Life’s harshest realities are that time moves forward, and good things often come to an end. Summer turns to fall, childhood turns to old age, love turns to loss. It is often hard to accept that our daily lives will not always be routine, that they will be rocked by earthquakes that leave fissures on our hearts. We spend so much time planning what our futures ought to look like, that we forget to take these into account.
In my short eighteen years on this planet, I have experience a multitude of earthquakes, literal and figurative. Luckily, living in southern California has taught me how to navigate life on the fault line.
Heartbreak is a funny thing. It hits you like a sickness, makes you sweat and shake. It takes away your appetite and makes it hard to breathe, yet there is no over the counter product that can take it away. No prescription scrawled in messy doctor’s handwriting can fix it.
I’ve had my heart broken twice. Sadly, it never gets easier. You could have your heart broken a thousand times and it still wouldn’t get easier. It’s simple, losing someone who you thought would stick around forever, or at least for a while, hurts. It just hurts.
First you question whether or not it actually happened. You pinch yourself, splash some cold water on your face, anything to try and wake you up from the nightmare you must be having. You lie on your bed and stare at the ceiling, replaying what happened right down to every minute detail, just trying to find some error, some sign that it couldn’t have happened.
Then it hits you. It may be an hour later, a day later, a week later, but it hits you like a tidal wave. And this is when you must decide whether you sink or swim.
When you sit back and assess your options, sinking will seem like the easiest choice. But only swimming will bring you forward.
The first step in swimming is to accept what has happened. You cannot wallow in the what ifs or why’s. You cannot try to go back and figure out where it all went wrong. And most importantly you cannot question yourself. Do not sit around and wonder why this had to happen to you, do not wonder what you could’ve change about your self to avoid this, do not let yourself hold the responsibility for someone else’s feelings. You cannot control people’s feelings. You cannot make someone stay if they’re already gone. You cannot go back and change the past. But what you can do is change how you let it affect you. This is the hand you’ve been dealt, now choose how you play it.
It sounds cliche, but time really does heal all. Eventually, you will wake up one morning and your heart won’t ache so badly. You’ll get out of bed and realize that breathing isn’t so difficult anymore. As the days go on you will only get better, and one day you will be able to look back on the memories and smile. You’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come.
Come tidal wave, earthquake, fault line, or fissure, you can navigate it all as long as you choose to let it strengthen you.