Recently, I called "my" cab driver, Varoujan, to take me to my desired destination for a fun evening out. As usual, I sat in the front seat, applied a final coat of lip gloss, popped in a piece of gum and we pow-wowed about what was new since my last ride... likely the weekend before. All of a sudden, we were knee deep in one of our standard BFF conversations. Among other things discussed, we realized it was nearing our 6 months anniversary of our first cab ride together - the night that was also the first night I was completely moved into my new "all mine" place - the perfect little back house cottage of my 20-something dreams... the first night I called a cab to pick me up from this new and exciting address... the first night I felt like I was completely on my own, without anyone to check in with or answer to... the first night I hit the town feeling like ME... a ME that I never imagined possible...
Looking back, it feels like a twilight zone of just yesterday and a million miles away all at the exact same time. We were sitting on the bed in our apartment when it happened. All of a sudden, the world was uncontrollably collapsing around me. Everything I thought I knew was now unknown. Every reaction that I thought I would have to this situation was muted as I sat there unable to speak, unable to move, and unable to comprehend the feeling of everything coming to an end.
The next morning, nothing had changed. My eyes were still filled with tears, my head still clouded with fog, and my chest still crushed with heartbreak. I woke up early to make it to Lifeguard Tower 11 in time to meet with the Huggers Group II. I had been going to this AA group for a few weeks now to fulfill my DUI requirement from only a short time prior. Today was different than all the other days, though. Today, this was the only place in the world I wanted to be. I sat there, on the sand, surrounded by friendly faces who I knew would understand unlike anyone else, and listened to the discussions of hardship, addiction, lost love, and finding the way out of the darkness...
...And it hit me...
This is it.
My series of game changers was now spiraling out of control and it was my time to move onward and upward... I knew this now, for certain. Above all else, I needed to stop and take a step back; I needed to do what was best for myself, no matter how hard that may be; I needed to set new priorities and commit to them for good; I needed to handle my shit.
I left our home and moved back in with my parents who live conveniently close to my job that I had been commuting to. The change of scene was refreshing, and being surrounded by my uniquely entertaining parents kept me occupied initially. As the weeks passed though, I realized I needed space to continue my recoup process. For the first time in my life, I admitted to myself (and my mom who was not excited) that I needed space from people - time to just be with me. I had spent the last 24 years of my life around people, being the enthusiastic, lively and loud one in the group. It was finally time to take a break and take care of myself. It was embarrassing and saddening to realize further that I didn't even know myself! As I went from spending everyday with someone to being completely alone, I felt shockingly bored. Or at least, I thought it was boredom. In fact, it was the harsh reality setting in that I've always relied on people to keep me entertained and keep me entertaining in return. It was undeniable: my new membership to The Broken Hearts Club, plus being in my 20-somethings when I was still "free" to some extent was the PERFECT time to build a new friendship with myself and awareness of who I really am. So, I did...
I took baths
I discovered I enjoy candles
I started writing in a journal
I made exercise a consistent priority
I stopped eating out as much
I drank less alcohol
I tried new recipes in the kitchen
I went exploring
I reconnected with people who have had a positive influence on me & my life
I got outside more
I explored my creativity
I hung out by myself on Friday/Saturday night
I took a vacation
I watched less TV
I drank more water
I disciplined myself to meditate
I joined (a few worthy) organizations & committees around town
I took myself out on dates
I experimented to find my passions
I spent more time with family
I reflected on the issues that I carry from past experiences & relationships (romantic & otherwise)
I brainstormed exercises & activities to resolve those issues
I gave some overdue apologies
I expressed more gratitude
I made a deliberate effort to think more positively
I told the truth
I went for more walks
I bought myself flowers
I payed more attention
I said "Please" and "Thank You" more often
I learned to love myself
I forgave...myself & others
My process is never ending; It continues every moment and grows at every opportunity. Yet, the membership that so many of us share in The Broken Hearts Club is lifelong. It will not go away, no matter how much healing may happen, but it will get better with time. As my time passes, I've gotten better at prioritizing myself and my well being, I am more consistently healthy and active, I pay more attention to myself and others, and I respond more thoughtfully to the world around me.
During that same cab ride with Varoujan recently, he said something to me that stopped me in my tracks and really brought The Broken Hearts Club reality and my healing process to life. Out of no where, he turned to me and said,
"Listen, we are friends. You do not have to tell me. Someone broke your heart - I can see it in your eyes. Just be you - you are great."
Real - Simple - Honest
Just be you - you are great.