Starting Over…Again

Phew ok, I am done with the breakup series for a while. This week I want to talk about the awkward stage I was forced into as a result of said breakup.

If you’ve been following me for some time, you know that I was living in Calgary, Canada because that’s where my boyfriend was from. I had been working as a consultant in the software space and traveled frequently as a result. I had been trying to build a social life in a brand new place while I shuttled back and forth to the states for work and to see loved ones. On weekends, I would try and explore as much as possible. I had a couple of vacation type trips planned with my boyfriend and I basically knew what the next few months would look like. This was in January of this year.

Oh silly me. I should’ve known everything would go to shit the moment I got too comfortable. By the beginning of March, my relationship had ended, I was deeply unhappy at work, and I had left Canada and had no idea what to do anymore.

Where did I go? Luckily, I’m in a position where I have a supportive safety net – my family. Even though I’m grateful to have this, it is still hard for me to admit because I prefer to view myself as self-sufficient, and independent, and having to go back to my parents’ house felt like taking a few steps backward. Additionally, I was wallowing in resentment for a bit, because my boyfriend’s life didn’t really have to change at all. He got to keep on living in the same city, with the same apartment, and see the same people as before. I felt like my life was the one that was upended as a result of all of this. I was feeling sorry for myself and was grumpy that I was the one who had to move and change yet again.

But there’s no use in feeling tragic for myself.

For the first few weeks after I left Canada, I was feeling pretty awful. On top of the resentment I was feeling, I felt alone, confused, and lost. I didn’t know where I should move, what kinds of career options I should pursue, or how I should start over. I was afraid to commit to any city, leasing agreement, or job opportunity. For a hot second there, I was paralyzed by the fact that I hadn’t planned for any of this and now I wasn’t sure how to proceed.

I kept doing my job, hung out with my parents, and basically didn’t do anything else. I didn’t even tell most of my friends from my hometown that I was back because I didn’t know how to face them. Do I have to tell the whole breakup story over again? Are they going to see me as a failure? I just didn’t want to deal with it.

This was a pretty rough period, but when I look back now, it only lasted about three weeks. Because since then – well, let’s just say I’m not feeling quite as stuck anymore.

In the last two weeks, I accepted a new job offer that pays more and means I don’t have to travel. I resigned from my current job (effective at the end of this month). I applied for an apartment in downtown Chicago and now I’m just focusing on finishing strong at my current job and planning for my trip to Japan next month.

And in total, it’s only been about 5 weeks since I left Canada in the first place. It only took five weeks to go from not knowing at all what to do, to knowing exactly what’s next.

This may not seem like a big deal to some of you reading this but I’m a hardcore planner, and having my plans wrecked by my relationship was actually a pretty big blow to my self-esteem. My ability to think ahead, make decisions, act accordingly, and deliver on my promises is a huge part of my identity that I felt like I had lost for those first few weeks after leaving. I wasn’t used to feeling lost or confused or unsure. Every other move in my life thus far had been calculated and thought through beforehand so even though change was uncomfortable, it was planned. The intentionality of my previous changes made them all the more bearable.

This was a new experience for me in the sense that I hadn’t sought it out at all and still needed to find a way to cope with it. And cope I did. There’s only so long you can feel sorry for yourself before you just start making moves to make things better. BUT, I will say that the hard part was good for me to go through. If you find yourself in a period of being lost or unsure of yourself, embrace it. Use it to think through different options, ask trusted people in your life what they think, explore – because good things really can come from unexpected situations.

This is a picture of a cactus at the Getty Museum in LA. I officially have no more recent photos of myself suitable for posting here so enjoy.

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