Love Story (cont’d)

Ok I’ve fallen for this man. Desperately. It happened when I least expected it. Hit me like a truck out of nowhere. Knocked me out of my breath.

I had forgotten how glorious this feels. How you can’t believe the universe conjured up this amazing human for you.  This adorable, honorable, ruggedly handsome man who makes your legs crumble beneath you. He is suddenly everything. The way his eyes twinkle when he smiles at your door. His goodbye kisses that never end. His playfulness. His vulnerabilities. That intense look he has on his face when he’s deep in thought. His stories. His youthful excitement about comic book superheroes. His sacrifice of that very same youth for the sake of his beloved son. That scar near his left eye from his past. Those scars on his soul from his past.

I had forgotten how painful this feels.  My stomach is constantly in the pits. I have non-stop anxiety.  I feel powerless. Without control. Like a derailed train. I can all but put one step in front of other because of fear of losing him now. All I can think of is “When can I see him again?” He is like the drug. I am the addict craving for my next hit. I can’t analyze anymore. Cause I can’t afford to draw painful conclusions about his behavior. I don’t wanna hear any of it.  I am completely,  unrevocably in love with him. I hate it so much.

And of course the hot tattooed woman from his past has to show up right at this moment.

*glares at the universe*

Playlist: Women of Pop

One of my favorite things is long car rides listening to music, on earphones if alone, blasting on the stereo and singing along if with friends.

J is away for a bit. He had to go back home to LA for a family emergency. I decided to give him some time and space away. It would do us both good I think. He can come back whenever he’s ready. Part of me wants to be there for him, support him through this. But I get the sense that my current stance is preferable. I told him I’m here for him if he needs anything at all. Besides, it’s given me some time to focus on me a little, indulge in some reflection on long car rides over music.

Content and peaceful. Those are the words that come to mind thinking about my mental state these days. I’m okay, after 28 somewhat tumultuous years. I’ve found my footing, it feels like. Of course, it took a lot of hard and painful life lessons to get here, but they’re what got me here, so I’m okay.  I’ve made peace with the past and the future. I’m truly living in the moment, as cliched as that sounds. There’s no dream I’m trying to achieve, for the first time.  I’m exactly where I want to be, personally and professionally.  Anything good that comes along would of course be appreciated, but in a natural course of things way. Anything bad will be seen as life being life. Humblebrag is the only way to say, I really like who I’ve become. I only wish I had gotten here sooner. Lots of cringeworthy moments with S especially come to mind.  I’m not really surprised he did not propose all those years anymore – for the first time, I get my past imperfections. But I’m definitely not beating myself up about it – I was just working with the life experience I had until then. It would have been nice to have someone just teach me all the hard lessons as an eight year old.  But I guess that’s not how it works.  Well, I’m gonna try anyway when my kids are eight,  if I have any that is.  Until then, I hope to continue to work, read, write, sing, dance, go to spin class, do yoga and be kind. There’s no white picket fence I want anymore.  There’s no academic laurels I want to earn anymore. I just want to live and love the best I can.

I guess that’s a good note to go back to Spotify on.

Until next time,

S

Giddy and scared. 

It was 1 am. The lights of the night sky filtered through my window onto my bed. It was March, but Winter and Spring had yet to make up their minds about which one of them was on that night. The air was cold, but it was cozy under my covers. I had to wake up at 4:45 the next morning. But I did not care one bit. I was happy, peaceful, content, as I lay on my side, my back against his chest, my head resting on his arm. He held me tight, his fingers absently running across my bare skin. He had just put on his favorite Selena song on iTunes. The one he used to listen to with his brother growing up. He pushed my hair behind my ears. I don’t remember what he was talking about. But I do remember that he frequently paused, to plant tender kisses on the back of my neck, my cheek, my forehead. I smiled with each one, my eyes closed, my soul warm.

Then he sang along.

“Dreaming all tonight…
Till tomorrow and for all of my life
And there’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be
Than here in my room dreaming with you endlessly..”

His voice was broken, soft, almost breathy. As if he was whispering a promise. Like the ones he had done earlier in the evening.

“Will you marry me?” He had asked.

I had nodded fervently, through tears.  How could I not? How could I not give this wonderful man and his son all the love in the world? They had been through so much. I have always thought of myself as having an infinite capacity for love. And they deserved every bit of it. “I will move anywhere, with you”, he had said. “It will be you, me and E from here on forever.”
It was perfect.

The kind of perfect that made me giddy and scared at the same time. ‘Cause I knew it was not going to be this way always. I knew there was most likely going to be a lot of hurt in our future.  But I did not want to think about all that for now.

‘Cause for now, my heart was doing cartwheels.

Him

You know, I really need to write about him. I mean, he’s all I think about all day.

No, its not romantic. Its annoying really. Because most of the thoughts are perplexities. Is that a word? Yeah, seems like it – I don’t see any grammar lines.

Am I really only in this relationship because he is an amazing kisser, and I just really really like being kissed? And kissed well, may I add – he does the whole ‘looking deeply into your eyes, framing your face with his palms, kissing you, tenderly at first, then passionately, then pulling back, looking into your eyes again, smiling as if you are the last fucking woman on the planet, while pushing your hair back from your face’ move that guys in movies do. So yeah.

Well, to be honest he also is great at hugs. One of my favorite moments with him is every time he comes over and I go downstairs to let him into my building – he walks in, his jacket all wet from the rain or snow, smiles, looks me in the eye, kisses me tenderly and then hugs me tight, as if he never wants to let go. In his arms I feel all my stresses of the week melt away, as I hold onto him for dear life…

..for who knows when I might see him again.

And that’s the problem here. He disappears. For days at a time. No calls, no texts. No nothing. Well, not nothing. I can see he’s using my Netflix so that’s there:/ So its not like he is busy working or with his son. As I write this I can picture Jared Freid shaking his head at my typical-girl-naivete. I really should be breaking up with this guy shouldn’t I? He really is just fucking around with me isn’t he? Ugh. Ok I’m gonna do it. Maybe the next time we meet, whenever that is.

*30 seconds later*

But he said he loves me! What if he meant it? What if he actually meant every single thing he has said so far. The things that make it so fucking hard for me to let go. The things that every woman hopes her guy says to her like one, two or in my case with S, seven years into the relationship? And its been barely a month. He wanted to be exclusive on day two – “I don’t like the idea of you spending time with a guy you meant to have a date with, even if you are not interested anymore, but you are free to make your own decision, and I will always respect your choice. But just so you know, as of this morning I cut out all the people I had been talking to and cancelled any dates I had planned, cause this is important to me.” Okay then, so that’s decided. He said ‘I love you’ on the third date. He said ‘you are the girl I’m going to spend the rest of my life with’ on like day fucking fourteen, I think? “I know you don’t see it, but you are going to be my wife one day, I promise. You’ll see.” Well, cue swoon I guess.

I was teasing S about it the other day, saying maybe the universe is making it up to me for him not proposing for a decade by having all these guys be talking marriage in two weeks. First V, now J. I mean yes, a former me would have taken all this at face value. But well, you know by now I’ve been burned enough times to be vary of all mush. The Betches always say when a guy moves too fast, that’s a red flag. He just is saying whatever it takes to sleep with you. Also, guys can say a bunch of bullshit and it doesn’t mean anything apparently. Its what they do that matters. And so far there has been zero effort from his part. Well not zero. He does have to drive 40 minutes to get to my place. But that’s the thing – after our first date there have been no ‘dates’ – there’s only been do-you-want-me-to-come-overs? Ugh. I am so fucking stupid.

Unless you count that one time we went to IHOP after sex. Which I highly recommend by the way. Or ordered Mexican. See that’s the thing – whenever I am with him its really fun. I mean, I am not even kidding, but we made out for a solid hour in the middle of a Women’s Rumble Watch with pro wrestlers looking on, for our first date. I don’t think most first dates are that exciting. It definitely is not the kind of intellectually superior back and forth that gets me going usually – and that’s another red flag. Would I be bored out of my mind in two months? Once the initial infatuation fizzles out? Although, I’m not even sure there is infatuation here. I mean, I do really really care for him, and love him in a way. But am I ‘in love’ with him?

Then of course there’s the part of me that’d rather me be the one who’s hurt. After S and V, I know that breaking up with someone is particularly hard for me. I don’t have it in me to hurt someone who loves me like that, and I’m not trying to be a saint when I say that. Its almost selfish – I just cannot deal with the guilt. So I think, the ideal scenario here would be for him to like ghost me or whatever. That would suck, but also would be for the best.

Which might actually happen, considering I haven’t heard from him since Tuesday morning.

Ok so that’s decided then. I am not going to reach out. I’m going to pull back, wait for him to come to me. If he wants. If not, well at least I got laid at 28.

Love story

So yeah I really don’t know where to start. Its been a while I know, and obviously that is because stuff happened. Stuff I am trying to process. Its been so emotionally exhausting that I don’t even have the energy to write this. I wish I could just say random words and be comprehensible enough. Random words like…..

Boyfriend. Yes. Long story. Short story – great kisser. Me – vary. Me – way out of boy’s league. Me – give him a chance. Red flags. Sex. Third date. He – I love you. He – wants forever. He – you are going to be my wife, I promise, you’ll see. He – has kid. Kid – adorable. Me – let’s guard down. Me – falls hard. He – cancels dates. Promises more. Cancels again. Excuses legit. Or are they? Me – sweet. He – rude. Kid priority. Me – tries to understand. Friends – break up with him. Me – got the feels. Me – confused. Mixed signals. Why. Did not need this. Fuck.

Sigh.

Am I slipping?

I woke up at 3 am today.  Then again at 5 am. Early morning awakening. A classic sign of depression. Am I slipping?

I had to write.

I could go on about what brought this sudden change on, but I’m too exhausted to tell stories right now.  I just have the headspace for writing about my feelings.  It had to do with two uber drivers who asked me out, my being completely naive about men in America, and as my friend A put it, for whatever reason, my standards being “very very low right now”.

I still value these experiences. I have only fallen in love with people I know,  never ‘dated’ technically. Now I have. Now I know what sleeping with someone is like.  It had to happen at some point I guess. It is out of my system now. How can you say you’re actually an adult if you’ve never had a crazy  experience in love – like having your heart broken by two uber drivers in the same week?! I mean, oh my god.  What the fuck was I thinking?!!

I always thought my kindness was my greatest strength. This week I learnt it is also my greatest weakness.  Even with red flags waving in my face frantically,  I decided to give these men a chance because, as I said to a friend before embarking on this ridiculous episode, ” I don’t want to be superficial’. I had always valued intelligence, wit, humor, accomplishments and integrity in men.  I remember always thinking that I could only be attracted to someone more or at least as intelligent as me. Here, all I had to go on was their perceived integrity.  “Perceived” being the operative word. Again, what the fuck was I thinking?!!

Was I desperate? Did I just want to get over S and V for good at any cost? I guess I was, and I did. But also, I just wanted to be like…held. 2.5 years without any human physical contact in a strange fucked up country (sorry America, but I’m mad right now) can make you do crazy things you’d never do otherwise.

I think my lesson here can be best summed up by my text exchange with my bisexual friend who has come to become the perfect relationship advisor. I mean I don’t think the perspective can get any better – a guy who has dated women before, but now is into men? That is just pure gold.

Oh well.

Today

Today was a day I will not forget for a long time. It was one of those days when you really want to go into a storage room at work and cry alone but cannot afford the luxury because you just don’t have the time.

It began like any other call day. I woke up with a jolt at 4 am realizing I had completely forgotten to finish my clinic notes from yesterday – was supposed to do them after the gym last night but had a long hot shower and crashed instead – it had completely skipped my mind! Well, good thing I had my laptop near my bed from last night’s The Office binge. I stayed under the covers and finished all three notes within the next hour and a half. My mind was surprisingly fresh. I remembered all the details from the previous day – I gave Ms A her Flu shot but Mr B refused to get his Shingles vaccine. Ms C was due for her colonoscopy – but she wanted to think about it. I put in a little reminder note for when she comes in next. It was great. I finished by around 5:40 am, and then snuggled back under the covers for twenty more minutes. Then it was the hustle of the morning – a blur of eggs over easy, coffee, trying to use concealer on my bruised upper lip in vain (don’t even ask) and searching for my ID in frustration while Alexa played Honest by The Chainsmokers in the background. Ahh, my life was so hot and perfect.

Walking into the ICU sign-out room at 6:55 am with my usual ‘hey guys’ I plopped myself down, a little giddy.  This had been my favorite rotation in my entire residency. I find myself actually looking forward to the uncertainity of my days in the ICU. Soon, the night team walked in, a little too solemn for having just finished their shift. Before we could ask, J said, ” I have bad news… Bed 12 passed away last night”. I was briefly disoriented. For a moment I wondered if he was talking about someone else. Wait, what?! Bed 12, who had just last evening laughed and joked with me? Bed 12, with the amazing girlfriend of 20 years I had bonded with – ‘I’m gonna marry him now, she had said..I had cold feet the last time he asked me..but now I know for sure..I have to marry him the minute he gets discharged’. I had been delighted at their story – they had met in Kindergarten and reconnected many years later (yes, like V and I). I remember thinking she was so lucky – he had coded twice in the cath lab, and had been succesfully resuscitated, and had improved so much in two days that he was  sitting up in a chair and joking around, eager to go home. Only he never got to. And she never got to marry him. He possibly had another clot in his LAD, they said. I couldn’t believe how fucked up this was. I sat through sign-out trying to focus, but my mind was already numb.

Well, I couldn’t afford to stay that way much longer – it was barely 8 am and my pager was going off incessantly.  The ER attending was calling ICU consults with a vengeance. I wasn’t rattled though. I shrugged and got to work. I downgraded the less sick patients to a regular floor/Telemetry, and worked in earnest stabilizing the others. As I went through my day I marveled at how much my efficiency and confidence in my clinical decisions had improved over the last three years. I could almost do this in my sleep now.

Around 1 pm, I had finally almost caught up. The anion gap had closed and sugars were under control for the young newly diagnosed Diabetic patient with Ketoacidosis. The 91 year old with COPD exacerbation was now off BIPAP, saturating well on nasal cannula at 5 L. Labs were cooking for my post op patient in Room 13. He had had a hernia surgery, with small bowel resection, developed a post op anastomotic leak, had that repaired, and then developed a retroperitoneal bleed , with wound dehiscence, and was taken to the OR again today. I had started him on some sedation and pain management as my attending had advised. He was hemodynamically stable. Maybe I have a minute to finally start working on my consult notes, I thought, ignoring my pangs of hunger. I had barely sat down when my pager went off again. CODE BLUE IN 32 SOUTH, the overhead announcement repeated. I ran, 32 South was the ICU. I burst in through the doors when R directed me to the back of the unit. ‘It’s 13′, he said. Fuck.

We coded him for 20 minutes, and then finally got a pulse. Barely. He had become hypotensive and acidotic once he got on the unit while I was down in the ED, and my attending had been working on keeping him afloat, putting him on three pressors and pushing bicarb. His systolic blood pressure was still in the 70s. He was bound to code again. We called the family, asking them to come in as soon as they can. They wished for us to try all we can until they got there. We obliged. He coded again. We resuscitated him again. He held on until the family got there. My intern had his first go at the difficult conversation. Would they want us to continue to try and resuscitate him, when that may just prolong his suffering? I did not expect them to know the answer. And they did not. We decided to give them time. Meanwhile, we called the Chaplain for them so he could get his last rites.

But time is elusive. It slips by before you know it. CODE BLUE IN 32 SOUTH was called again. We ran over, to find 13’s lovely nurse N waving her arms indicating NO. They did NOT want us to pound his chest anymore. He was DNR now – Do Not Resuscitate. We let him go.

N was hugging everyone in the family tight. Tears were rolling down all of their faces. I blinked back mine. He was a good man, the wife said. We got them a bereavement tray  – I truly do not know what that entails – some food and other things to provide comfort, I was told. I hope it helped.”I have to get the fuck out of here’, the son said in anguish before walking out of the room where his father lay cold. I called my intern over. ‘Have you ever done a death exam before? Come, let’s do it together’  I told her the steps. He was not responding to verbal or tactile stimuli. His pupils were dilated and fixed.  We each listened to his heart and lungs and checked his pulses. We flashed a light in his eyes. We checked his reflexes. Time of death: 16:30.

ER paged again. My second COPD patient who had his blood CO2 level so high it was unmeasurable, was having second thoughts about his code status. He wanted a tube now. The Catholic in me secretly rejoiced – it has been a constant struggle for me to be the one who has these conversations with patients – I wanted them all to want to live! ‘Protect life from conception till death – my Catholic medical school had taught me. This whole DNR business was new for me. I explained his options to him again. I am always careful to start these conversations reiterating that this is something I am required to ask every patient in the hospital – asking them their code status does not imply that they are going to die the next minute. But in this case it could go either way. He was alert and awake at that CO2 level. COPD patients sometimes live at these higher levels of CO2. I truly could not predict his prognosis in the next 24 hours. But naturally, that is what the family wanted to know. What do you think his chances are? I tried to explain the facts while trying to not make the decision for them. The daughter tried to get her father with mild dementia understand the question again. She began to repeat my explanation to him, and then broke down unable to continue. I got her a tissue and rubbed her back pathetically.

The rest of the day was a blur of similar emotions. I know I did good today. I actually played doctor. I helped some people through their worst nightmares. I was efficient, effective. I got the job done. “You guys were terrific today’, the ICU ACLS coordinator said to my intern and I. ‘Thanks’, I smiled feebly.

It is 8:30 pm. I opened the door to my apartment, switched the lights on, took my coat off. Then I crumbled to the floor, sobbing.

 

Thanksgiving

I know I haven’t written in a while. No, I haven’t given up on yet another blog. I just wanted to make sure I had something quality to say every time I wrote. Something that wouldn’t make an older me cringe a few years down the line. Also, I use this as a platform to work things out in my head and I have been fortunate enough to not have any pressing concerns in the past couple of weeks.

Yes, it has been an unusual period of bliss-ed out contentment for me. One that I am very thankful for. I figured it would be appropriate to take a few minutes out of a day off that happened to fall on the eve of Thanksgiving Day to log my gratitude.

A lot of things have factored into this joy. I am doing well at work. I love my patients. I have found enjoyment in studying Medicine again. I am excited about my future. I have learnt to appreciate my family for how absolutely wonderful they are, and not take them for granted. I may have finally found my clan in Chicago – a group of smart, funny, decent Malayalees around my age who I met at a Meetup event, almost all of them having lived in Bangalore at some point in their lives! – can you sense my excitement? Now it may all fizzle out but I am OK with that possibility. I have learnt not to have lofty expectations of people. I have spent lot of time in the past dwelling on being disappointed by friends. Now I realize that is probably because I hold them to very high standards.  Most importantly, for the first time in my life, I am not looking for love. I really really like myself and seem to not mind not having constant validation of my worthiness.

Now this may seem to be contradictory to that statement but I recently went to a Dabble class on “How to attract with allure and approachability”. Yes you are allowed to laugh at me now. It was something I had signed up for before this whole I don’t-need-a-boy emancipation came about. I decided to go anyway, and boy, am I glad I did! It was a small intimate gathering of of five single women sharing their stories of love over wine at the host’s apartment. All the while our wonderful coach gave us eye-opening tips on things that must be holding us back in love. It was as delightful as it sounded. What I liked best was how honest everyone was with their vulnerabilities. It was interesting how even though we all might have our individual hurdles, the common theme was self- doubt. It was yet another instance where it was evident that we as women, tend to put ourselves down so much in our heads, that we might be really really far from our truths. I came out realizing a lot of my mindsets that must have been holding me back for years in situations that I could have taken to my advantage. Oh and guess what? We enjoyed each others company so much that we ended up exchanging numbers and making plans to catch up again this Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong. I am terrified that this will all come crashing down come December 6th on Fellowship Match Day. I like to think this time around I have enough maturity and wisdom to approach this period of uncertainty with balance and grace. I hope I can manage to keep my sense of hope and purpose in case things turn out unfavorably for me. I really struggled the last time during Residency Match two and a half years ago. In hindsight, things really did work out for the best. But I was young and naive and used to winning all the time at the time. I have learnt to forgive myself and others for my perceived failures. The fact that I said “perceived” in itself is a revelation to me of a change in mindset. I now have a mindset of acceptance and pride in myself and all that I have achieved. And I am finally happy to just live in the moment, doing the best I can each day, not agonizing about what people think of me, or what the future may look like for me. I am paying my bills on time. I have a 401k. Going to the gym daily has become a habit. I am reading, listening to podcasts, watching the news, making conversations with strangers, going out of my comfort zone. I am also making time to hang out by myself in my living room that I so lovingly decorated two years ago but never used much as a result of being too high-strung all the time to just relax on my couch. Thank you, Whoever is making all this happen. Please make it so that I am this happy come what may for the rest of my life. And please help me keep my feet on the ground while I am at it.

A rant

This is nice. I find myself looking forward to writing daily. Like I can’t wait to tell the internet how my day went. Which is also kinda sad as clearly I am compensating. Well, who cares? Survival.

The thing I realized about getting over somebody is that one needs to build a life that does not contain that person. I think my breakup affected me so much because that relationship was the only thing I knew.  We went to the same classes, spent every meal together, studied together, basically spent every waking moment together. We had the same set of friends, had similar dreams and ambitions and similar values. And it was all fun. I have had so much fun in my twenties with S that I must have been seriously blessed. He made me laugh. There was that constant back and forth, the fun banter. I was entertained constantly. I lost all of that. And that happened when I was in a whole new country with a whole new, stressful job, away from my friends and family. I never got to go get drunk with my friends, lamenting my breakup. I never got closure. It did not help one bit that the people I was exposed to initially during my time here were not even close to the kind of people I would have allowed in my life if I had a choice. I clung to my memories and my life back home for dear life. But now, things are different. All the bad guys are no longer in my life. I have been fortunate to have met some genuinely nice people since. People who have actually managed to make me laugh for the first time in a long time. I am yet to let anyone in, but at least I am happy when I am with them. I finally feel like I am ready. To start moving on.

My friend and mentor Dr V once told me she used to make a list of all the things she did not like about a guy when she had a breakup, and that always helped. I always hesitated to do that because as it must be obvious to you by now, I tend to justify everything S did. I always found excuses for his behavior. When he could not commit even after 7.5 years, I thought it was because we were too young to get married. I often wonder now, was it all even real? Was it all in my head? Come to think of it, he had wanted to break up with me at least three times before. He even did once. Ok. I don’t have the energy to go into all that right now. Bottom line is, I should stop being blind in love and be an adult.

Honestly, I love my life otherwise. I have nothing to complain about. Work is good. I enjoy what I do. The future holds promise. I have hobbies again. My skin looks great.

Jokes aside, I hope this feeling lasts. I hope I don’t fall back into old patterns again. It is hard though. Like this morning. I woke up confused. I was dreaming. I think whoever makes dreams is so cruel. This one was cruel, and weird. It was about how S and I had a child, and now that we were not together he got custody. In the dream I was terrified about someone else becoming my child’s mother. Wtf. I mean, where did that come from? I did not know I was ready to have a child. But apparently my subconscious thought I did. We were on a bridge. It was a boy, and he was adorable. I remember that, although his face is kind of blurry. S and I were on either side of him, holding one hand each. We were doing some kinda amicable co-parenting shit. It was a bad dream but I woke up and realized I preferred it to my reality. At least S was in my life. I could see him. He was not in a different city. We had a baby. God. I am sounding like a crazy person even to me. But you see my point about it being fucking hard to build a life without him, when even if you forget, your fucking dreams remind you of what you lost?

Fuck. I am angry and exasperated. I am tired of this, really. I think I need to tap into that part of me that gets angry at S sometimes. P says even she thinks it is time he came around. It has been two years for heaven’s sake. If he even cared an ounce about me he would have made an effort by now. He knows how much I struggled with this. He knows that by not giving us a chance he is throwing away almost a decade of both of our lives. And a lifetime of happiness. Well, I guess he does not care. So that’s that then. Its all on him from now on. I have done my part. I fucked up, but I made amends.  I am going to stop beating myself up now. I don’t think I have any more left to give this relationship. Surely I have better things to do. And better people. So help me God.

 

Note to self: How to get over a breakup.  

I was reading Anna Faris’ new memoir Unqualified today.  It was something I had picked up on a whim at the airport. I wasn’t engaged in her life in any way before I bought the book. But for the past two days, I haven’t been able to put it down. It was heartfelt, honest and personal. I have always loved memoirs. I am glad I found another good one. One of the chapters was on how to get over a breakup. It was a collection of advice from different people who had responded to a Facebook survey by her. And boy, it was good. It got me reflecting on how universal this experience is.  Everyone goes through heartbreak at one time or the other. That puts a different perspective on my predicament. It helps to know I am not alone in my loneliness. That chapter got me searching for similar advice on the Internet.  Here is what I found:

Note: None of this is mine.  This is simply a consolidation of things that I found particularly helpful from Anna’s book and elsewhere, so that I have a reference to go to at times of weakness.

1. There is no timeline. It may take three weeks or three years depending on what that relationship meant to you or how invested you were. So don’t beat yourself up for your inability to move on.

2. Fill your life and mind with other things that you love.

3. Don’t be in a hurry to date again. It is not fair to whoever you are dating if you are still hung up on your ex.  Give yourself time.

4. Make as many friends as possible.

5. The no contact rule. This is one I particularly struggle with.  It does not mean you can never talk again. It does not have to be a set number of days. It is for however long you need to heal. And it is essential to healing.  So do it.

6. Again, there is no timeline. You don’t have to get married by the time you are 30 and have 2.5 kids by 35. It may still happen. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll be just fine. Don’t sweat it.

7. Go on hikes.

8. Tidy up things in your life.  Your apartment, computer screen, closet. It requires just enough focus to give your mind a rest.

9. Volunteer. Focus on things bigger than yourself.

10. Write about your feelings.

Well, check on that last one.