Thought Catalog

What Moving On Is Like

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Moving on is not like a birthday, you can’t count down the hours ‘til it arrives and you can’t mark it on a calendar and you can’t call up your friends to help you celebrate. You can’t plan for it and you can’t conclude it by blowing out a candle. When moving on happens there will be no announcements, no notifications, no congratulations. There will be no parade; only you will know. Moving on is like aging that way, if aging happened backward. If the passing of days made you new and young, if your condition only had room to improve. Instead of a throbbing pain in your right knee forcefully, increasingly making its presence known, first with a whisper and then with a mumble and then with a shout, ‘til you can’t move, ‘til you can’t walk; moving on is gradual like that except when it’s over, you can walk just fine. You can run, even.

Moving on is like this: one day you forget the taste. The next, you forget the smell. Then the touch. Then the laugh. Then the smile. Then the jokes. Then the eyes, the hair, the hands, the feet. You forget the socks. You forget the fingers, the toes, the sex. You forget the pulses, the beats, the rhythms and how you sometimes felt like they all belonged to you. You forget the words; finally, you forget the voice that spoke them. Moving on is like one day, you’re walking or reading or drinking the sun and one of those footprints, one of those artifacts will creep into your consciousness, “already seen,” the French call this, déjà vu, and you won’t know where it belongs or how it got there. All it takes is a familiar laugh, a recognizable word and you are transported to who knows where. You are a confused paleontologist now, scrambling to make sense of things left behind, trying to reunite the right dinosaur with the right bones. The scar from his burst appendix goes here, the part of his leg that doesn’t grow hair belongs there, I think this is his morning breath but maybe it belongs to someone who came before him; some other ghost, some other relic. His taste is an aftertaste now, his crow’s feet a souvenir with no place to call home. That’s what moving on is like.

Moving on is not like beginning a new chapter, it’s like beginning a new book — with each turned page, the last story you read fades into the background. A fairy tale that becomes just another book on a shelf; folded corners and underlined words the only reminder of how you used to touch and hold and love it. Moving on is when you begin to forget the intricacies of a character you knew intimately, you forget what he did for a living and the way he prepared grilled cheese and the nickname he had for his first girlfriend. You forget how he lost his virginity, you forget his middle name.

Moving on is waking up without a sour feeling in your stomach, looking at a familiar menu and ordering something different, taking the direct route to a destination and not the one that crosses a path you once set in stone. Moving on is when you think about him and don’t punish yourself for it, when he begins to evoke more of a scientific response than an emotional one, like “This is a 6’0” blonde-haired person who exists,” and not “This is a person I wish I’d never met; this is a person who has made me less of one.” Moving on is not to destroy or to combust or to set ablaze, it is simply to move, to advance through space and time, to leave behind the familiar dull of heartbreak for the new, the unknown, the strange. Moving on is a bird flying south for the winter who decides maybe the warmth isn’t so bad, who decides maybe he’ll stay there for awhile; moving on is like freedom, is what moving on is like. TC mark

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  • yyanyying

    Beautiful article, completely captures the essence of “moving on”. :)

  • Eric

    Very well-written. I was almost in tears reading it. So accurate.

  • http://twitter.com/MorningTempest Morning Tempest

    This is EXACTLY what Moving on Feels like.  You have captured it in perfect detail.  Great work!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cheezegris Griselda Bravo

    Thank you, needed this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jolene.fernandes Jolene Fernandes

    This has to be one of my favourites here. Very honest and heartfelt.

  • Grace

    Incredible. Absolutely perfect.
    Thankyou.

  • Jess

    Thank you! I needed that.

  • guest

    This article is amazing, if you’ve ever been completely head over heels in love and moved on, this is exactly what it is like. It’s so sad too, because I used to tell him one day we will forget what all this is like, this world we created together. I wanted to move on, and I did, and now I can never go back. 

  • AC7761A

    where is kat george?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      moved on

  • Ef10

    Maybe it’s due to the fact that I am struggling to understand how to move on right now, but I find this article incredibly sad.

    I know it’s a weakness. I know it’s not sustainable…but somewhere, deep in my core, I just can’t bear the thought of forgetting. I can’t bear the thought that, despite all the lessons that I’ve supposedly learned and all of the experiences I’ve had, none of it really meant anything at all.

    • Ruthen

      Eventually, hopefully for you, it will just mean something different entirely.

  • Mslaurie

    This is so beautiful! What amazing writing.

  • Asdf

    This is fantastic as usual, but that last sentence made my mind contort in ways I never imagined possible. I will move on from that sentence.

  • Jordanhoffman07

    6months ago I didn’t feel like this area of moving on could ever exist for me. This article would have made me depressed and cry. However, im happy (& thankful) to say it does exist. You can move on, you can be free.

    For those struggling, she’s right… Moving on cannot be planned. The more I beat myself up for not moving on the harder it got. It happens when its time. It took me 7 months to get over 5 yrs of memories…but it did happen. And I havent moved on by forgeting (like some say they are scared of) you just break the emotional ties with the memories. You remember them like a sequence of factual statements that still hold value..but not pain.

    • EAZ

      This gives me some hope.  I’m moving on now after 8 years of building and making memories, and cannot currently fathom how this is supposed to happen.

      • Jordanhoffman07

        Keep hope and be strong. the best thing I did was rid my life of things that were “ours”. After months of not looking in the box I threw it all out, I haven’t looked back. Even though you can’t force moving on…you really have to help yourself get to that point

  • nbeezy

    You are a confused archeologist now, scrambling to make sense of things left behind, trying to reunite the right dinosaur with the right bones.
    A fairy tale that becomes just another book on a shelf; folded corners and underlined words the only reminder of how you used to touch and hold and love it. 

    Moving on is a bird flying south for the winter who decides maybe the warmth isn’t so bad, who decides maybe he’ll stay there for awhile; moving on is like freedom, is what moving on is like.  

    faves

  • Val

    Thinking that archaeologists deal with dinosaur bones is the ultimate sign of an incomplete education. A correct association would read something like, ” You are a confused archaeologist now, scrambling to make sense of things left behind, trying to reunite the right vessel with the right shards of pottery.”

    • http://omgstephlol.tumblr.com Stephanie Georgopulos

      Hm, yeah, you’re right, you’d think 10 seasons of Friends would’ve had some sort of effect on me. I am acknowledging my folly and changing accordingly.

      • Val

        Much better. And I apologize for my bitchy tone.

  • Erin

    I am in the midst of this and it touched a place deep within my heart. Tears are flowing, but it was great, and I am very thankful for it. You are a great writer and observer of life.

  • Alina D.

    so beautiful: “moving on is like freedom”!

  • Loveandcarciofi

    this is absolute perfection. stephanie, i am officially obsessed with your writing.

  • Chris

    Your name is oddly close to George Stephanopoulos. Also, nice article

  • Anonymous

    I wish I had to move on, life has been booooooooring

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10036647 Aimee Vondrak

      That’s a terrible thing to wish. It’s such an awful feeling that you’ve either forgotten (good) or have never experienced (kind of lucky).

      • Anonymous

        Unfortunately, I am not lucky. I have in fact moved on, but it’s that kind of girl that would make me be hers anytime…

      • Anonymous

        her* 

  • http://twitter.com/Picsanya Picsanya

    “Moving on is when you think about him and don’t punish yourself for it.” So true.

  • LizzyLoo

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!  (The extra S’s emphasize how much I truly love this.)

  • Ginjoint

    This is beautiful.
    I’m waiting for the 5 senses of memories to fade. It doesn’t hurt that much anymore and I’m actually looking forward to move on completely.

    Just lovely.

  • http://www.facebook.com/i.had.tea.with.fish Al Pacino

    this is lovely. i needed to read this. 

  • cafeabundance

    This is wonderful writing and obviously speaks to many people in the way it speaks to me, which, I think, is the ultimate goal of being a writer. Congratulations!

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