Getting Gutsy On My Own
Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy. This post is my entry for Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details and download a free copy of the inspiring Get Gutsy ebook.
I had so much fun participating in Jessica’s contest last year that I’m participating again. And cause she rocks. So there’s that.
I honestly can’t believe I’m putting this out on the internet but whatever, here it goes. #getgutsy? hahah
In the last ten years since I was sixteen, I have spent more than nine of them in relationships (two, to be specific). Until recently, I did all of my growing up with someone by my side. When I moved into my college dorm room freshman year, I had someone to call when I got lonely. When I went abroad to Florence in college, I had someone waiting for me when I came home. When I moved to Connecticut after college, to a place where I knew no one, and started a my big girl job, I had a boyfriend by my side. Even when I ran my first marathon, I had someone there who kept me calm- and then proceeded to run all over Chicago cheering me on.
Believe it or not, I am a very independent person. I like being by myself. I never felt that I needed a boyfriend. Of those nine years, I was in long distance relationships for six of them. I’ve had plenty of space to find myself and grow on my own over the years. Having a boyfriend didn’t stop me from going abroad, moving for a job, getting my yoga teacher certification, making new friends, starting my own business, and pursuing any other dream I had at the time. I am definitely not one of those people that thinks a serious relationship holds you back from doing it all in your twenties.
So I’m sure you know where this is going by now. Seven(? Losing count.) months ago, I broke up with my boyfriend of three and a half years, and in the time since then, I feel like I have truly discovered what it means to get gutsy.
The detail of how and why it ended aren’t mine to share, but I will say this: my gut was saying he wasn’t right but I was definitely not ready for it to end.
It takes a lot of guts to leave a relationship you aren’t happy in. To have the confidence to know you deserve better. To have the faith to believe you will find better. It’s terrifying to not have any idea what your future holds, to live a life that doesn’t match your “timeline” or what you always thought it might look like. But I think it’s even scarier to stay in a relationship just because you’re too afraid to look for something better. If you’re in a similar cycle of doubt and anxiety, my advice is to LISTEN to your gut. Really listen. I spent so much time paralyzed by the fear of being alone. Like, so. much. time. I didn’t want to hear what my gut had to say. But I can honestly say, seven months later – alone – I am happier than I’ve been in years.
The weeks immediately following the breakup were tough. I let myself feel alllll the feels (just ask any of my friends ha!) but I’m so glad I let myself have that time because I came back so much stronger as a result. I quickly discovered how awesome it is to be on my own. I wake up every day and I am in charge of how my day goes. I’m not relying on anyone else to make me happy. I’m not waiting for that sweet text, those just-because flowers, or that dinner invite that might never come. I don’t have to tell anyone where I am going or what I am doing. I don’t have to check in with someone before I made plans, and find myself taking off on a new adventure/trip at a moments notice. I can go to bed when I want instead of being kept up by a goodnight phone call, I go to the gym or stay in bed as often as I deem necessary. I feel so much lighter. Free.
Maybe being gutsy sometimes means letting yourself be vulnerable and sad? May it means leaning on others for support when you need it?
This year, being gutsy for me has meant learning how to be by myself on a Friday night, to embrace the uncertainty of my future, to sit in silence without being terrified of my thoughts, to put myself out there completely and discover what I really want out of a relationship. I’ve learned dating is fun. No scratch that, dating is a BLAST. I wouldn’t trade the dating stories I’ve accumulated in the last six months for anything. I have days where I want to stay single forever and days where I wish I was forty years old and settled. It’s not always easy; sometimes it’s down right uncomfortable but I know where I am today is exactly where I’m supposed to be.
When the right guy comes into my life, I’ll be ready. But until then? I’m just enjoying the ride.