A week ago, I went through an amicable yet extremely painful breakup.
We’re young, we were each other’s first significant other, and we had been dating 4 years. She was worried she was missing what else is out there—that she’d be 40 and wake up realizing she’d committed too early. I tried to convince her to stay, but I recognize she’s right, and I’m crazy for being willing to ignore any of those doubts myself.
It doesn’t make it easier to lose her, though. There really is no one else in the world like her.
I know breaking up is the standard stuff of being 20-something, but it’s hard not to feel like it’s exceptional. Maybe that’s just because it’s personal, so I know the all the details of what I’m losing, the small things you usually don’t see in stories, like her calling me excited with moments she can’t wait to share, me sending her goodnight messages, us using silly pet names... There are sad moments where I get excited to tell her something and then remember I can’t.
The past week has been a lot: random memories stabbing at my heart, moments of ridiculous optimism, regret over every time I let her down, an Avett Brothers and Fleetwood Mac playlist, fear of the future, blank stares into space, and reflection on my life.
At this point, I’m becoming okay. All this has also rekindled my spirit. It’s reminded me of all the great things I’m planning to do, but had forgotten being comfortable. Someone a couple years back sent out a message titled “Plan secretly and without respite.” Find the quoted passage online—I’m no anarchist, but that speaks to exactly how I’m feeling.
My new plans are being laid. I know things will be different in the future and they’ll be ok, even if there’s a space left behind. I’m in tech currently, but eventually want to get into storytelling of some kind. Time to start exploring.
For now, though, the roller coaster will continue. I’m visiting our college for a career fair in a couple weeks. I’ll walk past the places where we met, had our first date, had our first kiss. Her ghost will be everywhere. It’ll suck, but it’ll also probably help me find closure to be there alone, remember, and walk away.
Thanks for reading as I work through all this. I recognize it’s not particularly meaningful to others, but it was helpful for me. It felt right given the timing.
I live in the Bay Area. Hit me up for a drink. I promise I have tons of interesting, other things to talk about when not emailing 20,000 people.
Send me book, movie, & music recommendations! Doesn’t matter what as long as you think it’s interesting and tell me why.
Also, please send me your thoughts, hopes, fears, criticisms, wise words, and startup pitches (just kidding, please not those). The most exciting part of this for me is getting to hear from all you awesome people out there. I'll respond.
Be good to others and yourself.
San Francisco, CA, USA
P.S. a huge shout out and thank you to my friend (and recent Listserve winner) Julia! I haven't seen her in years, but I reached out to her today when I won. Her advice - both email and life-related - has been a huge help.