2014 was a pretty horrible year for a lot of people.
I don’t know what it was. Globally, a lot of tensions just seemed to come (almost) to a head: we had all that shit happen in Crimea, radical Islam took it to a whole new level (and that hasn’t stopped), the Republicans got a pretty good grip on power, school shootings are still on the rise, it was the warmest year on record… Oh, and Kim Jong Un freaked out over The Interview.
Anecdote-wise, the amount of friends I have who started a battle with cancer, were diagnosed with degenerative diseases, lost dear pets, or dealt with living situations from hell just skyrocketed. Several of my relatives nearly lost battles they’ve been fighting for a while, or started new ones.
Personally, my entire immediate support system destabilized over the course of 2014: Among other things that I won’t talk about on the blog yet, I lost my best friend of over a decade for absolutely no reason. He called me up while I was in the middle of those other things, told me he no longer thought we were friends, and that despite that he was going to be living with some relatives of mine who– unlike my apparently-selfish parents– wouldn’t be charging him rent.
Oh, and back in April my boyfriend cheated on me. That was really fun.
But it’s no longer 2014. So now we need to deal with the aftermath.
So Long and Thanks For All the Fish
For me, dealing with the aftermath meant moving halfway across the country. At the beginning of the month, I packed up my entire life and put it in a truck: my clothes, my books, several of my childhood things. All the paintings and mirrors and bits of furniture I’d been hope-chesting over the past few years found their way out of various storage places and got hauled through -23 Fahrenheit to Iowa.
My parents camped out in my new living room for a couple nights, helping me put together furniture and dealing with a couch that wouldn’t fit through the doors, and then I drove them to Dubuque and dropped them off and drove back to my apartment and I was alone.
I don’t really know anyone in my new city. I have my neighbor’s phone number and a few old college professors in the area, just in case I get into a bind, but even my Iowa friends aren’t really in hanging-out distance. When I dropped off my parents, I still had two weeks before starting work.
It’s terrifying. It’s lonely.
It’s exactly what I needed.
Life is a Series of Broken Bones
Sometimes when you break a bone, it heals badly. You’re left with the option of either dealing with the weird shape and the pain for the rest of your life, or re-breaking it and setting it so it heals properly.
Life does that a lot.
We take a lot of emotional hits. They’re good for us: they make us stronger. But sometimes you get hit with too much at once, or something heals poorly and afterwards, things aren’t what you need them to be. And that’s when you need to break the bone. If the breakup’s bad, if the fight’s not resolving itself, if the friendship’s toxic: go no-contact for a while. Tell whoever’s involved that you need some time to think and figure out what you want.
You don’t need to move across the country every time you break up with someone. But take a walk, take a drive, take a deep breath– and think. Have some time with yourself and figure out who you are without that person. Remind yourself that it’s okay to spend time in your own company. Don’t just be okay with being alone: enjoy it while you have the time. After all, you can break up with a bad S.O. or withdraw from a bad friendship.
Your own company’s the only person you’re really stuck with. Value that.
Easier Said Than Done…
I’m well aware. My generation in particular seems to be pretty self-critical for some reason. It’s easy to get stuck in your own head, easy to get sick of yourself. So down below in the comments, compliment yourself! No one’s gonna judge.
And if you’d like, write about times you’ve had to break the metaphorical bone.