The end of my second decade has been a time of transition. My previous relationship’s end spelled many uncertainties for my future and spun my mind and body down a spiral of confusion, depression, and deep introspection. Luckily, I am made of star stuff. My confusion worked itself out through careful attention to my thoughts, needs, and feng shui, and I emerged fully prepared for 2017. Looking back, my self-care journey had three distinct phases.
Phase I. Looking Outward
I didn’t know what to think or feel. So, my therapy began with working on my outward appearance. Tale as old as time, right? What a cliche. Well, I completed 5 months of Invisalign and a series of teeth whitening treatments to finally get the perfect smile I’ve wanted ever since I was child. I also lost some weight, fixed my hair style & maintenance routine, and changed my make-up.
Akin to changing my look, I also changed my room. I got rid of everything of his that I could and reclaimed the space, cleaned religiously, and began reorganizing and downsizing in preparation for what I knew was coming: an eventual full-scale move to another home. No matter how depressed or confused I might be, a clean and thoughtful feng shui begins to treat my woes.
Towards the end of this phase, I also invested in bikram yoga again–a repetitive and thoughtful activity that gives me great pleasure at the same time that it tones and burns calories.
Phase II. Looking Inward
The hard part, but also the most important: I began an introspective journey through my decisions, my realities, my experiences, and my ultimate goals. Many late nights alone, conversations with treasured friends, and comforting media made Phase II of my therapy successful. I don’t want to linger here because I’ve made a few other posts about my thoughts from this time, and there’s no need to beat those dead horses. Suffice it to say, these months were hard but peaceful.
Phase III. Launching My New Life, Separate from the Old
Phase III has been in progress for some time now. I could argue that it began when I started getting out there again in the dating sphere. However, I recognized it by name today when I signed a lease with a luxury apartment complex. It occurs to me that I naturally moved into new life adventures once my emotional health and world outlook (Phases I & II) finished playing out. Phase III can be summed up by the following unique additions to my life this spring.
- New trips: I spent two weeks in LA at the beginning of December, doing what I love to do and training new staff for my company’s projects. During that time I drank wine, ate sushi, soaked in hot tubs, met fabulous strangers, and wandered the neon urban lightscapes alone. There are few things so therapeutic as time away on the company’s dime. When I came back I knew I needed to take a trip just for myself. So, I planned a solo adventure to Key West, a locale to which I’d always wanted to go. Traveling with an incompatible companion can be misery–never wanting to do the same things, finding differing sights uninteresting, complaining about driving, complaining about the sun, arguing about food…. I didn’t want any of that garbage, and for the first time I went into a luxury trip with zero inhibitions because I knew I could do whatever I wanted, however I wanted to do them. Traveling alone is simply the greatest way to travel. Key West was the most freeing, beautiful trip I’ve ever taken in my life. I spent too much money on all my spa packages, but I have no regrets about it.
- New romantic outlooks: I had my emotional alone time over the winter (and most of last summer and fall; let’s be honest). Then, this spring I started cautiously dating again. While I don’t know where we’ll go yet, I look forward to our journey.
- New digs: In a few weeks I’ll live alone for the first time in my life; no family, roommate, flatmate(s), or housemate(s). Just myself, my fish, and my garden. Of course, I’ve never done this because I couldn’t afford to live alone; not by a long shot. Surprise, I still can’t! However, I want this so badly I can taste it. In order to achieve solitary living in this mecca of safety, comfort, amenities, and convenience, I’ve been working a second job in the evenings driving for Lyft. With the help of my second job, an upcoming clinical trial I joined, and my careful tracking on expenditure/earnings spreadsheets, I am making it work.
- New job responsibilities: From assistant to analyst to study manager. After nearly a decade with my company, I’m pleased to see my trajectory becoming clear in more eyes than just my own. I will not be taking these new duties for granted and am looking to impress and continue to climb (especially for the financial perks; I don’t want to need that second job, after all.)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The last twelve months and my transition into my thirties was difficult, but it’s brighter on the other side. I’ve regained my personhood, my freedom, my living space, and begun fabulous new adventures. I’ll be sure to post ample pictures and updates from the new digs this summer.