Friday, February 13, 2015

Be Happy Anyway

The two years before I met my husband were a period of intense growth for me.

I had finally broken it off with my fiancé of eight years (after four years of questioning the relationship). It took six months or so to get him moved out and detangled (for the most part) from my life. I took a promotion at work the week before the breakup, which was a huge blessing, because I was working more hours and handling more stresses than ever before, and it kept me very busy. I actually cried more leaving my "work husband" to take my own store than I did over the end of the relationship. I hope that does more to show that it was long overdue than to portray me as heartless.

I was on my own for the first time in my whole life. Supporting myself. Living alone in an absolutely charming little one room flat nestled in the side of a hill- the maid's quarters of a big historic house with grounds the sprawled over the hilltop and trees older than my grandparents. I had to learn how to take care of myself. How to be alone.

After living at home (as the eldest of eight kids) and with my fiancé for so long, it was both exhilarating and terrifying to be free, to stand on my own two feet, to learn to love the silence.

I went through periods of INTENSE loneliness. I had my friends and family and coworkers to interact with, of course. But I wasn't sharing my daily space with anyone- and it was new and weird.

I hooked up with a guy who was absolutely terrible for me- we worked together every day, he had a girlfriend and openly cheated on her, and was a total slimeball. I was craving close connection so badly, I tried to find it with him. That phase dragged out longer than I want to admit, with me begging him to leave his girlfriend to be with me, him playing us both, me deciding he could sod off and doing my best to ignore him. Finally I was transferred to another store and had a new set of challenges, a new boss (bosses are a whole other blog post for another time), and distance from the scumbag.

After about five months at my new work spot, I started feeling a shift. I had still been experiencing the debilitating loneliness and depression. And I was tired of it!

I started thinking to myself, "What if I never find love again? What if I never have the experience of finding 'the One'?" And I looked around at my life and started seeing love everywhere. Not in a jealous way, seeing all of the couples who had what I wanted. In a grateful way, noticing all of the different types of love in my own life. Different sorts of friends, dear family members, coworkers... I started realizing that my life was already overflowing with so many kinds of love, and so many opportunities for me to show love and care for others!

The answer to that question (which changed to "What if I am never in a long term, happy relationship?") became "I'll be happy anyway!"

That answer and that outlook changed my life! It all culminated about three weeks before I met the man I am now sharing my life with. It was Christmas, I couldn't afford to visit my family, and I was "alone." But I had a happy Christmas anyway! I found ways to enjoy myself, sink restfully into the solitude, and reach out to the people in my life I cared about. I breathed so many sighs of relief that week. I finally felt free. Free of wasting energy focusing on something that I wanted but thought I couldn't have. I let it go. I decided I was going to have a happy life, regardless of my romantic status.

And then, two weeks after that week of my major shift, I walked over to my favorite bar on my work break for dinner. I talked to the people around me, because why not? This dude walked in, took a seat catty corner to mine, and asked me "What's good here?" And the rest is our love story, which I'll save for another time.

I always tease my husband that I had finally found happiness and then he came along and "ruined everything." Two weeks seems a short time to bask in a life changing realization like I had. I suppose I had been asking for him for so long, I had so much momentum built up behind my desire for a partner, that the resistance I released by letting go of my unhappiness brought him right to me, no time to waste!

The point of this post is that my "I'll be happy anyway" epiphany applies to EVERY aspect of life. And I intend to learn to apply it.

{image: My Kablarge Twin, Jeff, goofing around while we attempted to jam out on the cello and piano during Christmas break. What is a Kablarge Twin, you might ask? That's a whole 'other post, my friends. Isn't he a charming bugger? And definitely one of the best examples I know of being happy no matter the circumstances.}

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