The second time you get your heart broken, you’re going to be annoyed.
You already went through your first heartbreak: You know, that horrible stretch of time where you thought that things would never be okay again. You already relished in the depths of self-pity and engaged in the obligatory six-month period of crying over Adele songs in the shower. Your first heartbreak knocked the wind out of you, but then a miracle happened — you recovered! You came out the other side! You picked yourself up off the ground and with time, you even learned to love again.
Now you know that there’s another side to all of it. You are convinced that you shouldn’t have to go through all that shitty heartbreak stuff again.
“Screw those unproductive months of guzzling wine and cradling old pictures!” you’ll announce. “I get to bypass all of that because I’m older and wiser now.”
You’re going to jump into things with lightening speed after your second heartbreak. You’ll make an OKCupid account and go on three dates every day for a week. You’re going to re-decorate your apartment with vehemence. You’re going to call up your girlfriends and tell them how much you love being single. You are taking advantage of your newfound independence. You are out there and you’re loving it.
The second time you get your heart broken, you will not succumb to old vices. “Sorry heart,” you’ll scoff. “I’m responsible and I have a job to go to. No staying up until 3am listening to Taylor Swift songs for you!”
The second time around, your emotional immune system will protect you with vigor. You will fear nothing more than becoming the mess you once were. You will fight passionately to keep yourself together, only to eventually realize that not all forms of unraveling are blatant.
You see, the second time you get your heart broken, it’s going to hurt. It will hurt in a completely and utterly different way than it hurt the first time, but it’s going to be pain all the same. It is a subtler pain. A refined pain. It’s almost as if heartbreak grew up right alongside you, and agreed to play on adult terms, though still demanding to be felt.
“Okay,” Heartache will tell you. “I won’t keep you up with Taylor Swift music tonight but I am going to ride on the bus with you tomorrow.”
And so it will go. Heartache will let you take out the garbage and pay your bills on time. It won’t interfere with your laundry and it will even let you go out on the odd date.
But it will be there.
Heartache will be there when you watch the moving truck pull away from the first apartment you shared with a significant other. When you buy groceries for one for the first time in years. When you attend a friend’s wedding alone and when you catch that first glimpse of your old lover on the street, months after you’d stopped scanning the crowds for them. Heartache will be there in a way that feels almost comforting with time. It is like welcoming an old but well-known friend. A friend who’s grown up since you met them. A friend who mirrors the ways in which you yourself have changed.
The second time you get your heart broken, you will learn to be patient with yourself. You are going to want to fight the way things feel and that’s okay. It means you care enough about yourself to not want to fall apart. It means you are older and stronger and smarter, but your heart is still susceptible to beatings. It simply means you’re human. It means that you’re still able to feel.
The second time it happens, you’ll grow. You’ll learn to appreciate solitude again, because you have to. You’ll learn to hold your own hand through chaos, because you don’t have another hand to hold. You’ll watch yourself transform in ways that you never expected, and you’ll realize that those ways aren’t so bad. That maybe you did have a few things left to work through. That maybe the future you didn’t plan looks even brighter than the future you did.
The second time you get your heart broken, it will be a whole different ball game. But just like the first time, you’ll eventually make it through to the other side. And maybe, one day, you’ll even learn to love all over again.