As I opened the door to my apartment I realized that life as I knew it was changed forever. Things that had held a certain space for years were gone. Pictures torn from the wall, the space where the television sat was now empty, draws pulled open and pieces of my heart spilled all over the floor.
I knew this moment was coming. I had orchestrated the entire destruction. I made the poor choices which lead to it's ultimate crumbling. I stood face to face with what I knew I wanted and I didn't know how to take that first step forward. He was gone. He was really gone. I knew it was going to happen but I wasn't prepared for how it was going to feel.
We had spent years together, not only as a couple but co-workers. Almost every minute of every day we were with each other. All of that was over now. I had to pick up the pieces of my life and put them back together. I had no idea how to do this.
During our years together we had many happy moments filled with deep laughter and love. But like all couples we also had those darker days. As our length of time together grew those darker days were more often and the laughter less and less. I knew I couldn't go on like this forever. I needed more from life. More sunshine. More laughter. More trust. More kindness.
I had no idea how to live life as a single twenty something. I never lived on my own and always feared doing so. Yet there I was standing in my apartment surrounded by only my things and I knew that I had two choices. I could crumble in the face of this destruction. I could fall apart and let the world swallow me whole or I could pick up the pieces and find my way back to myself.
During my relationship with him I lost who I was. I was going through the motions of life but I wasn't really living. There was no passion, very little joy, and many moments of incredible despair. This wasn't the way my life was meant to be. I felt that in my heart and I knew that now was the moment for me to find who I am.
I was no longer going to rely on someone else to make me happy. I was going to find it myself. To do this I knew I had to do something that I really struggled with; putting myself first. I had to listen deeply to what I wanted. I had to unearth my passions and find out what really ignited my spark.
I decided to live in a full experimental phase. Trying anything and everything that interested me. Hikes in the woods, days spent painting, a 50 mile bike ride, hours and hours spent in the bookstore or library. If I wanted to do it, I did. If I didn't, I said no.
Listening to your heart is one of the best things you can ever do for yourself!
It took me awhile to learn how to listen to my heart and to get up the courage to follow it's voice. It wasn't easy for me to put myself first and choose what I really wanted. There were many moments that I just wanted to crumble. It was work, so much work navigating this path to happiness. There were times when I felt like I wasn't cut out for it. Moment spent sobbing in bed wondering what I got myself into.
There were times when I would slide back into old patterns but I never gave up. I kept trying, even when I failed. Things don't get handed to us. I knew I had to show up day after day and put in the hard work. It is was only then that I was able to unearth the beauty hidden below the surface. It was there all along, but I never gave it a chance to shine. Through the hard work and the struggle it came out. Had I choose not to find my own happy I never would have unearthed it.
Life isn't always easy. But it is how we choose to deal with the hard times that shape us. How do you show up when the struggle get's real? How do you unearth the beauty admits the heartache and pain? How do you choose happy?