When a relationship ends, we forget that the only objective available to us isn’t to get right back into another one. We see a huge, gaping hole waiting to be filled and we assume that it has to be someone else’s mind and heart and spirit that must fit perfectly inside of it. That we’ll just be a little bit empty or a little bit lonely or a little bit undone until we meet someone new – and even if we’re okay with that, it’s a problematic way of looking at things.
Because here’s the truth about that hole – it’s there. It’s real. It’s begging to be filled (spare me the innuendo). But it isn’t in the shape of someone else, it’s simply in the shape of what they offered us – be that stability, excitement, validation or understanding. There are an infinite number of activities, an infinite number of projects, an infinite number of ways we could fill that empty space that someone else left. And so few of those ways involve falling back in love.
We forget, all too easily, that there’s a whole world out there to be explored. That there are more people to meet, experiences to have and lives to lead than we will ever have time to fully take hold of. So instead of moping over one measly person in a world of seven billion, here are 30 awesome alternatives that you can take on all by yourself.
1. Learn a foreign language. Get a language app or a conversation partner or a bilingual dictionary and force your mind to twist itself into a brand new way of comprehending other people.
2. Move to a far-away country for an indefinite period of time. Come back when you feel like it, or never come back at all.
3. Get a motorcycle license. Rent a motorcycle and drive it around town on the days you want to feel like a badass.
4. Get into the best shape of your life. Appreciate your body not just for the way it looks through someone else’s eyes, but for the way it feels to you. Learn your new physical limits, and then push them again and again.
5. Go visit a friend who’s moved away – the one you keep saying you’ll visit but never actually do.
6. Learn to play an instrument. Devote an hour a day to practicing and watch yourself improve in leaps and bounds. Make a Youtube channel if you feel so inspired. Connect with other artists and work your way into a new community.
7. Volunteer somewhere. If you’re tired of the world inside your own mind, start devoting your time to a cause that doesn’t involve you. Realize that there’s an entire Universe outside of your house and that it needs your help.
8. Learn to scuba dive or rock climb or paraglide. Whichever makes you feel the coolest.
9. Become financially independent (if you’re currently not). Get a part time job and pay your debts down if you have them. Realize that money doesn’t buy happiness but it sure does buy peace of mind and that’s a similar concept.
10. Take up Yoga. Become one of those people who Instagrams yourself posing on a cliff side at sunset and feel absolutely zero shame about it.
11. Write a book. Write a joke book or a fiction novel or a memoir. Write the story that’s always been inside of you, taking up residence under your skin, because we all have one in us to tell.
12. Go back to school. Get a good education from whatever school you’re able to go to, without worrying about how far away from someone else you have to move.
13. Buy a onesie and big, huge mug to fill with tea and learn to comfort yourself on the nights when no one else is there to comfort you.
14. Sleep around if that is what you want to do. Be safe, but not sorry.
15. Plan your future without restraint. Daydream about quitting your job to go travel. Speculate over changing your career on a whim. Allow your imagination to run wild and realize that there’s not a lot stopping you from making those dreams a reality.
16. Make a big, huge, glaring mistake. Invest money in something foolish. Date a person who’s horribly wrong for you. Fall flat down on your face and realize that you can still pick yourself back up. That you’re accountable to only yourself. And that you still have so much time to make things right.
17. Go home and spend some serious time with your family. Get to know them as people, as adults and as friends.
18. Go out with friends and stay up until the sun rises. You have no one to report to but yourself so let the good times roll and for one night, just don’t worry about tomorrow.
19. Sleep spread eagle across the bed.
20. Pick a topic you’ve always been interested in, go to your local library and check out all of the books you can find on that topic. Read them all. Become an expert. Why not.
21. Get intimate with your own body. Learn to give yourself an orgasm unlike anyone else has ever been able to.
22. Join a meet-up group that revolves around an activity you’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t made time for yet. Make friends who share your interest and let the social commitment keep you coming back to continue exploring it.
23. Open up your home to couchsurfers. If you can’t afford to travel, live vicariously through their experiences and make friends from around the world.
24. Learn to dance. Take ballroom dancing or jazz lessons or pole dancing classes. Keep your body moving to whatever beat inspires you.
25. Redecorate your house, apartment or room. Paint it that color you never dared to. Buy that piece of furniture you always had your eye on. Enjoy your space, now that it’s all your own.
26. Train for a marathon. Then run it.
27. Learn to cook three meals really well. Impress friends with a rotation of those three dishes for basically the rest of your life.
28. Identify one thing you’re terrified of and go do it. If it’s flying, take a flight lesson. If it’s love, express your affection to somebody. Don’t worry about whether or not it’s going to work out – just do it for the sake of it, to know that you have challenged yourself.
29. Practice meditation. Get comfortable being alone with your thoughts and listen to what they’re trying to tell you.
30. Pick every trait you desire in a partner and cultivate them in yourself. There’s one person you’re definitely spending the rest of your life with and it’s you. So make yourself into one hell of a companion.