A year ago today, I took the first big step in starting my life over. At 9AM last year, I boarded a Virgin America flight from Orange County bound for Washington, D.C. I had 10 boxes in tow – 1o boxes that held most of what I hold dear.
I was leaving the life that I had spent 7 years building, a relationship that I had been in for nearly 6 years, and the dog that I had raised for 5 years. I cried most of the flight. I have never been filled with so much uncertainty and heartache as I was on that day. Despite this, I knew that leaving was the best thing I could do for myself.
Staying in a relationship where I was miserable and stressed to the point of physical illness would have been lunacy. I gave new meaning to loving someone until it kills you. Make no mistake, I loved Rob. However, sometimes love isn’t enough… especially when someone doesn’t love you nearly as much in return.
So, I ended a marriage that wasn’t working and had no hope of surviving. I received a second chance and a new lease on life that many people never get.
I could not have done it without my support system.
I have an amazing family – both immediate and extended. My immediate family drives me crazy sometimes, but I know that when I need them they’re there. I would not have even considered leaving Rob if my parents hadn’t generously invited me to move back home. Both of my siblings Cathee and Nate stepped up and assisted me at crucial moments. My grandma has been my cheerleader and source of consolation. In addition, I have a multitude of Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins that have been there for me in ways that I hope to repay someday.
I have a plethora of friends who rallied to support me. My best friend Cicely counseled me and drove with me cross-country. My other dear friend Neleh helped me transition back to Virginia and threatened to remove me from my folks’ home lest I keep hiding in my bedroom. Of course, I had countless other friends who offered advice and stories of encouragement. The most amazing part is that I have not met many of these friends in person. Many are people who I chat with on Twitter or are blog friends. In essence, they were total strangers.
I’m healthier than I’ve been in years. As I have exclaimed all over this blog, I am now a runner.
This hasn’t been the easiest year. There have been a few setbacks. I’m not entirely where I want to be, but there has been progress. Even a little progress is better than where I was before.
I took a hiatus from The Paper Stylist to focus on the rest of my design and photography work. This has given me the opportunity to restructure and evaluate what I want to do. I have been able to expand my portfolio. I’m excited about the projects I have on the Horizon.
Just when I thought I would hate living in Virginia, I had two fortuitous breaks. One is that I started contributing as a photographer and writer for AltDaily.com. While working with them, I’ve become very involved with my community and discovered there is much more to love about this part of Virginia. The other thing is I made local friends courtesy of Twitter. I’ve been to more birthday parties and “just because” gatherings than I can even count. These folks have made my life here more than tolerable, it’s been downright enjoyable.
Traveling has once again become a hobby of mine. I have been making up for lost time. I have flown and driven many miles to visit new destinations. While I haven’t gotten any new stamps in my passport, I have seen so much of this beautiful country.
In the state that I was in a year ago, I had sworn off men and relationships. For 6 months, I hid at home. Then, I re-entered the dating arena. It was hilarious and disastrous. I was ready to swear off dating when I met someone who I ended up liking a lot. Yes, D, I’m talking about you. We went on a few dates. Somehow, a few dates turned into several. Several dates morphed into spending lots of time together. Now, we’ve been “together” for a few months. I like where we’re at and that’s all I’m going to say about it. 😉
My life is immeasurably better than it was a year ago. It’s nothing like I thought it would be and I like it.
You can start over again. Life really isn’t over until you’re dead.