Good food, good company, good music. This is what a great life is made of.
When my reminder came up on my phone to write a post for today, I started thinking about how great it is that I’ve maintained this for 156 days. One hundred and fifty six. I thought about those first posts and where I was then, how wrecked I felt, with nothing left to be destroyed. And now, 156 days later, I’ve built new foundations from the rubble and each day I get higher and further away from the bits and pieces of the devastation.
In the last 156 days I’ve found happiness again, and learned to value both the exciting and mundane in life. I started dating someone new who cares about me, and who I really care about and makes me feel giddy like a teenager. Most of all, I have deepened friendships with my closest lady friends and that’s the most beautiful thing to come from this. They helped me put my heart back together.
I haven’t written about him in a long time. Mostly because I’ve had other things, other people on my mind, because my life has been filled in other ways- not because I haven’t thought about him.
Truth is, I still think about him most days, and not just once or twice. I still wonder what he’s doing, where he is, who he shares his life with now. I thought I wouldn’t anymore, especially now that I have O in my life. But I do. And I want to stop but I don’t know how or when or why I can’t. The thoughts manifest into dreams and I can’t escape him even in my sleep. I like to think that I think about him less as more time passes but honestly, I don’t know that it is. That scares me. How much longer will this failed love haunt me?
I believe that we carry all the tenses of our being, that all the past versions of who we were shape the who we are. Maybe it’s that the past versions of who we were roll into who we are now, that they’re intrinsically woven together. The girl who had her heartbroken is so familiar to me still, it’s hard to differentiate what was then and what is now. I can still draw up the pain of rejection and unrequited love and feel it keenly. Certain songs will instantly knock me back to that place of brokenness and hopelessness.
The one thing that I keep coming back to is knowing that I did all that I could. I said everything I wanted to say and that’s all you can ever do. There will be people who don’t reciprocate the way you feel and that’s life. But I will never have to regret not saying enough. If there’s any regret, it’ll be on him.
Some months ago, I couldn’t fathom a life that didn’t perpetually mourn the loss of him. Now I can recognise that the loss is an event in the past and while my present self can remember what that awful time was like, I’m not currently experiencing that loss at the moment. I’ve been reading The Body Keeps the Score and learning that we need to integrate painful past experiences into our present so that we can live freer futures. So that’s progress right? I’m part of the way there! One day I won’t think of him anymore, in the same way that I don’t think about my first boyfriend. I’m not there yet but I will be, one day.
Tonight, sitting on a grassy bank watching live music, drinking beer and chatting with friends, life felt so.. wholesome. One of those moments that make you realise – yes, this is what it feels like to live.
Life feels bleh. Work feels bleh. Everything is bleh.
Life is all just about chance isn’t it?
An excerpt from my journalling this morning, I’ve been thinking about it all day:
Mornings can be hard. Today was one of those. I woke up in a funk, feeling that same dread of living in a reality that didn’t reconcile to what I thought/ expected/ feel I should be living in at twenty seven. My Saturday night was spent in, having wine and cheese with a close friend. But some of my flatmates went out and I wondered if I should have joined them afterwards, and if by not doing that I wasn’t living my best life.
I know that these expectations or “shoulds” are arbitrary and no indication of what a “good life” looks like. I know that I very much could have joined them afterwards but I didn’t want to. I know all of this, but I still feel like I’m missing something.
It’s that fear that I’m going to get to my 40s and look back and feel like I’ve wasted my 20s. Just like me now, looking back and feeling like I’ve wasted my late teens and early twenties.
But everything that I’m doing now is everything I want and if it isn’t then I should change that. I just need to be honest about what it is that I truly want and separate that from what I feel is expected of a twenty seven year-old.
The hard part is reconciling the versions of myself – the past me to the present me to the future me. The past me doesn’t feel like the present me and I’m scared that the future me will be different again, and result in more disjointed feelings in identity and life.
Perhaps the only way that that can be avoided is if we were static, unchanging beings. But that’s not reality. People are always changing. I’m changing. I’m not who I was when I was younger, and I’m glad for that.
So maybe the reconciliation of the versions of me doesn’t come from being the same, but in making peace with the fact that I was a different person back then, so of course I will feel estranged from that girl, but to also be kinder to myself. I was learning then, as I am now. I was on a journey to where I am today and all those decisions that I regret now has in some way lead me to here.
The same goes for the future. It may be that I’ll look back and wish I had done more, but all the future mes need to respect the past mes and the decisions she made, that that was what she wanted at the time.
I’m dynamic, always changing, shifting. I will ever be static so there are bound to be differences in the way I interpret situations, experiences, in the ways I make decisions. And that’s okay.
“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
We talk about this a lot in English Lit, to look at past texts with kindness because we know things now, that they didn’t back then. It’s not fair to judge their actions in the past using our current knowledge. And maybe that applies with me too.
Past me doesn’t know what the present me knows now, so how would she have made decisions that align with what I now know? I need to be kinder to her. She was just doing her best, just as I am now.