Article by Jan King
EU and YOU – The Parting of the Ways
For weeks, the media has been likening Britain’s decision last week to leave the EU to a divorce. And leaving the EU is certainly similar to a domestic parting of the ways. First the rancour, accusations and recriminations, then the decision to part even though on balance one half of the partnership wants to stay together, followed by the dismantling of a past way of life and rebuilding a new one.
Of course, just as with our economy post Brexit, making sure you have enough to live on and that there’s a roof over your head is vitally important, but one of the most important tasks for people over fifty newly on their own is to rediscover and reclaim the person they were before everything began to go wrong. It’s an especially important task for our over-fifties age-group simply because we have fewer years ahead of us than, say, someone in their thirties or forties might have. I don’t mean our time is up – far from it – just that it’s so vital to live well in the years you have ahead of you because this is our Third Age, and as Jane Fonda says in her wonderful book Prime Time, at this time in our lives, we deserve to become the person we were meant to be all along.
So one of the questions I often ask of mature women who come for coaching through separation and divorce is “if you could go back in time to before you got together, what would you have been planning to do with your life, and what sort of person were you then?” Their answer to that all-important question enables them to begin to reclaim a life and a personality that they may have lost. It allows them to merge their hopes and dreams from the past with their aspirations for the future and frees them to start planning a new life that they can flourish in, no matter how old they are.
One of the greatest benefits of spending time with a coach after separation and divorce is having the space to think – often impossible when everything is in chaos. Other benefits of coaching include being able to communicate well with ex partners, children and extended family, and to build a support network of friends both old and new. And sometimes the benefits also include recognising that you’ve been a victim of domestic abuse and understanding how to avoid it in the future.
It’s important to know that although coaching is certainly therapeutic, it isn’t therapy. It’s an opportunity to think, weigh things up, make plans and take decisions. Often people have never had a chance to make plans or take decisions for themselves, and when they do, it’s wonderful to see their confidence increasing as they trust their own judgement and take control of their own lives. Of course, whether the same will be true of the UK after last week’s EU referendum remains to be seen.
Jan King is a relationship coach who works with people facing major life transitions, including divorce and separation, of which she has personal experience. She can be reached on 07949 821 670, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via her website at www.kingbisset.co.uk.