This week, Joan talks about her choice, and there’s been at least one big one, since her divorce seven years ago. I decided it was best to let her talk, no questions needed.

Joan: According to Terry Orbuch, author of Finding Love Again, there are more than 100 million single adults in the United States today and four out of every 10 were already married once. Close to 50 percent of married people will become single again before the age of 50 – either through divorce or death.

Close to 50 percent of married people will become single again before the age of 50! Think about that. This statistic is staggering. Almost half of all people that were once a couple, will find themselves alone before the age of 50, either through divorce or death. So why, if there are so many single people out there, does someone feel like he or she is the only single person in the world? Why do we equate “singleness” with failure, inadequacy, or aloneness? Why must we find our “Prince Charming” or “Princess” in order to live happily ever after?

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Last month marked the seventh anniversary of my divorce. After 23 years and two children, my marriage came to an end. It was a two-year process that left me in uncharted waters as divorce was not in my life plan. My parents were married 54 years before my father passed away; my grandparents were married 72 years. My plan was to live my life with my chosen partner until one of us died (in my plan we are in our 90s), and then continue on as an old widow (acceptable because I am old … notice in my plan he died first?!) But as I have come to learn, life happens while I’m busy making plans.

Throughout the past seven years I experienced feelings of grief, loss, rejection, anger, guilt, disappointment, and fear that I would be destined to spend the rest of my life alone and that I would never be able to trust again.

As time passed, I learned that these are normal feelings and are part of the recovery process. I had to feel them in order to heal. But, what I also learned is that life is a series of choices and while I felt my emotions, I did not have to let them define me. I could choose my reaction to the situation, and I chose to be happy

I chose not to dwell on the situation or allow it to dictate my life. I chose to use this experience as a catalyst to look inside myself to see who I really am – as an opportunity for self-exploration and growth. What makes me tick? What do I want to achieve in life? Who do I want to be when I grow up?

I chose self-esteem over self pity. I chose forgiveness over vindictiveness. I chose to experience life, not just go through the motions.

As I learned about myself, I felt rejuvenated, almost reborn, and for the first time in a long time, I am excited about what may lie ahead.

It’s not easy – it’s a daily struggle. But once you make the choice to be happy…you will be! And maybe your Prince Charming will arrive…or maybe not!