I’ve been struggling with this concept of moving on ever since a very brief relationship ended last July, and as time went by it felt like the most devastating thing to happen – and not solely because it was the end of what I thought was a potential relationship. It meant that a short yet very influential and exciting chapter ended in my life and I had to start on a new blank page on my own. It meant letting go of everything that was once significant to me behind and leaving it behind. And the most horrible part was (and still is) losing contact from a genuinely good guy whom I thought I’d still call friend no matter what – and that sucked. And with no surprise, at times it still sucks!
I guess people define loss depending on their personal experiences, but this felt like a huge loss for me. Over the last 6 months, I spent my time figuring out how to forget all that this experience meant to me: how to remove every trace of memory I had with him from my mind, how to discard every emotion he made me feel, how to rewind and go back to how everything was before anything happened in the first place, how to regain his presence back in my life whilst trying to lose the significance he was to me. But it wasn’t until last week, when a kind friend told me something which made me realise that what I was trying to do all along wasn’t exactly what I should do:
“Moving on isn’t forgetting how you felt – It is not thinking about it.”
Now, being a University student who’s currently in her 2nd year reading a Psychology degree (and is supposedly studying for her upcoming exams commencing TOMORROW) you’d expect that I could tell the difference between forgetting and not thinking. Well, believe it or not, I truly understood their separate meaning upon hearing such words.
Moving on is no fun: there’s nothing pleasurable in letting go of something that once made you smile, neither is not talking to someone you were happy to create special memories with. But when this particular chapter ended, I thought I had to scrap out everything which had to do with him. I was petrified of forgetting the feelings I felt with him and the memories we created together, so instead I kept on retrieving something which happened once, and it only deepened my wounds and strained my brain. But just because I don’t think about something, it won’t necessarily mean that I will forget about it, especially if it was good in nature.
You will still remember the first date, when you ended up being 20 cents short after you insisted on buying lunch for the both of you, and the song which played in his car on your way back to university. Or on the second date, when you shared wine but ended up being tipsy to the point that you doubted your age for a moment. You will still recall the nicknames you made up for each other, the stupid things which still make you smile upon remembering them. You could still remember the moment he said you’re beautiful; the time and place you told him how much you were grateful for him. It tastes sweet, because you know how confident and calm and happy all of this made you feel. But this will taste bitter when such a recollection is being retrieved over and over again, and that’s when you will start losing.
You will lose when you over analyse every futile reason why he doesn’t talk to you anymore; when you dwell over the possible mistakes you’ve made when things were “okay”. You will lose when you force yourself to win back everything to the way it once was. You lose when you begin to expect that things will turn back to normal. You will lose when you continue thinking about anything related to the whole experience in the first place – NOTHING is in your control: that is how Life chooses to work: it constantly changes over time, and so do our needs and the people we meet everyday – and I will never understand this process. I can try an attempt to closely analyse every possible trace of such a situation, but I won’t fully grasp the what and why of such things. The only option I could choose is acceptance!
I can accept the good memories and feelings of such an experience and use them not only to feel better about who I am and love myself, but to feel grateful for getting the chance to experience such moments with someone who treated me well, even though paths have diverged. In addition to that, there’s nothing more that I can do than accept the circumstances the way they are. I acknowledge that significant things have been lost along the way, but I should also be aware of the new doors which are opening up to create new memories and meet new people. And although I have no control, nor idea of what’s about to come in the following year, at least my thoughts are one thing I can keep control of!
So I will store such a experience in a shoe box and put it on a shelf together with others that have made me a better human being. And if I stumble across this when I’m older, buried in dust with faded details – it will make me smile, because I will still remember how precious this was to me!