In her 50s, Barb Greenberg’s marriage of 33 years ended in a painful divorce. It was also the decade in which the writer and founder of Rediscovering U wrote two books: Hope Grew Round Me, about her daughter’s life-threatening injury and full recovery, and After the Ball, which Greenberg describes as, “the story of what happens when Cinderella and Snow White become prince-less.”
Prince-less herself at the time of its writing, After the Ball highlights Greenberg’s journey to reclaim her life after divorce. She did so in a process she shares with others approaching, experiencing or moving forward from divorce in Rediscovering U. “Rediscovering U has become a part of my weekly routine,” regular participant Anita Pryzbilla says. “Every week, I look forward to seeing the brave women that I have become friends with and connecting with their similar struggles and achievements. It's not a place where we male bash or sit around saying ‘poor me.’ It's a place where we learn to put the pieces of our lives back together and start walking forward again.”
Before Greenberg could help others, the Eden Prairie resident had to find herself. “In my 20s, I was a junior high English teacher for about five minutes,” she quips. Following her brief stint as a teacher, she stayed home to raise two daughters.
In her 30s, Greenberg returned to horseback riding, a passion that she says saved her in high school because she was so shy. When her husband told her to sell the horse, “A friend suggested, ‘Do Mary Kay.’ I didn’t even wear much make-up,” Greenberg recalls, but she gave it a try. “It was the first time I was around strong and powerful business women, women who wanted to help other women grow.”
Her 40s, Greenberg says, were the years in which she learned how to run a business.
Nine Mary Kay cars later, including a pink Cadillac, it was in her 50s when Greenberg and her husband got the 3 a.m. call that their daughter was hospitalized and on life support following an accident in Australia. Greenberg came to see that it was, in part, her daughter’s accident that saved her own life. “I watched my daughter literally transform herself, from broken to whole again,” she says, inspiring her to do the same after her divorce.
Also in her 50s, Greenberg connected with a women’s writing group, which suggested she conduct workshops to promote her books. She tried a few events and settled on a slightly different format: Gather women for a monthly dinner with a guest speaker. “We hadn’t even gotten around the table with the women telling their relationship and divorce stories when the (restaurant) owner approached me and said the restaurant had closed 20 minutes earlier,” she recalls of the first event.
It was “the same month I became eligible for Medicare,” Greenberg muses, that a weekly incarnation of the now-branded Rediscovery U conversation/guest speaker format was born. “We named it Rediscovering U because women in the transition of divorce have to find, again, their own voice, spirit, future and passion," she says. "What we try to do is balance the nuts and bolts of the divorce process (attorneys, bills, mortgage) with topics like healthy boundaries, forgiveness and finding pockets of joy.” Greenberg says she can sometimes see a physical difference in the way a woman enters and leaves a weekly meeting.
Some women come for a series of classes and others occasionally attend. Women in attendance are given an opportunity to tell their story, after which a guest speaker shares pertinent expertise. “The women who attend the meetings are so full of empathy and positive energy,” participant Gail Anderson says. “I was made to feel I was among friends from my first meeting.”
Greenberg’s post-divorce tips:
- Have a team around you: family, friends and professionals (e.g., attorney, mediator, financial planner).
- Be patient: recovery will take time.
- Take care of yourself.
- Trust your intuition.
- Remember that there will be gifts at the end of this transition.
Classes are 7-9 p.m. weekly at the Ridgedale YMCA, and the cost is $20 per class.