Tag Archives: new beginning

parallels

There was a time in my life (which, to be honest – sometimes feels like a different lifetime), when I watched a lot of TV.

Really, it was entirely too much TV. But I digress… Anyway, during this time, I watched this one-off episode on NatGeo or the History Channel on parallel universes.

And at the time, the idea was incredibly alluring.  If you could imagine, a universe for nearly every decision you’ve made…the opposite choice was made.

I thought of all of the parallel versions of me.  I had a lot of time on my hands and so I imagined, somewhere in all of those universes – there was perhaps, a version of me that had made all of the right decisions in her life.  Somewhere, a version of me was living my ideal life.  And for some reason, the idea was really comforting – that somewhere, someplace a very different me was happy.

And then, the most incredible thing happened.

Absolutely everything went wrong.

Well, that’s a little dramatic.  Not everything went wrong – just the thing I had built my life plan around – that went terribly wrong.

I stopped thinking about the parallels and focused on rebuilding my life.  I made decisions (some bad, some pretty damn good ones), but I made them for me.  I created a plan based on the things that I wanted.  I crossed handful of things off and added more than a few things to the list.  I met interesting people with amazing stories and I built (and rebuilt) relationships that I could be proud of.  I realized how messed up my life was before and how unhappy I was, and I worked on building something better.

Then a few weeks ago, I was walking my dog.  A gentle breeze stirred by our feet as we walked along the sidewalk that encircles my apartment building and, for no reason at all, I remembered.

I remembered all those thoughts on the parallels.  Those versions of me that made different decisions than I did.  I still haven’t made all the right decisions, but somehow I’ve managed to build a life that makes me happy.  And as for the parallels….well, no where is there someone who has made all the right decisions, living the perfect life.  And even if there were…that person would be seriously boring.

After all, how do you learn if not for all those mistakes?  How do you amass those crazy, funny, and unbelievable life experiences if you do everything perfectly?  And how do you get stronger and smarter if you’ve never been tested?

Just like characters in a novel – the most interesting ones have the best backstories.  And just like stories themselves, life can prove boring without the occasional plot twist or (mis)adventure.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve learned not to pine away for perfection.  Life is imperfect.  But in that imperfection, you can find and make your own version of happiness.

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Outrunning the bitterness

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Life always has its challenges.  Big and small storms that can, if you let them, turn your outlook from sweet to bitter.

Divorce (my most recent storm) is definitely one of life’s challenges that can be thrown your way.  But how do you stop the terrible things in life from pushing you into bitterness?

Well, I’d imagine there are a lot of different ways.  Here are some of the ones that have helped me (and maybe they can help you too):

1) Breathe (in all forms, including screaming, if you need it) and let it go.  There is a good reason why there are so many quotes about letting go and letting go of the things you can’t control (sing it with me – let it go, let it gooooo).  In most cases, you have a better chance of controlling the weather than you do for controlling another person’s actions.  The only thing you can control is how you react.  Which brings me to my next point.. 

2) Plan – do not let a bad event (or person) screw up your life.  Adjust your old plans or make new ones, but don’t give up on your life or yourself.

When I left my ex, I was in the middle of fertility treatment to start a family, which I have wanted for years.  The treatment didn’t take.  So, in addition to dealing with the fallout from the end of a ten-year relationship, my hope of becoming a mom (I am in my early 30s) was thrown into doubt.

I knew that I did not want to start dating again while being totally obsessed with finding someone to make a baby with.  That would not be enjoyable or healthy for me or, I’d imagine, any man who was thrown into my path.

So, I made a new plan.

If I’m single at 36, I’m going to get IVF on my own and become a single parent.  If I’m happily coupled by then, and the guy I’m with is ready as well, we can start a family the old-fashioned way, otherwise, I have my plan.  In the meantime, I can date without getting so stressed out about my biological clock.  And I already have a few guy friends who have volunteered for donor-ship, so check and check. 🙂

3)   Spend time with friends and seek out new friends and experiences – Your friends are already lovely, so spend time with them and reconnect.  Just being with the people you care about, who also care about you, is a soothing balm for your soul…let it help you heal.

Also, get out there and shake things up.  Major shocks to your system often require major action.  Find a meetup group, volunteer, go to a conference, take a class, travel… just do something.  Make sure it’s something healthy though, engaging in self-destructive behavior won’t help you deal with a bad situation…it might feel good at first, but in the end, it will just make everything worse.

4)  Stay positive – All of the things on this list helped me stay positive throughout my hard times and when that didn’t work, I made an effort to practice gratitude.  Even in my darkest days, I was able to list the people and things I was thankful for in my life – and it made a huge difference in helping me heal.

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I can tell you – looking back from the other side of my own pain – if you’re struggling, hang in there.  Better days are coming. 🙂