I Think Of The Last Two Years Like A Black And White Cookie

A big part of me doesn’t want to write this… 

It’s been a year and I don’t want to reopen an old wound.  I don’t want to cause harm to him or me, or us both.  But at my core I am a writer.  I have always written truthfully here about my life, and this cannot be an exception.

One year ago I was living with my boyfriend.  We had been together for thirteen months.  It had been the biggest year of my life – my first love; a whirlwind romance.  After only a few months together, his father died.  He moved into my place.  I loved him.  He loved me.  We helped each other.  We fought.  About a lot of things.  Mainly politics, our values, and the things which separated us that we couldn’t make fit, no matter how hard we tried.

I had never felt about anybody the way I felt about him.  

He was the first person I could see myself being with for the rest of my life.  After a while though, my feelings changed.  The more time we spent together, the more we grew apart.  Differences between us that had once seemed fun and interesting became destructive and depressing, and trying to make the relationship work started to feel like a full-time job.  This should have told me things weren’t meant to be, but it didn’t.  I didn’t see what was right in front of me because I didn’t want to.  I wanted what I wanted, and what I wanted was him, and he wanted me.

But about this time last year, I knew we had to break up.  

Things had crossed a line in my mind.  Once the decision was made, I couldn’t unmake it.  I couldn’t un-know the truth I had grown to realize.  I told him how I felt, and to my great surprise, he agreed.  He said of course we weren’t meant to end up together, and told me it was okay.  I couldn’t understand what he meant, but was pleased he took the news so well.  The next day however, he had a new angle: he wanted us to stay together, to just enjoy the present and not worry about the future.  But I needed to make a future for myself.  He was away on April 1st, Easter Sunday.  When he came back the next day, I sat him down. I told him we had to end things.  He did not take it well.

We tried to be friends.  People told me it wouldn’t work.  They said the wound was too fresh.  But I had to try.  I needed to find out for myself because I felt I owed him that friendship.  I couldn’t abandon him and break up with him all at the same time.  But there is a universal truth to the need for at least some period of separation following a break-up.  Being in the same room together, for us, turned out to be another form of trying to make something work that at its core did not work.  So we cut off contact.

Who am I? What should I do? I can do anything I want with this free time, what should it be? What do I want out of my life? What are my goals and how can I grow?  

I was left with these questions and more, now that I was single.  I had not been coasting in my life, even during the relationship, and I had put in countless hours of fitness training, writing, working and developing friendships.  I had a solid foundation, had made lots of progress and I was proud of that progress.  So progress would become my focus now.

I started pushing myself at the gym, rather than merely showing up and going through the motions.  I became more dedicated than ever to my diet.  My cheats and binges became so rare that I was able to make significant and noticeable changes to my appearance and health.  I could fall asleep within minutes, sleep through the night, and my anxiety was down.  I was feeling great and looking great, and this enabled me to further feed my creative side.

I became stricter with my writing.  I began to put in office hours, waking up an hour earlier each morning to write, whether I felt motivated to or not.  I began reading a little every day on my breaks, listening to podcasts on the walks to work, and watching TV for research while I made dinner at night; all of this in addition to writing for an hour every morning.  I filled as much of my life as I could with creativity and found the difficult balance between solid routine and rigid schedule. 

I learned how to be flexible within my routine, to accept life on its own terms and try to be present in whatever I’m doing.  I feel like every time I start something new, or set a new goal, this rush comes over me as if there’s a ticking clock counting down and I have to progress as quickly as possible.  It’s as though the moment I discover something, suddenly there’s a time limit on it for me to master completely.  Never mind the fact things have been going along quite well for years before I was born and will continue happily for years after I die, in my mind it’s no! this thing did not exist before I knew about it and within minutes it’ll be gone. I must act NOW! 

But I have learned how to balance my life into a routine that serves the me I am today, together with the me I want to be tomorrow.

Looking back on the last two years of my life, I have grown more than I ever could have imagined.  During this past year I have fed my creative side, my health, and my drive.  The previous year I learned more about life and love and the things most important to me, and did this the only way I could, by doing.

Looking forward, I am not sure what this next year of life will bring.  Maybe I will make strides in my career, begin to take the things I’ve been dabbling in and throw myself into them with full force.  They say leap and a net will appear.  I finally feel like I can see the edge of the cliff… 

I think this is the year I’m ready to make the jump.  And yes, this does seem like a suicidal metaphor, but I assure you it is not.  I realize that if I’m constantly seeking to grow, learn, and progress, then every day should be the best day of my life.  It certainly has the potential to be.

-Theodore Dandy