It is human nature to try and find patterns. In what we do, what other people do, in your peas at the dinner table.
When I got my fifth ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ text from someone I had been seeing (which was also the third ‘I’m getting back together with my ex-girlfriend, see ya’ text) in the last couple years I couldn’t help but think it might be me. This, despite every assurance that it was not me. Unfortunately, none of these gentlemen advanced past the cliché. My taste is possibly the problem.
As a results oriented person dwelling on the problem was not going to be enough. The potential solutions appeared to be market myself as a professional reunite-er:
“Take me out and your Ex will take you back in two months or less – guaranteed!”
Or, I could try my best to interrupt the pattern. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, so this seems the healthier, if less lucrative, option.
I’m not totally sure what that looks like yet, but I feel as though not being quite so nice about being set aside like last week’s box set is a good place to start.
And so, to keep to this new resolution I decided to forgo my usual ‘It’s alright, no hard feelings’ response. It might be true, and, clearly, none of them were my soul mate, but that doesn’t mean I have to make it easy.
When I finally texted back this last time I said the only thing that could be said,
“I’m not wearing any underwear”
It’s all well and good to be confident, forward thinking, and motivated to construct your own destiny, in fact it’s very good. But if who we are is the sum of who we have been and our dreams of who we want to be, then our pasts cannot be ignored. More worrisome, sometimes the past cannot be avoided.
We spend our lives amassing a network of friends, coworkers, and even family that become the framework of your future, and who give you something to talk about at cocktail parties. But what about when the framework seems to be constantly forming more durable and reinforced bonds in the wrong direction? Is it even possible to rip apart the welded bonds of your past to restructure your destiny? Both the easiest and the most difficult way to accomplish this is to abandon your old life altogether and start from scratch, which is both freeing and terrifying. It’s also nearly impossible with modern technology, but you can still achieve a fair approximation of it if you’re brave.
The more reasonable option to get yourself back on course has to start with knowing where, exactly, you would rather be. So much easier to plan out a path when you have a destination. On paper all of this makes a whole lot of sense, but the real challenge comes when you have to emotionally distance yourself from the life that is holding you back to seize the one you want with both hands- and the optimistic hope that it will all work out the way you want it to.
Risking everything to go after what you want is one of the most terrifying things you can do, but in my experience it is also the most fulfilling and rewarding. It almost never happens the way that you envision it, but I can’t say that I have ever come to regret throwing caution to the wind either.
Make a plan. Keep your (emotional) baggage limited to a small carry on. And take a chance.