One of the Guys
We’ve all heard of Dr. Elsabeht Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief:
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
This process is both predictable and unreliable. We struggle through it, but can barely comprehend what’s happening until we’re safely on the other side. Sometimes the process can take forever; sometimes it’s a span of a week. But either way, we survive. Slowly, but surely, we begin to live again.
But it’s a different kind of life.
It’s terrifying and exciting. Full of potential and crowded with pessimism. You can do anything, and yet you have no idea where to start.
This is where I am. While I understand there’s no way of going back, I have absolutely no idea what you’re suppose to do in order to go forward. Three months ago I had the life that every little girl dreams of. I had the ring, the husband, the home. All the checks were in the right boxes – my life was perfectly planned.
And I was miserable.
If I’m honest with myself, this really shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. I’ve never been the girl to follow life’s prescribed rules. While other girls played with dolls, I collected dinosaurs and Hot Wheels. At recess, I played basketball instead of trading stickers. While other girls were obsessing about boyfriends I was happy in the friendzone as “one of the guys.” Disciplined and determined, I was a national level athlete who trained under an Olympic coach.
I avoid drama like the plague, I drink beer, and there’s nothing I’d rather do on a Sunday than order pizza and watch football all day. I’m deadline driven, a risk taker, and I refuse to apologize for my opinions. Tell me I can’t do something and I’ll happily prove you wrong.
I never fit a mold as a kid, so why would I ever think I could as an adult?
It’s true, you’ll never be happy being someone else.
As I take the first steps forward in the next chapter of my life, I can’t help but feel lucky. While I royally screwed up the last six years, I now have the opportunity to start again, a little wiser, a little harder, a little less willing to compromise. I know what I can’t do and what I won’t do. I know that I’m strong enough to handle the crap, and more importantly, that there are people willing to help me shoulder the load when it gets too heavy. I’ve been to the bottom, now it’s time to start climbing to the top.
As for how to get there? I have no idea – and that’s exactly how it’s suppose to be. I hate to break it to you, but there’s no life plan. There’s just life. So make the most of it.
Just as grief follows distinct phases, so too does happiness. According to Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, they are as follows:
Anticipation, enjoyment, expression and recollection.
To eke out the most happiness from any moment, we must anticipate it, savour it as it unfolds, express happiness, and then later recall it as a happy memory.
Remember that the next time you’re looking forward to seeing an old friend, or when you catch yourself thinking about a moment from your past. Those are the moments that are molding you into the person you’re suppose to be.
So stop trying to be someone else. Accept who you are. Just because you’re on your own doesn’t mean you’re alone.
You’ll always be one of the guys.