If I’ve learned anything as a divorce attorney, it’s that there is a time and a place for everything. There is a time to play hardball and a time to negotiate; a time to play hostess and a time to roll up my sleeves and play dictator. There is a time for courtroom drama just as there is a time for backroom deal making. So, what time is it now? Your divorce is behind you; the worst is in your rearview mirror. No matter what type of settlement you got, who retained custody, who moved out or who moved in, the future is a blank slate – and you’ve got a brand new box of crayons to color it in with. Trust me, I am not one to look at things through rose-colored glasses or toss around platitudes like “This is the first day of the rest of your life.” But, you know what? This really IS the first day of the rest of your life. You have just been through the ringer, personally, professionally, emotionally and financially. You can either stay there and hate on life, seeing every opportunity as a glass half full or you can shut the door on the past and open a new one on your future. Ultimately, the choice is yours. As you consider this crossroads between past and future, here are some thoughts for moving forward in a whole new direction. After all, NOW is the time to take stock of your life… · Personally: No item on this list is more important than who you see yourself as a person in the wake of your divorce. Many women feel powerless while just as many feel empowered; some feel ashamed while others feel completely free of shame, guilt or even responsibility. Take stock of who you are and, if you come up wanting, take aim at who you might like to be. Now take steps to become that person – no matter how long you think it might take. Even the journey can be rewarding when the destination is a new, improved you! · Professionally: Divorce can be a major time vacuum, sucking minutes, hours, days and entire weeks out of your otherwise productive professional life. Think of all the half-days or early afternoons or late mornings you had to take on behalf of various court dates or lawyer meetings; now is the chance to regroup and rededicate yourself to your career and really make up for lost time. Or maybe you’ve been reevaluating your career in light of your divorce and find that the time is right to change jobs, either to a career with more income and additional responsibility or the opposite direction: less money but fewer responsibilities as well. · Emotionally: You may be feeling lower than low right now. Or, perhaps, you’re feeling higher than high. Maybe you’re feeling somewhere in between. Whether it’s good or bad, never forget that YOU are in control of how you feel. You can choose to dwell on the past and what’s been lost, or focus on the future and what’s left to experience, discover and gain. · Financially: Chances are, you have taken a slight – or much more than slight – hit to the pocketbook as a result of your divorce. As you look ahead, don’t do so with blinders on. Stop now and add up those bills, legal, financial and otherwise, to know just how much you owe – and to help you decide how you are going to pay them off and how long it might take. · Creatively:Yes, I said creatively. Maybe you’ve never been a creative person before, but what’s stopping you now? Invest in those art classes you always wanted to take. Travel somewhere foreign and exotic and be inspired so that you can’t wait to come back and start your new life. Pick up a piece of paper and write something. Often our creative lives take a backseat to the necessities we must attend to each day: work, errands, kids, sleep. If your creative life has been in hibernation too long, do yourself a favor and wake it up!