Over the last few years, I’ve gotten pretty good at break ups. I’m not really sure if that’s something I should be proud of—given the fact I’ve had so many. But what was once a disastrous melodrama with months of heartache and pining, is now something I look at as the start of a new chapter.
My dating life has been full of unexpected twists and turns and I wrote about some of my hang ups during “31 Dates Before 31” in which I went on 31 dates to raise money for charity before my 31st birthday.
My dating resume is a decade-long novel, and sometimes I wish I had a clear answer for why I can’t figure this whole thing out. I’ve met the right guys at the wrong times. I’ve also met the wrong guys at the right times and it just took me a while to realize it. Through it all, I’ve learned that you need to be solid with yourself before you can really be with someone else.
“I just really thought this time it was going to work out,” I lamented to a friend after my boyfriend and I broke up last month.
My friend’s response:
“When you get into a relationship you always have to believe it’s going to work out. You can’t go in expecting it to go bad.”
I think part of the disappointment we feel when a relationship fails is how wrong we were. We go back and re-examine those red flags or try to identify ones we may have missed. How can I trust myself with the next person if I was so wrong about this one?
In order to make a relationship work, you need suspension of disbelief. The term, coined by poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge means that if a writer could infuse “human interest and a semblance of truth” into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgement and overlook the implausibility of the narrative. (thank you, Wikipedia)
I think relationships are just like this. Divorce rates prove that more often than not, they don’t work out. But you have to have a willing suspension of disbelief to give it a chance.
Getting over a break up is about regaining my optimism. It’s about picking myself up off the ground. It’s about climbing over a mountain of disappointment to get to back to that deliriously intoxicating view at the top. It’s about making peace with the past, acknowledging what that relationship brought into my life and closing that chapter so I can start another one.
And for me, nothing expedites that process like taking an epic trip abroad.
There are a lot of reasons I shouldn’t have bought a ticket to Ecuador the day after my break up. Like that whole goal to beef up my savings and be a responsible adult before booking another trip after my car bit the dust earlier this year.
But for me, this is what I need.
Taking a solo trip in the midst of a break up is not a way to escape reality. As I ride a mountain bike up a volcano for five days in May, I’m looking for a physical and mental challenge that will force me to dig deep into myself and find the perseverance to overcome obstacles in my life.
I want a tangible reminder that joy and self-reliance can be found when you go outside your comfort zone.
If I’ve learned anything it’s that relationships come and go, but there will always be mountains to climb. And the only way to get to the top of them is to keep climbing.