for which you are grateful – things that appear in your notebook regularly. It’s not a coincidence. It’s a sign that these are the things in your life that bring you joy, and these are the things you should celebrate.

These are the things that, when you are angry or lonely, have the power to center you again and remind you that you have control of your life, that you are strong, and that regardless of where you have been, you will get your life and happiness back.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What brings you joy? How do you acknowledge feelings of gratitude in your life? What will you do today to start celebrating that joy? Has anyone that you know gone through a divorce after 50? Please join the conversation in the comments.

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Debi Sample

Separated after 43 years of marriage.It’s sad.


This is an article about moving on after however many years separated or divorce. I was married for 53 years but it was me who made the decision to end it and move on. I don’t regret it and think often about my blessings and calmer thoughts come to me much easier now. I must try writing them down more often.

The Author

Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce recovery coach who helps professional divorced women over 50 overcome their divorce loneliness and break free from the patterns keeping them stuck so they can feel fulfilled, have more fun, and live fearlessly. To find out what's *really* keeping you stuck after divorce, take the 30-second quiz.

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