On January 1st, 2016 I found myself hungover from an amazing Great Gatsby-themed party where I celebrated NYE and my anniversary with Max (and won the prize for best costume – female!), and full of expectations for the new year after I had quit my job to redefine my purpose in life. Smack dab in the middle of a course to help me with that, I had great plans of starting my own business, writing a book, organizing events and turning travel into a way of live. I also dreamed of settling down and getting a new and bigger place in a different city together.
This year I woke up in the city I grew up in, and where I haven’t lived in a very long time; without a hangover this time – or a clear idea of my future. Mostly though, I woke up alone. A few weeks back Max and I decided to call it quits, just in time for the holidays and my 31st birthday. I had not seen it coming, I truly believed that we were it: we were going to be together until the end. So it has been a strange realization that since we broke up, I haven’t been sad. I do not feel heartbroken, or like the world that I’ve carefully created for myself has been brutally demolished. I haven’t even cried.
Instead, I feel like I have been standing in a marsh just before dawn, and now the sun is breaking through the thick mist and drying out the ground so that I can see my surroundings and move my feet again. There’s no path, I have no idea which way to go, but at least I can go. The sun is on my face, and it doesn’t matter what direction my feet take me. Every way will bring me somewhere that’s not here. And that feels pretty okay. In fact, I think that what I’m feeling is relieve.
Sure, although we are very different, we could have made it work. But that would have meant that we both would have had to give in, and neither of us were willing to do so enough. Not right now. The ribbons of the lives we want aren’t wrapped tightly enough around us yet. Unwrapping a small piece to make space for the other’s need would have unraveled everything. And we weren’t willing to do that.
At the same time, we also didn’t consciously realize what was happening. And so for the past year, although there was a lot of love and fun, we’ve been dragging each other down. My restlessness and talk of adventure and leaps of faith, of bright things always just around the corner, my aversion to planning… All these things brought him stress to the point of near-burnout. In turn, his need for security, control and a plan to follow, and his way of organizing the unknown out of each would-be adventure threw me in a haze of lethargy. I took on several small jobs and followed zero dreams, not being able to really commit myself to anything because that would be admitting that this was it. And I couldn’t. This 9 to 5 live, this suburban appartement, this small-town city… I didn’t want that to be it.
Maybe, if we had only realized that we were pushing each other further and further apart, we would have been able to turn it around. But now it has come so far that there is no room for anyone else until we stand firmly on our own feet again. I love that we still like each other, love even. There is and will be no hate, no fighting, no finger-pointing of who’s been in the wrong. Just the realization that right now as a couple, we’re not helping each other to be the best we can be. That the best we can do to help both of us reach our potential, is to take some distance. And that that’s okay.