They always say love will find you when you’re not looking for it. I’ve always hated this phrase, as love isn’t a lost sock or an iPhone charger. Love isn’t something you can actively or inactively be looking for.

They also say that love will find you once you are happy within yourself. Another phrase which I find is questionable, as it creates the notion that you’re unworthy of love if you’re not beaming with joy every single day. As humans with transient emotions, it’s impossible to be happy within yourself every single day.

Despite this; I did find love at a point when I gave up searching for it. I found love when I accepted myself. And if you’re from Nottingham, I can echo Rhianna, and say I Found Love In A Hopeless Place (Ocean Nightclub, I’m talking about you).

In march 2019, I had a bit of a break-through moment. After a series of short lived, ill-fitting Tinder dates, I eventually gave up trying. I think Tinder is a bit like the NHS Track & Trace equivalent for singles. It’s almost a right of passage; if you’re single then you need to have Tinder. If you refuse to download the app, then you’re responsible for your inevitable future of meals for one and adopting cats. But two years ago, I finally decided that whatever true love was, I wasn’t going to find it in transient 2am app swiping session, or groundhog days of “how are you” messages.

A few weeks after deleting tinder and experiencing a blissful reduction in screen time, I went on an impromptu night out. I drunkenly rallied a load of girls in the Bierkeller toilets, our new friendship bonding about how Trash Men Are. That night I unintentionally met someone who became my boyfriend for the next two years. Talk about not looking for love.

Sadly, as all good things eventually do, the relationship came to an end last month. This isn’t a blog post about the relationship. This is a blogpost about the after-math of that two year long connection to someone else.

I’ve been really, really trying over the last month to get to know myself again. To harness some of that inner drive and ambition that the March 2019 Heather had. But truthfully, it’s hard to press the reset button and go back to being single again. It’s hard not to have a stream of consciousness in text messages, updating my significant other about how I’ve missed the bus or made a nice cup of coffee. It’s hard to be the person to validate my own experiences and feel complete and whole as my own person.

Breaking up during the pandemic is a weird one. In one regard, it’s incredibly tough to know that I have at least another full month of living alone, waking alone and experiencing things alone. I don’t have the colourful and promising distraction of night life, or the meaningful social interaction of being behind the counter at work. I’ve really just got myself. But in a way, that is probably one of the best things that could happen. I have 24 hours every single day, just for me. 24 hours where I can pick and choose how I spend my time, who I talk to and what thoughts I allow to occupy my mind.

I have no way of distracting myself, from myself. I’m grateful that I’ve started therapy this month, and I know I’ve got a good future ahead of me. Despite a few wobbles, ill-informed decisions and the odd dramatic crying evening, I know that I can handle this.

I’ve recently come to realise that a few months without alcohol is probably one of the best ways to process this breakup. Alcohol is a tricky one for me, I can drink it in moderation and experience enjoyment with alcohol – provided that I am in a stable situation beforehand. I feel alcohol is only sucessful and positive if used for celebration; rather than wallowing and distraction.

It can feel like, during a breakup, you’re expected to go out and distract yourself and find someone else. But lockdown has helped me to realise quite the opposite. I’m genuinely enjoying spending evenings alone, painting and reading and listening to music. I’m enjoying going for long walks alongside canals and grabbing a coffee for one. I’m even looking at other couples without resentment or envy, because I know that there’s a relationship out there for me in the future. But right now, I’m happy working on the relationship I have with myself.

I’m on the cusp of being gen Z (1998), yet my knowledge of Tik Tok is limited. One trend I do like on Tik Tok, is the idea of romanticising your life/being the main character. My 23rd birthday fell two days after the 3rd national lockdown was activated in England. Despite the under-tone of misery and lethargy in the country, I felt bright and beaming on my birthday. I remember thinking “why can’t I just treat everyday like it’s my birthday?” The happiness I felt on my birthday was detached from the external situation of the country; I just felt happy to have my day. So why not harness some of that energy everyday? Every single day is your day

In short. I’m still very much learning and working on my relationship with myself. I’ve got to spend my entire life with myself, so I know this is something that will take months or years to perfect. For the first time, in a very very long time, a romantic relationship with another person isn’t something I’m desiring or craving. As Justin Bieber would say – I Will Never Say Never, but for now, I’m happy to prioritise myself for once.

Heres some of the things that have kept me sane over the last month:

  • Getting lost in books. Fiction, Non-Fiction – I don’t care. As long as it’s well written and can captivate me, I can get lost in books so easily
  • Long walks listening to podcasts or an audio book. I’m really enjoying the Close Friends podcast and Phone A Friend Podcast
  • Creating morning and evening routines, to signify the start and end of my day
  • Keeping my phone on do not disturb, to avoid being distracted by it all the time
  • Messaging friends when I’m feeling down
  • Colouring in/Paint by numbers (I prefer paint by numbers, as it involved more focus and it is more rewarding at the end)
  • Being unapologetically me. When you’re single, there’s sometimes an idea that you need to behave or present yourself in a way that is palatable or acceptable to other people. But, really, I’d rather attract and develop connections to people who actually see me for me – rather than the Nice Normal version of myself.
  • Planning walks with people or small things to look forward to each day (I’m currently counting down the hours to my 2pm Specsavers appointment)
  • Buying things for myself online. This is contrary to a previous blog post about wanting to save more money. But having a small, inexpensive present for yourself can sometimes be your motivation to get out of bed in the morning. (I’m interested to see the profits of Jelly Cat this month)
  • Meditating a least once a day, for 10 minutes
  • Thinking and knowing that I will have a happy and bright future with The Right Person in a few years, but it’s better not to rush into that, and let the universe work it’s magic
  • Having a project or something to work on. I currently have a lot of pre-entry work to do for my masters next year, so I’ve been focused on that.
  • Weekly therapy – the best decision I’ve made

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