Immune system

Yesterday marked the end of the best relationship I have ever had. I spent most of the day wandering around in a state of depression, I’m not going to lie. It was hard. I was mourning the last several months. Nearly a year of feeling so connection, so accepted, and incredibly happy.

We parted ways, but we didn’t fight, argue, blame, or say anything nasty to each other. We had reached the Rubicon and this is why you date people, so you can see what you are willing to put up with for the rest of your lives or not. You get to see whether or not things will work out on the long term. I won’t get into it, but we had some serious and lengthy discussion, and ending things was the right thing.

I’ve been through breakups before. The pain center of your brain is firing. The fight or flight center, the amygdala, is working overtime. 70% of the amygdala deals with negative thoughts because being aware of things that can kill you or cause you pain is what keeps you alive when sabertooth cats and direwolves are hunting you. We are the leftovers of ice age megafauna.

Previous breakups for me were devastating. I went through many stages of mourning, again and again, sometimes for several months. For the last two years, I have been working on myself. In that short time I went from a highly dysfunctional relationship which ended without any explanation as to why. It was shaded with lies, gaslighting, push-pull, and ultimatums. In the end, it just fizzled out and I kept expecting it to start all over again just like it had for years. It didn’t. I made myself let go. I was single. Lonely. Then I went a little crazy. I traveled by myself. I pushed my comfort zones and boundaries and started to wake up. And one day when I decided the path I was headed down was empty, I decided to start cutting ties to some people. I made the conscious effort to be the man I always wanted to be.

Two or three weeks later, I was centered, and content with being alone but open to the idea of finding someone nice. I met the woman I would spend the next ten months with. She was better than anything I could have ever expected. Smart, wise, sexy, kind, generous, and so many other amazing attributes I could list all day long. A recovering co-dependent herself, she had also done the work. She had gotten to the point where she was comfortable being alone too. She didn’t need a man to define her.

It was an amazing ten months. Healthy. Happy. Fulfilling. I always trusted her and I still do. I have a theory that the best people come into your life when you are at your best.

We reached a crossroads. The decisions made at that moment did not mar the ten months before. I carry no resentment, only the sadness of loss. Mourning the past, present, and a future that could have been. So many plans. A lot of this was out of our hands. The pandemic, the constant fear, the only thing to report every day when you shelter in place is the negativity going on around you. It starts to eat at you. It has been eating at everyone.

But today, the day after, I woke up to a very strange feeling. Yesterday I had that moment when I woke up and everything was fine. Then it all came rushing back in to me. The ebb and flow of the tide of grief filled me. I felt rough. I felt the old amygdala working overtime. Today, I woke up and fully understood what had happened. Where things were now. I felt a strange sensation I have never experienced after a breakup: equilibrium.

In the past it was often relief, or panic, or emptiness. I would look down the long road ahead and just think, “I’m always going to be alone.” Today, loneliness isn’t a factor. On my “journey” (and I’m kinda getting sick of the amount of Woo-woo people attach to that word), I have put in the work to be healthy. To make and accept good boundaries with myself and others. Today I’m not looking at a road ahead of being lonely. I have my own company. I have my son. I have my writing. Friends and family. And I have the possibility for many new experiences that are yet to happen.

Today I am looking at a long road ahead of working for myself instead of a shitty master at a job that throws 18 years into the gutter and all the knowledge I have with it. I get to do what I’ve always wanted to do! I get to write. I have the opportunity. I have the talent. And here’s the bittersweet truth of it: now I have a lot more time to focus on it now.

Everything happens for a reason, and if that isn’t true, then when things happen, it’s up to you to give them purpose.

These are the benefits of working on yourself. You aren’t racing to the next thing, because in my experience, I haven’t seen better. I was lucky and I was even luckier to find someone at this level of mental health. She knew her boundaries too. There’s nothing wrong with that. I can’t help but love her more for it.

So today is a new beginning, and I have a lot of work to do.

  • First goal: don’t starve.
  • Second goal: get good at what I’m doing. Thrive.
  • Third goal: Toyota 4Runner. Graphite or dark blue.

As you can see the success curve gets steep pretty quickly.

I think even though I have lost someone who was the bestest I have ever met, it hurts a lot less today than any sad choices I have said goodbye to in the past. I think this is what happens when you take care of yourself and have a healthy immune system (relationship wise). The pathogens of pain are quickly dispersed by the antibodies you carry. The way you respond, the lessons you have learned, and the peace you find within yourself. This time, the loss was much greater, but I don’t feel like I’m dying. I feel like I learned a lot, I felt loved and seen for exactly who I am for the first time in my life. I am happy still. I am loved…even by myself.