Officially, my love cleanse started on Friday, May 25. That means that Saturday, June 23 (tomorrow) is officially Day 30. (In actuality, my 30 days started mid-may; if you've seen posts on twitter or facebook, you know that I have started dating again. More to come.)
So - it's okay to start dating again. But before I talk about that....
What did I learn?
I learned that I need to stop holding on to the past, or worrying about the future. I put too much emphasis on breaking up my life into segments - before and after a relationship, for example. I need to start looking at life as a complete series of ups and downs. Yes, I was up. Yes, right now, I'm down. Yes, I'll be up again. Stop looking at the before and after. Worry less about what was, and concentrate on what is.
I learned that it's okay to be sad. That there's a process, and it takes time to grieve when you suffer loss. I learned that I'm strong enough to pick myself up - and that I have amazing friends who will help me when I can't do it on my own.
I learned that it's okay to let him boost your ego a little - it's even a little normal. But at the end of the day, you really need to be able to remind yourself how fabulous you are. Turns out - I'm pretty fabulous. I'm glad I took some time to remind myself.
I learned that sometimes, it really is about the other person. That no matter how much you love someone, or how hard you try, if that person doesn't want to work on a relationship - it wasn't meant to be. And that's okay, even if it does hurt to accept.
I learned that I have pretty good instincts, and I should probably listen to them more. I really need to trust when I see a red flag, and learn to speak my mind about those concerns.
I was reminded that just because a relationship didn't work doesn't mean it was necessarily bad, or that he was a bad person. It just didn't work - and that's okay.
I learned that sometimes, you need to embrace your baggage; make it work for you instead of against you. Use it to figure out what works for you and what doesn't. In the end, your baggage can help you build a good relationship, not ruin one.
I learned that no matter how tough it is to be alone, sometimes it's exactly what you need. I was reminded that being alone isn't the same as being lonely. When you fill your life with love and laughter and purpose - you're never lonely.
I expect I'll go through this again; I don't think I'm done with this journey called "being single" or "dating." Will it hurt to have my heart broken again? Yes. Do I want that? Absolutely not - and I don't want to break any hearts, either.
But I learned that I want to be in love. I want a relationship; someone special with whom I can share my life. I learned that looking for that can be painful - but it can also be absolutely wonderful.
And I'm not afraid to try.