How to Make It on Your Own, Especially Financially

My stepmom reminded me that during the process of divorcing, I was most fixated on how I was going to financially survive. It was the most pressing of concerns since I was a stay-at-home mom who hadn’t really earned an income while my children were young. I know this is incredibly common. It’s also first chakra safety and security issues. The distress can keep you up at night, it can be paralyzing, and the thought of returning to earning after being out of the job market in this (or any) economy is a blow to the ego, brings up all our insecurities, and makes us face the reality of age.

This also affects more women than men. So today, I’m mostly talking to women, and guys, listen up-

First off get that help!

I used my acting union to help open my mind and explore job descriptions. I leaned into friends to brainstorm career paths that might work for my skills. I rewrote my résumé so it was task-based and described all the volunteer work I had done for my kids’ school. I went to networking events and informational interviews. There has to be a resource for you in your community—find it. They’re there to help.

I saved; I live on a budget. I paid off my attorney. I changed every aspect of my lifestyle—every aspect of it—so I could manage to own my home. I was frightened, really wigged out and on edge. In all honesty, it has taken years to feel stable and secure knowing I can earn what I’m worth. And that’s what really needs to be addressed.

Your self-worth is of value

You have a right to a great life but doing something to get there, rather than expecting your ex to take care of you or a new lover to marry and support you, has to be addressed. We live in a time when earning’s mandatory. It won’t be easy, it’s an adjustment and takes time to figure out. However, you know deep down

the self-worth you’re looking for isn’t going to come from someone else;

it’s going to come from living a life of purpose 

And facing realities.

Maybe becoming a teacher right now won’t pay the child support. Maybe there are two jobs that need to be juggled for awhile. Maybe you’ll have to decline the invitation to the Hamptons or get a bicycle instead of a car for a bit or curb those shopping binges and dinners out.

These changes and choices have everything to do with the kind of person you want to become and how you want to reflect back upon the transition years.

You can do it. You can adjust and free yourself from the expectations you have from others. Let them go. Put your energy into creating your own financial future! Embrace it with enthusiasm and energy and you’ll more than manage, you’ll thrive!

Laura Bonarrigo

New York, NY