1. Get moving.
I already knew early on that early in the year my ex and I would part ways. To prepare myself for this major life change, I decided to literally move in many areas of my life as well. I moved to a new job in a new city, moved to a new home that better suited my needs (and which was just walking distance to work), and physically moved as much as I could. I knew that losing weight had to be part of my transformation, so I walked whenever and wherever I could. I found that moving to a totally new environment — and moving my body regularly — gave me the physical and psychic (read: “of the psyche”) boost to break my inertia, bring me the endorphins that I so badly needed, and energize me for the journey ahead.
2. Make new friends (and reconnect with old ones.)
And also engage in new activities. My move to a new job and a new city brought it with many good things: the opportunity to make new friends, reconnect with old ones, and try out new things that I previously didn’t have the time or energy for. I enrolled in Zumba and yoga classes, started going out for weeknight drinks with new sets of friends, and (serendipitously) reconnected with old girlfriends who were undergoing a similar journey as I was. It helped to be surrounded by positive people with similar life goals, and it also helped to have friends with differing perspectives (who can knock some sense into your head when you need it).
3. Take better care of yourself.
At the time of the break-up, I was about 40 lbs. overweight for my height. I knew that I had to take better care of myself in order to look and feel my best, so I challenged myself to lose all the excess weight by shifting my lifestyle and without enrolling in expensive programs or fad diets. I focused on it, made myself a priority, and lost the 40 lbs. in just five months.
4. Speaking of the dating scene: get out there and meet new people.
When you’re coming off an 11 year relationship and a five year marriage that didn’t work out, it’s easy to curse the rest of mankind and tell yourself that you’ll never find love again. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and man-hating, I decided to use the opportunity to get to know other types of people and expand my own worldview. To me, coming off a marriage meant that I was not (and still not am) in a rush to get back into one, so there’s really no pressure to “make something” out of a “connection”. I told myself that I would only get back into a relationship “with the right guy, under the right timing and the right circumstances, and for the right reasons.” For now, this phase is about getting to know other people — and discovering more about myself in the process.
5. Embrace your emotions and be true to yourself.
It will happen that you will start caring about someone else, and you will experience a range of emotions that will bring up old baggage and new fears. Acknowledge the feelings, own up to them, but don’t allow yourself to be carried away. Remember: this is your phase to explore and discover, and you’re not supposed to be rushing back into anything just yet. I will forever be grateful to the few good men whose paths intersected with mine during this very precarious stage of my life, yet never took advantage of my vulnerability. You prove that gentlemen still exist — and that real connections are possible through time, space, and time zones.
6. Be true to yourself no matter what.
Authenticity is a big part of what drives my journey, and I would rather be wrong than be a fake or a copycat. Over the past few months, I’ve discovered many facets of myself that are surfacing just now — and some of them aren’t pretty. Instead of beating myself up over these, I’ve learned that it’s better to just face myself squarely in the mirror, accept and embrace all of me, and learn from my mistakes and shortcomings. Nobody’s perfect after all, but we can always strive to be better versions of ourselves every single day. The most important step here is giving ourselves permission to be who we truly are, making peace with that and loving it, yet still striving to be better as each day comes. If you won’t accept and love yourself for who you truly are, nobody will.
7. Have a sense of humor.
There were so many moments during this six-month period that felt to me like one big movie — the script of which I was completely unaware of — when the Universe just chose to unleash its cosmic sense of humor and turn things completely upside-down for me. Another ‘Remember’: when these things happen, it’s important to take a deep breath (or more), take a step back, and know that everything in life will pass — especially these little mishaps and misadventures. Yes, you’re in pain; yes, this major life change is serious stuff; but, NO, the world doesn’t owe you anything. You’ll just have to roll with the punches and laugh things off as part of the adventure. You’ll thank yourself for this attitude later on.