Jul 122012
 

 Occasionally, I look back at the years via blog posts of past.  It’s an amazing way to reflect on and re-enjoy the tiny details of my days.  When I look back through the past several hundred blog posts, I think about the meal I enjoyed at the café I visited one year ago today, the number of miles I ran on this day two years ago, and pretty soon [September!], I’ll be able to see what book I was reading three years ago, too.

Today I did this.  Today I was filling my Buffer App with links to old posts in order to share content that I think my newer followers, who haven’t been through the archives, may enjoy reading for one reason or another.  Today I thought, “I wonder what I posted last year on this day.”  And back in the July 2011 archives I went. 

I did a little dance of happy when I realized that I had forgotten what tomorrow is – is this the true measure of being over someone?  Forgetting the dates that were at one point a specific importance to your story together?  Tomorrow is the day I became unengaged.  A change in relationship status in which I am forever grateful.  It lead me to a whole lot of self-discovery, a true love of who I am and the story I have to tell, and, excuse the gushing – it lead me to a man I’m absolutely crazy about and so blessed to have in my life.  In turn, I suppose it, that is the brokenness that I felt after my engagement ended, lead me to love.

As I write this, I am trying very hard not to use the backspace button.  I’m trying very hard just to let the words flow.  I want to share my heart with you, friends who have supported and encouraged me over the years, in as much raw honesty I can muster.  It might be cowardly, but as I type this, I’m wondering to myself if I will share it with the masses, at all. Even as I type this sentence, I wonder if this post will sit in draft form forever.

I’ve been publicly criticized for writing about my past relationships and not “getting over” break ups or moving on as fast as others deem fit.  That’s hard, sometimes, you know.  Putting your heart out there, trying to keep it real, and allowing yourself to open up to the world in hopes that the process may heal a still broken part of your soul – and then to see some strangers [or at least, who I assume are strangers] rip you apart and say your pathetic for not moving at the speed of their own heart healing time table.  It’s kept me from sharing, truthfully. I’ve silenced lots of relationship talk and heart talk out of fear.  I am sensitive and emotional and I take things like this to heart. I’m working on it – developing a thicker skin and accepting that not everyone will love me, not everyone will see things from my point of view, and that, yes, it’s true – the world does not revolve around me.

But my world does.  I don’t have anyone else’s eyes to view my days with but my own.  I don’t have any story to share but my own.  I don’t have any life to live but my own.  And these truths lead me here – to a place where I stumble into the sharing place – words pouring from my fingers as the keyboards clicks and taps fill the otherwise silent air around me.

But back to the little dance of happy in realizing that I didn’t remember until today that the anniversary of the end of my engagement and the beginning of my new life was upon us.  I thought about tweeting a message of “hooray! This means good things for the healing in my heart” or emailing a girlfriend or two to share the joyus news. [After all- these girlfriends were there through the healing themselves, as supporters and crutches and wisdom bearers and ice cream sharers] Instead I took a moment just to sit and think about it all – how much has changed in my life and where I am now in comparison to then; it was a moment for some “before and after” reflection in the quiet of my desk. 

Nick officially moved all of his things from storage into our apartment this week.  We’ve been living together for months at this point, but it sure does make things seem even more official now.  What was once my bookshelf is now hosting a collection of Nick’s books, too.  Souvenirs from memories made in my 29 years are being pushed an inch to the left in order to fit his mementos of vacations enjoyed and events celebrated over time.  We’re selling my bed because Nick’s is so much better [I feel like I’m sleeping on a CLOUD!], realizing we have two of several CDs, the list could go on and on. We are progressing and our story continues.  And my story continues, and Nick’s story continues, and I hope that we are one another’s story-mates for the rest of time.

When I was thinking about the rest of time, I remembered that I once heard a rumor that my former fiancé was going to be married this month.  Actually, this is not the first time I’ve remembered that rumor.  It’s crossed my mind a time or two this summer. Today, it more than crossed my mind. It sat in my mind.  Until I did that thing we all do even though some us pretend like we don’t do it and I turned to the internet to get my Nancy Drew on.  I typed his name into the Google search bar, along with his bride’s name, and pressed search. 

Ah!  Wedding registries.  I toyed with the idea of ordering something off their registry to send in congratulations.  Or in “Thanks for freeing me!” Or in just the teeny tiny bit of bitterness. [I may be over him but I’m still not over the fact that I let myself lose myself in an attempt to be the person I thought he wanted me to be for so many years. I make choices for myself, and sometimes they aren’t the smartest or the healthiest – sometimes they are simply mistakes. Turns out I am, indeed, human.]  Then I got over myself and moved on – their wedding is NOT about me- not in the least. How rude of me to even entertain the idea of making it about me, even in the slightest.*

As soon as I made up my mind to get my act together and get myself out of this mind tornado…as soon as I moved my cursor up to that little X in the right corner…I saw the “event date” for their wedding. Which happens to be tomorrow.  Which happens to be the three year anniversary of the day the groom’s first engagement ended.  It’s times like this I start to really feel like my life is just some whacked out version of the Truman Show. The Universe and all its poeticness.

I wanted to act in this; to make a broad statement about the coincidence.  It’s kind of hilarious.  It’s kind of Woody Allen ridiculous.  It’s kind of exactly how my life would pan out, because I am one for the details, and this detail is one that makes me question if I’m the only girl in the world who hangs so firmly on the importance of date and time and nostalgic momentum.

What I really wanted, though, was a girlfriend to turn to in the form of a text message – demanding drinks tonight or dinner tomorrow.  I wanted someone who would allow me to be bitter for a moment.  Someone to say, “Really!? The 13th?? That is kind of weird!”  I wanted a friend to pour wine into my glass as we sat on the back porch and she suddenly said, “WAIT.  They are getting married on Friday the 13th, to boot!?!” with a giggle.  I wanted to drink to that – to give a big ole “CHEERS!” to the fact that I didn’t marry the wrong guy and that things are different, oh so different, today than they were three years ago. 

Then I felt convicted.  And judge-y.  And gross. I felt ashamed of feeling these things, and thinking these things, and desiring such a situation to take place.  I want someone to sit next to me and point out I’m good and he’s not so good!?!?  I wanted to drink to that!?!? That, surely, is not kind.  I recently read a quotation I declared to live out in real life: “my heart is my strongest muscle.”  I want to act in love always, but instead I react the opposite.  For whatever the reason, I desired to be told I was right and he was wrong – even though we’re both neither in this situation. 

We just are – both of us, my ex and me- we are.  We are following our own paths, nurturing our own relationships, living our own lives, and writing our own stories. 
Tomorrow I’m going to work at the office, and run some miles, and spend some time laughing with my boyfriend and snuggling with my kitten. 
Tomorrow he will be feeling all sorts of emotions, celebrating with friends and family, and praying to his God, and falling even more in love with his beautiful bride as she walks toward him down the aisle.

And that… well, I’m not so ashamed to say that I WILL drink to that.

To me July 13th is no longer “break up day.”  It’s moving forward day.  It’s an anniversary of another kind.  A time to rejoice in the fact that relationships with the wrong people don’t have to last forever.  We move forward, we find the right one, we make our way to our own happily ever afters, and we learn how to fight through the brokenness to a place of our own healing, repairing a little bit at a time along the way. 

I get emails from freshly broken hearted women, and even a few men, on the regular.  Since I first started sharing a look into my own healing I’ve been the source of many “broken engagement” google searches which lead to a handful of emails each month from others who are going through their own moving forwards.  To those of you who have found THS because of your broken heart, I want to encourage you with this:  it takes time.  It takes YOUR time.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, but don’t allow yourself to sit in your sadness for too long, either.  Make your own happily ever after.  It gets better.  Trust that and feel the freedom that comes from believing in yourself and your story.  Take the simplest advice around: put one foot in front of the other. Make one choice at a time. Simply move forward.  You’ve got this.

 

*I do want to say this: though their relationship, wedding, and marriage are not about me in the slightest, this blog IS about me. It’s Then Heather Said – and I will continue to talk about my emotions, experiences, development, challenges, growth, beliefs, goals, victories, mistakes, feelings and anything else that helps me share my story with the world. 

Jan 252012
 

This past summer, I decided to take a serious attempt at shifting from a “to-do” mindset, to a “to-be” mindset.  A lot of little changes and generally just being more aware of the way I live helped make this a reality.  I looked at how I respond to things, my planning nature, choices I make, the people in my life and mostly, what makes me truly happy, and made changes where I saw necessary in order to try and, to use a popular phrase, “live my best life now.”

The to-be mindset lasted well through the summer, into autumn.  I went on a serious passion hunt not long after Halloween, and was especially motivated to connect my passions  and the choices I make in living my life.  I have always been able to tell you what hobbies, activities, and subject manners spark a fire deep within my soul.  These are the things I could talk about for hours, which give me that goofy smile, and add all kinds of excitement to my heart during discussion. 

Identifying these passions was only the first step, though.  It’s an important one, for sure!, but it wasn’t that long ago when I realized that simply talking about these passions wasn’t enough for me.  I wanted to PURSUE these passions.  When I was reminded that I need to create space in my life for my passions, it was as if my entire world shifted.  It seems a bit silly, completely cliché and perhaps worth an eye roll that a motivational quotation on a sticky note seemed to make all the difference in my life.

With the desire to connect my time and energy with my passions, I also shifted my mindset once more.  While talking to Nick*** one evening, I brought up the shift from to-do, towards to-be.  He asked me a simple question which shifted my thinking once again. What about just “do” and “be”?  Touché.

That’s where I am now.  I am trying to BE PASSIONATE.  I am trying to DO things which accompany my passions.  I think this is good advice to anyone.  It doesn’t matter WHAT the passions are that I am focusing on, or how much they differ from your own passions.  No one passion is better or lesser than another.  What is important is that you are chasing whatever it is.  That you are being passionate, and that you do something about it. Go. Be. Do.

 

You know one thing I’ve always been guilty of since day one of this little blog space? Follow through.  Admittedly, I SUCK at saying “I’m going to talk more about this” and actually, you know, talking about it.  It seems to me that over and over again I say “I’m going to tell you all about this” and really should add “…seven months later!” to the end.  I’ve promised you, “ I want to share about X, Y, and Z” but what I mean is, “eventually.”  I tell you to “stay tuned to THS because I’ll cover that soon! “ but I’ve come to realize that I lie to you time and time again.

It’s never on purpose. I always have the INTENTION of writing more, answering questions, diving into the subject, and clearing things up – but apparently, my desire to stop writing forced posts and only write and publish what I am honestly motivated and inspired to write without pressure takes priority over my word.  I have compromised my integrity.  And I owe you an apology for that. I am sorry. Truly.

 

I’m not here to say“oh! I’ve recognized the problem and in order to correct it, I am going to go back through the archives and write about each subject I’ve promised you.”  That would be one way to handle it, sure.  But it would also be exhausting and probably unnecessary, on several subjects.   I do have lots of drafts of posts I’ve started over time, and I would bet that eventually I will come back to some of them to finish their tales.  I also know that a lot of those drafts will die.  That’s okay with me.  That’s what happens when you create sometimes, not just in blog posts, but in crafting, and cooking, and painting, and more.  Sometimes you start things and they get thrown in the trash.  Sometimes you start things and you lose motivation.  Sometimes you start things and you just give up.  This is all a part of life and a part of being a creator.

What I am going to try very hard to do, is stop telling you “I’m going to talk more about this soon!” I’m going to try to recognize that I have no follow through on writing blog posts, and stop making false promises.

I’m going to continue writing when I want to write, and posting when I want to post, and covering what I can, when I can, and what I want to, when I want to. 

 I’m going to continue to try to add value to what is posted on THS, weither by me, the brilliant Megan, or anyone else who may stumble their way here to share what they know and to give us their stories.

So, there’s that. [< note: every time I say “so, there’s that,” outloud or typed, in my mind, it is said in the same exact tone and inflect as in the movie Garden State. Anyone else?]

 

 *** Completely unrelated sidenote & an answer to your question:
A while back, someone asked in the comments section if Nick and I were living together or just stay over from time to time.  I meant to write a post about this, but never got around to it. [see: this entire post about follow through]  So the quick answer for you now:   It sort of happened by accident.  Nick works near my apartment, and so a lot of time, he stayed over for convenience.   Of course, some of his belongings made their way to my place for convenience, too.

One day, we realized it had been a long time since he hadn’t stayed over, and we decided to talk about that.  Because that’s what couples do.  Or, at the very least, that’s what we do.  

[and, yes: I also really like having him there.]

After next month, the plan is to have a merging of stuff; bringing his stuff from his place and out of storage, and moving into my current apartment.  Of course, my apartment has been my apartment for so long, and will probably feel like “my” apartment after he officially moves in, too.  Plans to move into a different apartment are on the books – but not for quite a while.  There are other exciting things going on in our lives which make the apartment hunt less of a priority. 

I also am excited to do a real “home search.”  [Can you believe of ALL the places I’ve lived, I’ve always moved into the first place I found?]  We are looking forward to taking our time, making some lists of must-haves, and looking at several places [if necessary] to find the perfect place to sign our first official lease together.

My mother, of course, gave me her motherly advice, which I know some of you will want to say, too. I totally agree with what she said, which, was the same thing she said last time I moved in with a boy.  “Make sure it’s a place you could each afford on your own, too.  Just in case anything was to happen.”

I promise, I will.  And that’s a promise in which I WILL follow through.

Date Night Jars

 Posted by at 6:00 am  Relationship
Nov 232011
 

Things that are an important part of keeping myself happy: alone time, friend time, “group” date time, and one-on-one time with my boyfriend.  Each of these are an important part of my life and I try to make each one a priority each week. 

Naturally, many of my evenings are spent with Nick, making dinner, watching tv, and simply being in the same room together.  It is important to us that we also make time to do things together.  Not just dinner and television type things, but experiences that we don’t take part in every day. 

We’ve dedicated ourselves to one “date night” [or “date day”] a week.  Early in the week we discuss our plans, and come up with ideas for our date.  We started throwing ideas back and forth a few weeks ago, and suddenly a list was born.  Not too long afterwards, these date night jars were born, too.

 

We decided to have two jars.  At first I suggested having a jar for free dates and a jar for dates which cost money. Then Nick persuaded me to have one jar for dates that cost less that $2 and one jar that costs more than $2, because we can always scrounge up eight quarters :D

We each shared some suggestions on the list, then I wrote them on paper, folded small, and added to the appropriate jar.  I’ve kept a notebook handy nearby, too, for when more ideas cross our minds.  Some of the date night ideas are simple, and others are more detailed.  Some are go-out-and-do dates, and some are stay-in-and-relax dates.  Some are classic favorites [dinner and a movie is still fun, just not fun every week!] and others are new places/sites neither of us has visited.  I’d be more than willing to share a list on THS if anyone is interested. 

Of course, we won’t need to use the jars every week – for example, this week we are going to see The Muppets!- but it will certainly come in handy when we are looking for a fresh idea on spending some time together.  Especially since many of our conversations end up looking a little like this:

H: What do you think?
N: It’s up to you.
H: Well, my decision is that it’s now up to you.

And so on and so forth.

After putting the jars together, I decided to give them a small touch of creative, and added some handwritten paper tags tied with yarn.   BONUS! The paper decorations on the jars match this frame I have in my living room perfectly, so I’m thinking a new photo of Nicholas and I may need to be added to it soon!  ]

Do you have any fresh ideas for date nights?  What is your favorite date activity of all times? Any suggestions we can add to our jars?