Getting down to business in the New Year

hannah

Me sporting the busy grad student look in News Graphics and Design class

Prior to my breakup I was fine with the status quo: continuing to live in Chicago, my cushy flexible part-time job and the state of my relationship. For at least a month our relationship was in this grey area where he had technically broken up with me, yet we continued to act the same in every way, minus the label and commitment that comes with actually being together. The past few months have been a time of coming to terms with the direction our relationship was going and cutting myself off from the temptation of still being in contact. Simultaneously, I’ve realized that I’m actually not satisfied with the state of my life and job. My roommate and I eat way too many snacks and frozen Trader Joe’s meals in lieu of cooking dinner. Though if you ask her, she’ll say that I eat more snacks/unhealthily than she does. My job is not busy or challenging enough. I thought I couldn’t wait to finish grad school, but now I’m missing writing news articles and the hunt for a good story. Editing for an ophthalmology department does not give me the same thrill or sense of accomplishment. I want a job where I’m producing creative content.

So going forward here’s my to-do list for 2018:

  1. Get a new job that I love. Unsure if it’ll be in journalism or in Chicago, we’ll see.
  2. Cook and eat real food instead of opening bags of snacks and microwaving frozen dinners. This should help with the fact that people have been commenting on how much weight I’ve lost lately and asked for my secrets. Like I said, this breakup is the best weight loss method ever, except I didn’t want to lose weight nor was I trying to. .
  3. Meet the love of my life this year if I haven’t already. Yes, I’m aware that this one is not fully in my control, but I will show up to every church conference and event possible this year and generally be open to meeting new people through friends or the new job. I’ve learned that I’m good at loving and caring for someone and I look forward to receiving that same level of love and care back. He might be reading this, but I’ve realized my ex was selfish and cared more for himself and his goals than for me. Oh well.
  4. GET A PET!!!!!! I’ll have made it in life when this happens.
  5. Publish some news articles this year whether it’s through a job/internship or freelancing. 
  6. Make new memories by exploring Chicago while I’m still here and by having lots of fun with my roommates and group of church friends in our community. Check! Out with the old memories that haunt me and in with the new. My roommate and I have a new ritual of lighting candles and eating TJ’s snacks while watching “The Gates.”

That’s about it. The enormous upside of feeling like your life is in transition is that anything is possible. It’s only onwards and upwards from here.

Advertisements

The silver lining of my breakup

indiana

Escaping to this place in Indiana this weekend. Photo by me.

“You can’t keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair” (Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons). Bat the birds of sadness away with a bat if you have to. Expel them with the flood of endorphins that comes from lifting weights until your legs shake. Get outside when you feel lacking in energy and motivation. And give yourself credit for all you’re doing to chase those birds of sadness away.

My mom always told me to read my Bible when I’m sad, but now I’m actually doing it. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). Right before I fall asleep I tell Him, thank you for all you’ve done to heal my heart so far. Please continue to heal it.

The pessimist in me can easily be negative these days, if not for a sermon I found online through one of the blogs I read. Daniel and his three friends trusted God even when King Nebechadnezzar cranked up the heat on the fire he put them in. Our trust in God and faith in Him and His ways should not depend on our outward environment or how we feel that day. This week’s mantra is: I trust you. You’re God and you know what you’re doing.

Mind you there are pros to this whole breakup/heartbreak thing. And the list keeps growing.

  1. Grief is the best diet I’ve ever experienced. And yes, I can call it grief because I lost someone who was part of my life for over a year.
  2.  I’m discovering just how strong I am. Life lately is me working hard to bat those birds of sadness away and succeeding.
  3. I’m experiencing the power of God’s grace that was only a theory to me before. The Bible is full of God’s promises to us and all the things He wants to be to us. Sometimes it takes the rough times and being brought to our end for “our Father’s full giving to begin” (rough paraphrase from the song, “He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater.)
  4. All the possibilities in life. I was kinda sticking around in Chicago for my former boyfriend. But now I can get the heck out of town! My career can go in any direction and I’m not limited by the jobs here. It’s been awhile, but I can be open to new guys and freely flirt again.

There’s more, but it’s time for me to collect my belongings and hit the road for Indiana this weekend!

The comeback kid

girl running

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

My new anthem crystallized within me as I hit the elliptical. It was my 28th birthday. Earlier I cried at my desk at work, practically sobbing as I listened to the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness, ” while reading through scientific studies. My recurring thought of the day was ” I just want to feel loved” punctuated by surfacing negative thoughts of not feeling good enough or  I must’ve done something wrong.

I knew I couldn’t go on like this. I needed to take action, so I started by hitting the gym everyday. Let exercise be my medicine. Not to mention I called on the Lord a lot and allowed the hymn’s words to pierce my soul.

Later on the elliptical as I blasted upbeat pop songs while glancing away from Trump on the TV, I felt a resurgence of strength. This is my year to shine! All the times I’ve rebounded from lows, from failures, from feeling crushed came back to me. I’m the kind of person who goes from losing all my friends, to picking up new friends the first day senior year of high school. That spring I thought getting rejected from all the University of California schools I applied to, except Santa Barbara and getting waitlisted by 4 private schools was the lowest valley of despair. I vowed that would never happen again. The last line of my personal statement to Berkeley epitomized my comeback and re-application a year later, “I’m back and I’m better than ever.”

That’s me. I come back from the lows of life, stronger and better than ever. I turned the experience of receiving too many rejection letters from elite schools to future successes. I got into 2 out of 2 grad schools I applied to: Columbia and Northwestern. I’m currently being paid to read and write advanced scientific material. Hey my mom’s dream of me becoming a scientist didn’t come true, but instead I’m fulfilling my version of that dream while working in a lab with PhDs.

After struggling in grad school, my first quarter back I got straight “A’s.” Each of the 4 times I’ve run a half marathon, I’ve gotten faster. I can run 13.1 miles in less than 2 hours. Each relationship I’ve been in( very few actually) has been better than its predecessor. This is my year to bounce back stronger than ever before in all facets of life. While “those who know their God, show strength and take action,” the ultimate outcome is still in His hands(Daniel 11:32). The outward environment may look dismal and bleak, but I’m a person of faith, faith in God and His Word. Behind the outward environment are the unseen things and I “walk by faith, not by appearance” (2 Cor. 5:7).

Every post I’ve written lately, I can’t help starting to cry while writing it. But I know that “for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:19). Now more than ever I need your prayers and His supply. And I have faith that better times that I can’t even anticipate or imagine at this moment are around the corner.

 

 

 

Finding ‘strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow’ through the pain of heartbreak

heart

This breakup has dragged on into a nebulous gray area, but this much is clear: Actions speak louder than words. I told him(my former boyfriend) that this week. He texted, wanting to know if I was going to get another bear. It’s like yes, I have every right to. I want someone who wants to be with me right now. Not in April. Someone who wants to see me every weekend and even waiting until then is not enough.

Through tears and hopefully some clarity, I’m trying to day by day press on. Lately, the kind of heavy sadness has hit me, where it’s harder to get out of bed and I’m less motivated. The world is tinted gray. If you look out the window that also applies because I live in Chicago.

But as someone older told me tonight, don’t discount yourself. There will be others. You want someone who makes you a priority. Plus this week I’ve felt the tangible anticipation for a new, fulfilling job. I’m working on getting one by February. If only, I could just get a beautiful black lab. A carton of eggs, some milk and a dog just like that. Tears are streaming down my face as I write this. Six more days until California. San Francisco, sunshine and family here I come.

As much as it hurts right now, I hope one day I can look back on this and be thankful. Sometimes something has to end for something else to begin. I felt inspired yesterday when I read that my favorite blogger, Cup of Jo started her blog as a distraction from heartbreak. Likewise, I hope to rise like a phoenix out of the ashes of this inwardly devastating event. I’ll be able to point to this time and say, look at those jobs I applied to and the dream job I got! Look at all the writing that came out of my soul. Those stories that I finally got published in x wonderful publication.

I can’t help, but cry harder, breathe shallow breaths. I know God loves me and didn’t do this just to pain me.

I think I will need a little time to heal. It’s going to be so hard. I look forward to getting on a plane and flying away, to seeing all the changes in my life both now and later that will come.

(Photo from Redbubble. The above pillow is for sale here.)

Looking forward

Today I googled how to get over heartbreak. I learned that while writing helps, writing about other topics like your day is more beneficial.

I’m back to being angry or upset and driven by a fiery determination to move on with my life. I’m going after my dream job, the kind of job that if I was doing it right now, I’d be thoroughly distracted and immersed in what I’m writing every day. Better look at what to apply to next.

I also have this strong sense to forget and look ahead to the future. Who will my next and hopefully last boyfriend be? Somehow I’ll put myself back out there and meet as many people as possible. I want to go on dates. Forget the pain I’m feeling. And not sit here crying at my desk.  I accept any and all introductions. Just no one short please.

If I could, I’d pack up and leave Chicago. I want everything to be different. I’m ready to leave the past in the dust, to make new memories. To create the life I want.

How to survive heartbreak or the aftermath

sunset

Taken from my Instagram post. A previous blog post mentions the above NYTimes inspired 13-word love story I wrote about us. 

Step one: As the need for a cat escalates to urgent, set about acquiring one. Check! There’s one sitting in my apt right now.

Step two: Show up! Even though you’re reeling from crushing emotion, unfortunately the world doesn’t grind to a halt. Go to work everyday and attend more meetings than usual. I even went to the prayer meeting and didn’t shy away from any social activities or dinners.

Step three: Ask for support.  In the past, I’ve hid from the world and attempted to bottle everything up, like when grad school at Northwestern was going poorly. That did not work. This time, I let my community know. I told my best friends and family. I even posted a vague, but poetic Instagram post letting everyone know I was in pain and would like to hear anything they had to say.

Step four: If someone had the nerve to break up with you over the phone, insist on an in-person conversation. Thankfully even though this was our case, we talked in person last night and now I feel so much better. I almost feel like my Instagram post was perhaps hasty and a follow-up would read, nevermind just kidding! I think everything will be okay.

Step five: Turn to the Lord. Last, but certainly not least, I cried out to the Lord this week. Had many conversations as I was walking along in the cold or as I stirred in my bed in the morning. So grateful for the verses and words of encouragement other believers gave me this week. I believe I experienced more of Matthew 11:28, learning to come to the Lord and He will give me rest. That’s what it says and it’s a promise.

My heart hurts

It ended as it began, over text this time no phone call. I’m at work he said. I’m sorry, he said over and over. In response to a screenshot of what someone advised me to tell him, he said he’s not 100 percent committed. I’m sorry. I hope and pray you’re available when the time is right.

I read as the screen lit up sitting in my bed, bunk bed mind you so I had to not move so I didn’t disturb my roommate. My mouth was quivering. The information I took in can’t be real I still think.

I’m angry and upset. At the least I deserve to be told in person. He thinks two months ago counts, but then we stayed together in every way, but name only.

Heartbreak is universal, at least now I can write about it.