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my year of "yes"

When my marriage ended, it was marked by a singular event but I can for sure say that it was more of a process with certain points of reference more clear than others. For almost a year before our separation, my mind started experiencing change. This change, I was told by our marriage counselor, was in part a naturally occurring physiological phenomenon that many women experience in their mid thirties.

You may have met women who have experienced this "thirty-something dilemma" -- they can be characterized as not having any fucks left. They have been beaten up by life, have seen some things, and they just don't have time or patience or energy for anyone who doesn't "get it." In my case, I looked around me and saw that I had been putting time and energy into amazing relationships with my close friends and my children, but I had a partner who "didn't get it" and he was sucking my energy and pulling me down. It was like dragging a dead body through quicksand, and I didn't want to live like that anymore.

When we finally split, I had been pretty occupied with fortifying relationships, and that served me well in the early months of the separation, which by nature were the most lonely and raw months I have experienced. In order to move forward and see the situation I suddenly found myself in as an opportunity, I decided to have a "Year of Yes." On my days without children, I reached out to new and old friends and did my best to live my best life. It was a survival tactic as well, because I was distracting myself from the loneliness, fear of what might happen, and missing my babies-- most importantly it was good practice for living in the present.

I dove in head first and started doing things I had never done before because I had been following other people's rules for my life. I did it spite of all the "no's" I had been given my whole life. I went on the random Tinder dates, I drank too much, I slept too much, went to every social event I could. I made new friends and let people I barely knew (friends of friends) stay at my house when I wasn't there, free air bnb style. I talked about deep and important things with random people in bars and parks and sandwich shops. I struck up conversations just to brighten someone's day and push myself out of my hermit shell. I started playing rugby again and took up yoga and cleaner eating. I went to a nude beach (often) and I made art at 3am, blasting the Cranberries through headphones while simultaneously crying. There was a lot of crying. There was also much laughing and learning.

What I learned in my Year of Yes, was to say yes to my own life. I said "yes" to other people-- whatever they invited me to do or whatever they needed. I also chose to say yes to change and accepting that I would need to reinvent regularly and be humble to truly live. What was only meant to be a year, turned into an ongoing personal philosophy and habit that I simply cannot break now. But why would I want to?

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