my favorite distraction
"We took it too seriously. We were making plans for twenty years in the future when both of us knew it wouldn't last. He said he was going to marry me. We were going to travel the world and live in an apartment with great glass windows and three dogs. Oh and I knew it was a cliche but it was so addicting to think about. And I admit there were times I believed it might actually happen." - S.Z
*On most days I dig guys, hence me referencing them. But this article is applicable to whoever floats your boat ;)
Boys. Love to love em. Love to hate em. I, like many other people, find love entertaining. Lust, too. Actually mostly lust, since I've never really been in love. I have a friend who has been in relationships since she could talk. She's a boyfriend gal. The kind of person that is always involved with someone. The kind of girl that men want to date. And yet, she will so freely tell you that she thinks relationships are bullshit. That they are a waste of time. The ultimate distraction.
While I don't completely agree, I do believe that like our phones, dating can be a great diversion. This past summer I spent three glorious months traveling throughout Europe. Prior to leaving, I had broken up with someone- a roommate who had turned into something more. Everyone kept telling me that my sadness would vanish once I touched foreign ground. But somehow my feelings managed to travel. In my usual dramatic fashion, I laid on a hotel room floor in Rome and cried.
And then I Skyped him. After mumbling through my tears, he politely told me that we shouldn't speak anymore. Even though I missed the past, I knew that us parting ways was for the best. So I got up, slipped into a dress and took myself out for pasta and tiramasu. The next day the feelings were still present, but much less potent. And as I exited the train to Florence, I knew that I would be ok. While the beauty of the city definitely helped to shift my mood, it was also the beauty of those around me.
The idea of getting under someone new to get over someone else definitely works. And so that is what I did. Momentary affairs with attractive soon to be nameless faces. I felt alive and in control, unattached and moving through the season with an effortless ease. But like most good things, there was an expiration date. At some point my encounters left me feeling drained and wanting more. Once again, I found myself entangled in a pursuit of external happiness. And while great stories came out of Tuscan farmhouses and Parisian apartments, contentment did not.
Upon returning home, I decided to take a six month break from men. Like most detoxes, it felt hard at first. My phone buzzed less, more nights were spent in with books and movies. I felt both boring and bored. But then it started to feel like freedom. I no longer relied on someone else for my happiness. It was up to me to make it happen or suffer in silence. When the fast was over, I implemented a consequence for old behavior. If I used men as a distraction or found myself acting needy, I had to donate $50 to charity. So far I have not had to dole out any cash.
It's important to note that the six months following my trip not only excluded men, but also included concentrated focus on my passions. After all, distractions from one's true purpose is exactly what my girlfriend was talking about. It is so much easier to curl up in a lover's bed than to go out and make your dreams happen. Once I took the time to address my desires, I found that I craved the opposite sex less. The need for them to fill space within lessened. And I felt more empowered than ever.
Instead of acting boy crazy, I pursued a daily spiritual practice. I deepened my relationship with my family. Spent a month with them in New York, having time to play with my 10 and 7 year old little brother and sister. Went on a transformational dream crafting retreat in Tulum with 13 amazing women. Facetimed with my girlfriends. Spent two months with my mama in Minnesota (brr). Worked with a next level coach. Wrote a lot, more than I had in years. I worked extra , saving money for my travels. And I visited John of God in Brazil, asking for a deepened connection to God and my capacity to heal both myself and others. Amongst these new experiences, lust just wasn't that interesting.
As I slowly reenter the world of dating, I am wary. Getting into the pool with caution, knowing that a magical (or not so magical) man could derail me. I am aware of how much energy I have, and it's certainly not enough for giant red flags and one night stands. Let's hope I continue to spend it well.