But you’ve made me stronger… by breaking my heart. You ended my life… and a better one start. You taught me everything from falling in love to letting go of a lie. Yes, you’ve made me stronger baby, by saying goodbye.

What I’ve learned…

…in the six months I’ve been single.

That’s right, six months. I know it seems silly to still be able to recall the number, but this one seems significant. For some reason it feels like it just happened yesterday, and yet, it feels like it’s been forever. But never the less, in the last six months I’ve certainly learned a lot about myself, about people I thought I knew, and about the world in general. Now I’m definitely not an expert (and would never claim to be one). But I have learned a thing or two:

  • I’ve learned that breaking up and moving on from a relationship is not like it is on TV (or in movies), where you find yourself moving on quickly, meeting the cute guy, and realizing how much better your life is only 45 minutes later. Moving on can take months, hell sometimes years, and it can be hard, and it can most certainly be confusing. But it does happen: slowly and surely, one second at a time.
  • More importantly: don’t be concerned with moving on, or finding a new boyfriend, after your break up. This wasn’t something I’ve been concerned about in the last couple months. After almost six and a half years as someone’s girl, it’s nice to learn who you I am on my own.  A little sassy, a little silly, and okay a little bit of a lush. And so totally not ready to settle down right now.
  • You cannot be friends with an ex. More importantly, you shouldn’t try to be. It doesn’t matter how easy it feels, or how close you were when you were together, it just makes things more complicated. Someone is always going to end up getting hurt all over again. And this was, unfortunately, something I learned the hard way.
  • Facebook (and Twitter) are not the broken hearted friends. It makes it far too easy to know everything (even when you really, really, wish you didn’t know). Then again, sharing a large collection of the same friends doesn’t help either.
  • Two words: Girls night. I don’t think I really appreciated the fun of being with your best girlfriends as much as I do now. Sometimes all you really need is to get all dressed up, put on some tall shoes, and have a night of crazy fun dancing as though no one is dancing, and belting out really bad Madonna karaoke.
  • All is not fair in love and war. While it would be fabulous to think that you’re ex is going to die miserable and alone, sometimes they are happy, and sometimes they are happier without you. You can’t concentrate on that. All you can do is smile and live your life so you’re the happiest you can be. And, okay, only occasionally wish karma would come back to bite them.
  • Break ups, and credit cards do not mix. Put it away… or, at the very least, keep track of what you’re spending. Also, never go shopping while upset because then you go out and spend money on things you don’t really need (…but they’re so cute!) However, things such as the above picture: always a good investment.
  • That things will never be like they were before. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last six months just wishing and praying that things could go back. But the truth is–things never could, and I’m better off now. Through all the tears, and the heartbreak, and the loneliness, I’ve also found happiness and a confidence I never knew I had. Sure, it’s easy to miss the good moments. That’s because there are no cameras to take pictures of the bad moments.
  • Everything happens for a reason. I’ve always been a strong believer in this, and that hasn’t changed. Yes: breaking up can feel like the world is ending, and you cannot breathe. I know this better than anyone. But everything, even horrible, awful, unimaginable things, happen for a reason. You can’t dwell on the fact that life handed you a shitty deal. All you can do is take what you have, hold your head up high, and learn what you can do to make yourself happy. You’re only going to die hopeless and alone unless you choose to.
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