This weekend, I had my first date in two years. I was terrified/nervous/excited/freaked out for the entire week leading up to the big event. It wasn’t just my first date in two years, it was the fact that I hadn’t even really considered anyone since The Big Breakup of 2009.
For years, I’ve had people telling me that I have to “get back in the game,” to post multiple online profiles, to juggle dates, to apply myself. I’m a believer in taking risks, in betting on yourself, in doing what it takes to make yourself happy. But I’m also a big believer in not doing things before you’re ready, and for me that meant taking some time off to make sure that I was all together before I brought anyone into my space, even just for coffee.
I made the decision then to go on an archeological dig of my soul. I wanted to weave my way back, to figure out why I made the types of choices I made in relationships. I also wanted to focus on doing something I had never done before, which was to make the relationship with myself the priority. I went about pulling my life together, trying to make it as big and beautiful as I could. I didn’t want it to be all about the other people in my life anymore. I wanted to build a life that was so soulful and happy that it would only attract other soulful and happy people.
The years I took to heal weren’t easy. It’s not easy to be alone that long, watching your friends get into and out of relationships. At times, it got really tough. But, slowly but surely, while I was building this life on my own, something amazing happened: my heart grew back. Which was the big revelation when I decided to go on another date. As I sat there laughing and having a really great time with a really great guy, I realized that not only had I healed, I was whole.
For anyone out there with a broken heart, for every person who is convinced that when the door shut on that last relationship that it was your only chance at happiness, I’m here to tell you that the heart grows back. If you give it some time, the pain is replaced by pleasure, the laughter comes easily and you can know joy. All those people who tell you to focus on yourself and to live your life? Hearing that advice SUCKS, but it’s so dead on point. It has nothing to do with who you’re dating: you have to fill yourself up first.
The surprise discovery of being together as a whole person was such a joy. If you’ve been where I was and you’re wondering whether to get back out there, I can only advise that if you do it when you’re whole and happy, it’s so much more fun. Take the time to live life well. You’ll be surprised at how much more fun it is.