A few years before Eat, Pray, Love became every woman’s break-up mantra and feel good story of year, there was Carol. Leaving an engagement and a promising future of married life in the dust, Carol took a chance at life over the stability of satisfactory love. The hows and why’s leading to the end of her relationship are irrelevant. We all know the end of coupledom can be brutalizing at best, irrespective of who throws down the gauntlet. Anyone who has been through it, jumped in with both feet only to find the experience didn’t turn out quite the way they planned, knows the recovery is a tough bag.
While the self reflection, endless chats with friends and sometimes sleepless nights go hand in hand with the experience of lost love, it doesn’t always have to be a torture grind involving a permanent move to the corner of Hurt and Bitterness.
And lucky for Carol, it didn’t.
One afternoon, I called her up only to catch her breathless on the other end.
What are you doing?
She had signed up for sailing lessons that took her through the summer and forced her out onto the water. In her mind, it was less time spent ruminating and ˜feeling’ and more time spent in a healthy distraction. A perfect activity when she needed a mental break.
I also noticed she stopped talking about “the break-up”. Once she got it out of her system, it was out and not a lot of time was spent analysing what went wrong. For her, it didn’t really matter. The relationship was over and it was now her time to focus on what was ahead rather than what once was.
She also avoided jumping into the dating game and took time to discover and pursue her interests. When her relationship ended, one of the most striking things she identified was she didn’t know what she enjoyed doing. There hadn’t been a whole lot of free time to learn about her likes and dislikes. Now was her time to figure it all out.
More of a home-body at heart, the post-break up Carol was up for everything. Her own personal mantra turned into yes whenever she was invited to do something. This way, she figured, she was adding to her own story one experience at a time.
I can’t say she came out unscathed and didn’t carry some residual break-up misery with her for awhile. What I can say is she grabbed her freedom, learned a heck of a lot about herself and had fun along the way. Unconventional? Yes. Also happens to be the best recovery I’ve seen.