2016 was shaping up to be one of the best years of my life so far. I travelled the world, went on some incredible adventures, cultivated wonderful friendships, learnt new skills and took a huge step towards a big love life goal. But in August my world came crashing down around me overnight and I was left trying to pick up the pieces of my life that had been pulled out from beneath my feet and shattered on the floor.
I was left totally broken, confused and not really knowing what to do, where to go or quite how to feel. The future that had been mapped out in front of my eyes was gone, I’d lost all control and what felt for a long time like all meaning as well. But with the help of my parents and my incredible friends I started to breath again and slowly re-build my foundations until I was able to stand, look around and say ‘Ok. What’s Next’.
When something like this happens you feel as if you’ll never be happy again, like all hope is lost, like you’ll never be whole. But over the last four months I’ve grown more than I have in my entire 28 years and I now feel the strongest version of me there’s ever been.
The usual cliches find their way to you from so many angles when others attempt comfort, and you find yourself repeating them over and over to try and convince yourself too. I’d repeat ‘It’s a good job I found out now before I married him!’ and add ‘…of course it would have been better if he hadn’t done it at all…’ and nervously laugh to cover up my sadness and shame. But now, now I don’t bother with that last sentence because (and hold onto your reading glasses for this one)…
I’m glad I was cheated on.
The second half of last year was the worst thing I’ve experienced so far in my adult life but I’m glad it happened. I sometimes feel as if we can become complacent, naive, a little indestructible in life when everything goes our way. I often found myself in the quiet times feeling incredibly grateful but a little blasé about how great life was and how things just seemed to fall into place. It wasn’t until everything fell apart that I realised my true potential, my desires and my strength.
I wrote lists. Lots of lists. And it was a mundane Tuesday locked in my parent’s spare room when I started the list called ‘What I’ve Done’. I realised that over the last three years I’ve achieved so much, I’ve done so much, I’ve grown so much and you know what? It’s all been me. It was that moment that I decided to take back control and not to let this quite frankly total shit of a situation beat me. I picked myself up and I made a plan.
Fast forward over 4 months and here we are. At the start of a brand new year with my entire life ahead of me. I have a beautiful home that I’m so proud of and love to welcome people into. A small group of incredible humans I call friends that I had no idea were capable of such patience and kindness. Two parents who love me more than life itself and who I’m as closer to now than I have ever been before. And me. A new version of me that’s stronger, more independent, calmer, less stressed, less worried and so excited for what comes next.
A new version of me that lives for right now instead of 6 months ahead. A new version of me that is a lot more cautious with her heart, of course, but a version that is open to finding the right person to build a future with despite the bruises left from my life before.
I do believe everything happens for a reason, that there are always lessons to be learned and what will be will be. The life I was living enabled me to achieve so much without realising I was doing it all on my own, and there were a lot of happy times. But now, now I have the strongest foundations a woman could have and a determination that burns brighter than ever before.
I’m ready to start living again and to make my life the best life it can be. Bring it on 2017.
Let’s do this.