The pandemic, I’ve decided, is like a break up. One of those bad ones where you’re either the surprised dumpee, or the other person has done something so horrible that you have no choice but to break up, which feels like being the dumpee anyway.
At first, you don’t believe it. Just give it a couple weeks, we said, things will get back to normal. We had plans! And dreams! A future made up in our heads about how life was going to go. We want our Before Life back, it breaks us, how much we miss some things about it.
Then we got mad. Listen you jerk, my needs are important, too. You, Before Life, weren’t all that great sometimes either. In fact, some things about you drove me crazy. Traffic, grocery shopping and pants with buttons, just to name a few. I put up with it because I saw a future, but now that I don’t, I’m not taking it anymore. It’s time to focus on me!
We re-evaluated what was important to us. We learned that baking a loaf of banana bread was therapeutic. We spent time doing things we’d been wanting or meaning to do but couldn’t before because Before Life was so demanding. We pondered what was most important to us. Who do we want to be now that our future is ripe for change?
Fine, we said a few months later, maybe the Before Life as we knew it is gone, but we can still work it out. Compromise? Come to some kind of understanding, some way back to a semblance of the way things were between us? Maybe we just need a fresh start? Yes, a vaccine! That will do it!
Imagine our sadness when Before Life reneged on its promise of a return. We have had to make tough decisions about who and what we spend our time on. Is it worth the risk of getting hurt to try the Before Life again? We know we have to take care of ourselves, and those we love. We feel sad, anxious, depressed and miserable.
Some people around us wish we’d get over it already. How long are we going to cry about Before Life?
We start to accept that Before Life is never coming back. We will never be who we were before. We have examined that person in great detail throughout. There are things we do now, because the Before Life left us, that we wouldn’t have done before. There are things we will never do again. We’ve learned what our strengths are, who is important to us. We’ve entertained the idea of a different future. One without Before Life.
Before Life, though it won’t admit it, still checks on us from time to time. Every time that happens, we find it maddening. Either we’re on or we’re off! I can’t live my life in limbo waiting for you to make a decision! I deserve better!
Eventually, most people get over breakups. They have a new life, a new future, adventures they could never have imagined before.
Things will never be the same, but that doesn’t mean they have to be bad. Aren’t we smarter than we were before? Don’t we have a better idea now of what’s most important to us that will surely drive us to a happier life? In fact, it might not only be okay that Before Life left, it might be BETTER.
Break ups are draining, especially one that drags on forever. Buy yourself the grocery store flowers. Make a list of things you want to do in the future. Spend time with the people who understand. Spend time with yourself. Don’t forget everything you’ve learned. You’ve already come so far!
Take care, you got this.,