THE PUNCHLINE ABOUT LOVE AND LOSS

Love is not hard, 

loss is hard, 

and it only gets harder

when you refuse to accept that someone who is willing to lose you isn’t the one who really loves you.

A friend of mine sent this to me yesterday. She’s been going through a hard break-up that’s turned a bit into a yo-yo relationship. The kind where you still find yourself texting a butthead at 11pm on a Friday night. The worst kind of break-up where it doesn’t actually break but somehow leaves you broken. When you’re unable to detach yourself from a person who came to hold a piece of your brain space for a day, a month, a year.

I’ve been thinking a lot about love and loss recently. I moved to the east coast from Chicago in June and it’s been a whirlwind. I joke openly with everyone who asks about “HoW aRe YoU dOiNg” that it’s like being a part of a social experiment. Someone should probablyyy be filming and/or recording this madness cause half the time I feel like I’m living someone else’s life. There are days reality feels like it’s suspended, and you’re not sure if you’re being your authentic self or not, but you’re pretty sure you want to land on your own two feet at the end of the day, so flight or fight mode saves your a$$ more times than you thought capable. Like a cat with nine lives, moving to a new city by myself has been the greatest adventure I’ve lived to date, some of the highest highs and the lowest lows. It’s amazing what the human mind is capable of when you challenge it.

More, the move illuminated to me what it means to support people you love and those who become a loss. Those who were willing to let me pass from their lives, who relied so much on proximity and convenience (more than you even knew!) to build and foster a relationship, who waved farewell and said see you maybe… but better, the move showcased to me those who showed up even more regularly – the people who sent flowers, called when I texted emotional things, emailed me during the work day, sent memes and tagged me in Instagram posts just to say hello. These were the true heros of this story, the supporting roles in this adventure tale that actually fell into the spotlight.

It all actually made me think long and hard about my love languages. If you’ve never heard of the 5 Languages of Love, I highhhhhly recommend a study (http://lifehacker.com/how-the-five-love-languages-can-help-you-win-at-relat-1734348074). Take the quiz and learn yours – it makes understanding your feelings hella easier for both you and those you love. Communicate about it. It may change your life. In my experience, my languages of love are – for sure – quality time and words of affirmation.

BUT when you pick up your life and move thousands of miles from your best friends and the only roots you’ve had for the past three years, how do you get these things out of your relationships? There’s no meeting up for coffee, there’s no happy hours after a long day of work, there’s no long lunches to rant about the most recent office drama. This was my dilemma! This is the part of moving that you think about and reflect on and the thing that people who hear you’re moving ask about (“But do you even have any friends out there on the east coast?!?!), but you roll your eyes, and you tell them you can handle it and make it work… and you know it will be hard, but you’re a big girl and you know to to put on your big girl panties and make it WERK…. BUT you don’t know until you live it how bizarre it truly is!

I wrote a week ago about getting outside your comfort zone (What came first? The chicken or the egg?), about needing to throw yourself in the deep end to realize you can swim after all. It’s allowed to be hard. And in the case of  this move, it’s a transition. It’s a new normal. It’s finding new friends to go out with in a new city {and making the best of a bad situation when you get the the pizza place at midnight on a Thursday and its closed… commence tears}, it’s learning the working style of new coworkers and figuring out an office culture that isn’t your own, and it’s sometimes going to the gym on Friday night by yourself and being totally okay with it.

BUT HERE IS THE PUNCHLINE ABOUT LOVE AND LOSS: When you step outside your comfort zone, you learn infinite amounts about yourself, but also about YOUR RELATIONSHIPS! I have been wowed in finding who truly loves me enough to make me feel that I’m getting quality time and words of affirmation from afar. The creative, beautiful, optimistic friends who somehow are willing and able to make me feel affirmed and seen and heard from cities and states away. My parents for asking to fly me home for a long weekend to spend time with them. The friends that have made me feel like there’s no space between us at all. Friends who find a way to speak your language of love when you need it most. Now THAT is an amazing feat. THAT is the highlight of this social experiment thus far. That is what happens when you step outside your comfort zone. You get to see that LOVE IS LOVE no matter the miles, space or distance. How f!%king cool is that?

So where’s this leave you? I’m not sure. How does this make you feel? Where are you on your love and loss journey? Maybe reflect on that… more, reflect on how you speak and act love to those around you. My love language is surely not the exact same as all my family and friends’ but yet our relationships sustain (well the good ones do…), so there is a flexibility and willingness that must be threaded into this journey of love to make it work.

So find out where you are on this journey:

  1. Figure out your languages of love
  2. Reflect (and I would recommend journal!) about the people in your life who show up when you’re living outside your comfort zone
  3. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE – show love, exude love, expect love, settle for nothing less than love
  4. Find great quotes like the one at the top of this post (and then send them to me… I’m a SUCKER for an inspirational quote…)
  5. Go to the gym on a Friday alone instead of going out (lol… but for real, who needs Moscow Mules when you can have endorphins, #DBFTFitGuide looking at you)

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