I'm still processing everything that's happened over the past 18 months, and probably will always have it churning in the back of my mind. It's the curse of being a problem solver, I'm afraid.
I'll never stop wondering if I could have done things differently, if there was something crucial that I missed. This doesn't mean I'm not moving on with my life.
I've done some online dating over the past 18 months, and met some nice, interesting people. I've also met quite a few (and heard stories) that explain the age old question, "Why are you single?" With some people, it's pretty obvious right away. Sadly, those are the people who will seldom take the credit/blame for their own state. Their target partner is too choosy, too focused on xyz or, by favorite, doesn't know what they really need.
In the past 18 months I've been to Boston, MA, Vancouver, BC, Edinburgh, London and Paris.
I always feel a fresh sense of self when I travel, especially to a new place, and hope to do a lot more.
This is a big one. I've been a creative a person all my life. I can't remember a time when I didn't make things. Cars for my Barbies out of shoes boxes and trim reels from the fabric store, clothes for dolls and pets, sock puppets and cardboard houses for the kids I babysat. Up until about 6 months, I wasn't do much creating. I was too much on edge, anxious, mostly from being in a "relationship" that had me constantly wondering where I stood and feeling like the other woman (looooong story there).
Then I met someone who left no doubt whatsoever where he stood and what I mean to him. I don't believe in fairy tales or happily ever after, but I do believe in being completely honest and direct about what you want, what you can handle and what you are willing to give.
When I was able to get back into my studio and create, completely immerse myself in what I was working on, I knew things has shifted dramatically. It has so much to do with the person I'm in a relationship, but equally to do with the person I am NOT in a relationship with. Meaning, being with the right person is wonderful. Being alone is still far better than being with the wrong person.
I've grown closer to my friends, who have been fantastic and more supportive than I could even have hoped for.
I've loved people who didn't deserve it, and learned that whether someone is ready to hear it, I must tell them how I feel. I will never again wait to say those words in fear that I won't hear them back. Love is not something to offer as a trade. You have to give it freely, when you feel it. If the recipient can't handle hearing it, you need to move on. Don't waste your time with anyone who isn't ready or able to be loved by you.
Only animal people will understand this, but I've fallen so deeply in love with my dog. Gabby is a special soul and I know I'd have gone off the deep end by now if I didn't have her for a constant companion. She makes me laugh and feel loved every day.
I love myself more. My days of skinny are long over, and I'm squishier than I'd like to be, but I have more confidence now that I ever did when I had trouble finding jeans small enough to fit me (I know, I hate my younger self for that, too).
I have finally learned that old lesson that confidence, kindness and sincerity are more attractive than good looks.
I hope my adventures are entertaining and inspiring to someone.