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Almost a year, reflections on the path


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Some of this is probably for my own catharsis, some of it venting, but also to hopefully shed a little hope for other people who have recently begun the healing process.

 

It's been nearly a year since the breakup. In some ways this feels like one of the longest years I've had in a while. It's strange to think that just a year ago we were planning our trip to his parent's for Christmas week. It's even more intriguing that just a year ago I was none the wiser that the relationship I thought would be my last had only one more month left. It still bothers me that I've thought about him everyday this year. But seeing the way my thoughts about him are framed now vs the beginning of the year makes me feel better about how far I've come. I don't wish us to be back together anymore. I can see the ways we weren't right for each other, the ways I put him on a pedestal. I can see all the ways he wasn't all I cracked him up to be/he cracked himself up to be. But would I say I'm over it completely? No. Being 100% over someone means feeling completely neutral about them. Their name, their memories no longer elicit a strong emotion one way or another. I don't wish that it never ended, but I'm still resentful over certain things. But even though there are some bitter feelings, I feel like that's the last leg of the journey. It's something I'm working on and I trust that time will shortly heal that feeling just like it's taken care of the others (the sadness, the loneliness, the disbelief, etc).

 

In a lot of ways this year feels like an accomplishment. It's almost laughable how much I would never guess that's how I'd come to view this year when everything ended a few days after New Years. It was a truly dark place: losing the relationship was the hardest, but coupled with that was having to leave my city, having no job and hardly any money. I was just finishing design school and had to trust that the education I received thus far was enough to show off an employable portfolio. My biggest goal was always to not just have a job, but have a career. When everything fell through that first week of the year, that goal seemed a little daunting. But there was something in me that had a blind ambition where I didn't know how it was all going to work out, but I was going to make it work out and I was going to make it work soon.

 

For a good amount of time after the breakup, part of landing that career job was about showing him. In our relationship I was always insecure that with him having a successful career that I was never quite his "equal". After the breakup there was a pathetic hope that if I could get that career job soon he would see my potential finally realized and want me back (even though, oddly enough, none of this had anything to do with the breakup). Something transitioned around early summer. I stopped caring about what he would think and started doing this all for me. A few months after I moved back with my parents in my small hometown (with my tail between my legs, of course), through a friend I randomly got a job doing technical design at a small and new solar company. I wasn't a technical person at all, but I needed a job and my friend worked there and I at least knew the design software so I went with it thinking it'd be something nice to keep me busy in the meantime. I was surprised when I came to learn that I was loving what I was doing. Not to mention I was essentially getting paid training in the engineering required for this job. That was a subject I always thought was beyond me, and yet somehow I was soaking it up. Long story short, through a chance encounter with an old friend while visiting the city I left, he referred me to a much larger company in area. Little did I know how that "fun" little "side-job" (which really didn't pay that much, but at the time my needs were few so I didn't think much of it) was training me for a great paying position at this new company which I'm loving. As of October I am back in the city that only 9 months earlier I left in tears feeling like I was starting over from nearly scratch. I'm writing this looking around the walls of my new apartment and am filled with satisfaction of knowing I'm doing it on my own and I got here on my own. Had things continued with my ex, I know I would have worked myself up eventually. But I think I'd always feel insecure that I did it on his coattails. There's nothing wrong with having one's partner help them out, but for *me*, I think I needed to know I could do it on my own.

 

I'm seeing someone new. It's only been a few months and we're taking it slow. He's a quality guy and I'm just letting things progress naturally, not thinking too far ahead one way or another. Whether this turns into a relationship or ends up being a brief "thing" I think he's just the kind of guy I need in my life right now. He possesses a lot of the qualities that initially attracted to my ex - kind, thoughtful, fun to be around, intelligent, etc - but what I really like is the way he has qualities that I didn't realize I was missing out on when I was with my ex. For example, this new guy has an outgoing exuberance for life. My ex just played video games on the weekend. I put up with it because it was the industry he worked in and thus how he made a lot of money. At the time I didn't mind but now that I see the contrast of being with someone who likes going out vs staying in, I see how that's a more compatible quality for me. I like how this new guy is very down to earth. He's very successful but you would never really guess because he's not flashy. It was always hard for me to relate to my ex because so much of his life was very "vanilla": he was the guy that always got the girl, went straight to a great school, straight to a great career. I like how this new guy has friends from all walks of life because even though he's doing great now, he's had his share of struggles getting to where he is. My whole point is whether or not things bloom with this new guy, it's important for me to be with someone who shows me there are other people out there. My ex wasn't a bad guy by any means. But he had a way of making me feel like I "owed" him something because he was such a "nice guy". Yes, on paper he was a "nice guy". But now I see there are other nice guys out there who don't have to brag about it.

 

It helped recently that I saw another side to my ex. When we broke up, he was the one who made it a big point how he wanted to keep in touch, to remain "friends". I knew realistically the "friends" thing never really works, but I appreciated the sentiment nonetheless. He told me how his ex-girlfriends were so "cold" to him: how they'd breakup with him suddenly and completely cut him out of his life. He told me how even though he's the one who ended the relationship, that he didn't want to be like that. We haven't really talked since I moved out but recently I had to email him asking for lease documents from our last apartment since I was now apartment hunting myself. I was polite but direct and he did forward me the info back right away. Then out of burning curiosity, I sent a follow up friendly email telling him a little about what I was doing, asking how things were for him. Interestingly enough, the "nice guy" who earlier this year said harsh things about ex-girlfriends who so "coldly" cut them out of his life never wrote me back. It's not that I was trying to weasel my way back into his life so much as trying to find a resolution. His non-reply was all the resolution I needed.

 

To sum this up: what a difference a year makes. While I admit I have some emotional loose ends to tie up, all in all I'm in a great place. I started this year having so many things swept out beneath me and ended up back where it all happened, only this time with my head held higher than I would've guessed. There's this line from this song that goes, "Let me show you/what I'm made of". I feel a lot like that right now. It wasn't just building myself back up emotionally, but logistically. There was a lot of work involved but I know that work not only paid off but also will prepare me next time life throws a curveball. It also showed me that curveballs aren't the end, they're just life pointing you in a different direction. When the whole breakup happened a good friend told me, "Trust the process." Those are definitely words I would pass on. To anyone who's just now beginning their journey, do your best to put one foot in front of the other. Don't block the emotions: face them but don't let them overtake you either. Try hard to find that balance, find the way that works for you. The number one thing that's helped me get to this point was having that faith that it *will* get better. It does, as long as you point yourself in that direction. Don't feel defeated if it seems a long way off now. Trust in your own resilience and trust that a stronger, wiser you is already forming.

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