You’ll see us, slowly shuffling down the street, heads bowed, faces blank, with dark circles under our red-rimmed eyes. The angles in our faces and bodies have become more pronounced as we slowly cry away our appetites, leaving us pale and gaunt and too often looking like bobblehead dolls (I’m definitely rocking this look right now).
We are the victims of a freshly broken heart.
When you’re going through a breakup, hours feel like days, days feel like weeks (and so on…). It’s an endless number of hours stretching out in front of you, waiting to be filled. You walk the streets to pass the time and notice how many people walk by in twos, happy and carefree, while your heart is breaking. Some days it’s too much to put on pants, let alone makeup, because at the end of the day, who is going to see it?
All this to say, breakups suck. Trust me, I know from current and past personal experience. But when your life is falling apart, you can – once in awhile – unearth some good amidst the rubble of your life.
So put your pants on, kids, and let’s get back out there together. (Before you grab onto your TV remote – or giant glass of red wine, in my case – for dear life, please know that I mean that we should literally leave our homes immediately). As the weather gets warmer, there are more and more opportunities for us to make the best of our new lives and avoid the ghosts of relationships past.
Here are some of the small (miniscule, even) pleasures that I’ve discovered post-breakup. May they inspire you to see the small but happy things in your life and help you through your breakup, one day at a time.
They are man’s best friend and they should be yours as well. Even if you don’t have a dog, borrow one from a friend (you can’t throw a stick these days without hitting a Yorkie or French Bulldog, so there’s gotta be some to spare). Dogs are a big help mid-breakup because they force you to get out of bed and take them for walks (at least a few times each day). It’s hard but it is healthy to go outside and see people every day, even if only for a few minutes.
Take your pup to the park to play with other dogs. It’s unbelievable how therapeutic it is to watch dogs play, running and play fighting with abandon. Every dog, every stick, every smell is a happy discovery and their sheer joy at the smallest things can make even the saddest person smile.
An added bonus: dogs are a fantastic conversation starter. I get stopped many times a day and asked about my dog Osgoode, so take advantage of the icebreaker and start meeting new people.
Pants & Moisturizers
Anyone who has met me in the past few years has to have noticed that I don’t ever, ever wear pants (of the non-sweat variety). Working from home and dating a hipster, I learned to embrace casual (my mom would call it slightly homeless-looking, but what does she know?). Between texting, emails, Facebook, et al, the only person who sees me on a regular basis is my barista, so what’s the point in dressing up? But no more! Now that I’m single, I am forcing myself to wear real, grown-up pants (and an actual outfit to go along with it) every day, even if no one is there to see and appreciate my skinny jeans.
Moisturizing my body is another habit that I’ve picked up since my breakup. (Guys, you can probably just skip over this part, but ladies, you’ll know what I’m talking about). Moisturizing your body after getting out of the shower is one of the most annoying beauty rituals out there. Who wants to stand around for five minutes waiting for your moisturizer to dry so that you can get dressed?! So for years, I just stopped. Of course, I’d moisturize when I needed to but it was no longer part of my daily routine. The point is that, since my breakup, I’ve started moisturizing every day. Yes, it may be partially because I found the best product ever (spray-on lotion – ladies, look into it!) but it also makes me feel pretty.
During a breakup, we need to grab onto anything, even the smallest things, that will be a confidence booster. Moisturizing and wearing pants are mine.
When I was younger, the word ‘project’ inspired visions of Bristol boards and books, and now that I’m a (so-called) grown-up, it conjures up images of boring, mundane tasks, like re-painting the kitchen. Today, though, I’ve actually realized the value of projects, especially in the immediate post-breakup period. Remember the never-ending hours in a day that I mentioned earlier? Well, here is a way to fill them: projects.
My current project is scouring vintage stores for furniture to un-IKEA my apartment a bit. I want to add some life and creativity into my space. Post-breakup (and the accompanying post-boyfriend-moving-out emptiness), I’m working to make my condo feel more like my vision of a home so that I don’t mind spending time there… alone.
No matter what project you choose to focus your attention on, it’s important to have something to take your mind off of what you lost, and to help you start putting good, fulfilling things back into your life.
At the end of the day, none of these small things are going to make your hurt go away, but little by little, with enough time and space, they could be the foundation of your new life as a strong, independent, single person living in the city