I’ve been thinking about making a real, honest effort to begin blogging for some time now. I set up this account back in the middle of the summer, when I was unemployed, relatively newly single, and struggling with questions about what I wanted to do with my life. Now, I’m a salaried employee, in a relationship, and still sort of wondering what exactly it is that I want to do with my life–both professionally and personally.
Last New Year’s Eve, I was supposed to go to a party with my then-boyfriend and a whole host of people we went to high school with; 99% of whom I had not seen since high school. At that point in my life, I hated drinking, I hated parties, and I wasn’t particularly looking forward to spending the evening with a bunch of pseudo-strangers, either. I was in a resentful mood all evening, and when it came time to walk out the door to leave, we got into a huge, explosive fight that resulted in him going alone and me staying home. We had had fights over my lack of interest in college-kid-style partying (and his seeming dependence on it) before this, and had many more for several months following this one. We broke up for good during the first week of March.
The point of that recap is this: It was only after breaking up and several months of recovery (we had been together for two years and nine months) that I began to realize the depths of my unhappiness while with him. I had always written the little things off as ‘normal’ problems that pop up in relationships, and was convinced that if we loved one another, that was enough to get us through to happiness some day. I was constantly waiting for him to change, while he was constantly hoping for the same from me. I’ve since realized that this was idiotic–that the two of us were never once right for one another–but it was an important lesson for me to learn firsthand.
After we broke up, I was able to rediscover things about myself that I had long forgotten. Little things, but they started coming back. Surprisingly, there were also things I had never known in the first place. And then there were the things that I could categorize as things I decidedly do not like, and never want to have in my life again. (That list is quite specific.)
Fast forward a few months, and I graduated. I had earned a Master’s degree at 22, I had reestablished friendships that had long laid dormant, and for the first time in a long time, I awoke each day with the sole goal of doing only exactly what I wanted to do. This past summer was the best time of my life. I went out dancing, I drank heavily, I began exercising for the first time in years, I spent time with friends and with my family, and I put myself first.
I began running after the break up because I needed something to do with my body and my mind. I continued running because I enjoyed the challenge. It’s never easy and it’s never perfect, but every time I finish, I know I’ve accomplished something. In September, I ran my first-ever 10k, in October, a 6k and another 10k, and in November, I completed the Richmond Half Marathon and a 5k Turkey Trot.
I met a new guy over the summer, and I was completely up-front with him. I explained very early on that I had just gotten out of a long and hard relationship where I constantly had to compromise myself in an effort to keep someone else happy, and that I wanted no part of that ever again. I told him I didn’t want to be someone else’s girlfriend any time soon, and startlingly, he said “okay,” and that he was willing to wait to see what would happen. As we spent more time together, I started to realize that he might be exactly the opposite of that list of must-not-haves I had been so carefully crafting. After a few months of careful observation (of him) and continual evaluation of my own feelings, I told him that I was ready to be his girlfriend. That was September. It’s now December, and I’m still as happy with my decision as I was then.
I’ve spent a lot of time this past year thinking about how exactly I want to live my life. For the first time in a long time, I’m happy with where things are going, and I’d like to stay on track. I recently came across Devon’s blog (http://www.answeringoliver.com/), and in reading about her decision to quit her job to travel the world for a year, I’m realizing that there are still many, many things on my life’s to-do list. There are things I’ve always thought I wanted to do, and things I’m sure I’ll want to do that I’ve never even thought of. So I’m going to start holding myself accountable. This blog will be where I record those things, and it will be what reminds me to live my life the way I want to.