I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking about timing. You’re 34, and even though you weren’t sure whether or not you wanted kids before (or maybe you were), you may not have a chance now. We’ve all said it to ourselves, whether our clock is ticking or not. I’m here to tell you to get that thought out of your head. First of all, you’re not out of time. But mostly, it simply doesn’t stand to reason that just because none of those other things worked out that nothing will in the future. Everyone that has found the person they’ve chosen to be with for the rest of their lives had all of their previous relationships not work out before that one.
I’m actually going through a break-up myself. It happened last weekend. I’m okay. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. Since I’ve committed to a policy of honesty in my articles, I’ll elaborate a bit. It’s true that I’m okay, but I miss the companionship sometimes. It’s always difficult when you’re used to having automatic weekend plans and then suddenly you don’t. But I would never want to spend time with this particular person again, and that makes things a lot easier. On last day we were together, I finally learned a side of him that was so terrible, it not only made everything else in our relationship make sense, but it made me fall out of love with him immediately. It was like I got Lasik surgery and I could suddenly see for the first time. Although I may have misjudged him initially, I’m fairly certain I will be able to identify this type of person in the future and I’ll be able to save all my precious time and energy. And that new vision and knowledge is precisely what feels so great and what gives me the power to move forward.
It’s funny, I didn’t even cry once after we broke up. Maybe it was because we were going through a difficult time for a few months leading up to the break-up and I had cried it all out during that time. But it was also because, for the first time ever after a break-up, I knew I was going to be okay. I knew that this was coming to an end, because something else better is coming to me. And I think THAT is the difference that being in your 30s makes. You just know better. You have a better sense of the way the world works, a better sense of self, and even though you can’t avoid the heartache, you know you will be okay in the end.
But it still hurts for a while. I know everyone says this and it probably sounds cliché, but it’s true: give yourself time to heal. I still go back and forth between being okay and feeling hurt. The most ironic part about going through a break-up is that you really need a hug, but there’s no longer anyone around to hold you. The best part of a break-up is that you’re no longer with that person who treated you badly or caused you feelings of insecurity and you don’t have to go through each day feeling unhappy to the point where it’s affecting those around you. So for now, get comfortable with the heartache and don’t try to fight it. Like everything in life, it’s only temporary. You will be happy again.
So what do we do now? First and foremost, take care of yourself and learn to love yourself again. Find out what that means for you. If you’re like me, you find that statement somewhat vague and need specific examples, so here are some suggestions (in no particular order) on how you can fill all that newfound free time you have:
– Take the high road (non-negotiable)
– Focus on what you learned in the relationship and use that knowledge as power in the future. Make a list if that’s what works for you.
– Go to yoga or meditation classes to calm your mind and get comfortable with your thoughts
– Get back in shape! Join a gym with unlimited group classes. It’s also a great way to meet people.
– Call up your friends – I’m sure they miss you!
– If you have a lot of mutual friends and you’re not sure who to hang out with, don’t focus on what you don’t have and focus on what you do have. You probably have a few core friends in your life that really love you. Go to those friends.
– If you need to make new friends, this is always a great time to reinvent yourself. Take the cooking classes you always wanted, learn how to play an instrument, scuba dive, rock climb, etc.
– Go on a trip, especially one that you wouldn’t have been able to take if you were still together, or go visit a friend in another city.
– Get to know your family better as people while they are still around
– Volunteer – helping others takes the focus off you and it’s what many spiritual practices recommend when you are going through a difficult time
– Get a second job and pay off your bills
– Go back to school
– Get a dog or a cat! (But only if you have the time and finances to take care of it) They make great companions and provide unlimited, unconditional love.
– Move to a foreign country (strongly advised not to do this as a knee-jerk reaction, unless this is something you’ve always wanted to do). If not, try learning a foreign language.
Those were just some examples, but the important thing to remember here is to get busy, do things you’ve been wanting to do, but still allow yourself to heal.
Once you’ve done that, I recommend setting a vision for yourself and how you’d like the rest of your life to go. You may have no idea what that is right now, so please don’t be intimidated. I need to throw this out there, because it’s important. If you don’t know now, meditate on it and it will come. If you kind of have some idea and you think that this particular vision you have for yourself is something you’re not supposed to want, then cut that out right now and decide to want that thing.
Got it? Okay, great! The next step may or may not be easy, but I promise it will be extremely emancipating: let go of all the negative and move forward. In other words: raise your vibration. When you dwell on the negative stuff, your vibration is low. Since the universe is all about the flow of energy and like attracts like, you don’t want to be sending out negative vibes. Try your hardest to stay positive, don’t give up, and don’t lose hope. When you vibrate at a higher frequency, you will attract all the good things you want in your life. Even if you’ve never dabbled in spirituality before and think I’m talking crazy talk right now, please just trust me. This works.
The point is, you have to get yourself on the up and up. Find what makes you happy. Take your time. This is not permanent and you won’t be single forever. The pain is here to teach you something, so learn what that is and feel fulfilled in having that new knowledge. When you are happy again, the right person will present themselves in your life. But make sure you are happy first, because a relationship is about two people sharing their happiness together. I promise everything will work out. Move forward with your head held high and don’t look back.
Sending love to whoever needs it, from Brooklyn.
Lauren is a Brooklyn resident, fierce lover of food, world traveler, experience junkie, politico, independent sociologist, eternal optimist, survivor, and lifetime bad ass. When she’s not working in the advertising technology space, you can find her Instagramming her food under #feedlauren or being generally amused by life’s wonders. Lauren’s main focus has always been to learn from the lessons life teaches us no matter how old we are, to love oneself with reckless abandon, and to never up on her goals. You can expect the same themes in her writing with all the bluntness you’ve come to expect and love from a New Yorker.