We were taking a break from a round of Sunday afternoon volleyball when I got a text from my dad.
“England just won the match, 1 – 0!”
It was the Women’s Euro Cup quarter-finals, and my friend who plays soccer for England scored the only goal against France, sending them onto the semi-finals on Thursday in the Netherlands.
I turned to my friend sitting next to me: “So England just beat France…” The uneasiness in my tone was nearly tangible.
“You have to go! Why wouldn’t you?!” He countered, knowing that I could still use my ex’s United Airline travel benefits and could fly anywhere the airline flies basically for free.
“I don’t know…” I whispered guiltily.
My ex had broken up with me about a month and a half before, and most motivation was still lacking. I guess you could say that I was still pretty devastated by the breakup. When you’re imagining forever and working your ass off to get there just to have it taken away, you’re pretty shaken.
So I had been doing what one should do in times of tragedy, spending time with my loved ones, processing as the emotions come and go and remembering that regardless of what just happened, I still have all these humans that care for me.
This continued throughout the month and a half after the breakup, but for some reason, things felt like they were getting worse, and the whaddifs wouldn’t stop:
Whaddif I had done this instead?
Whaddif I said this in that moment?
Whaddif I had been better about intentional about this?
I had this once in a lifetime opportunity, but quite honestly, I didn’t feel emotionally ready to leave all that had been taking care of me and travel internationally on my own.
But I did.
The next thing I knew, I had a flight to Amsterdam lined up in less than 48hrs and my AirBnBs were booked. All the plans that I had made in Denver were dropped and my new itinerary consisted of flying 5,000 miles across the world.
We have a choice. We can choose stagnation, or we can choose transformation. We can stick to what we’re used to and try to resurrect on old life where we live in the past hoping and praying that something changes. Or, we can be the catalyst for change and transformation in our lives, creating something new.
The past can be there to haunt you or to teach you. I was letting it haunt me. I spent most of my relationship wondering what I could do better or how I could be better, and this insecurity remained even after it had ended, just living in the past.
Though I didn’t know it at the time, I finally made a choice to break the cycle, but it wasn’t easy. The trip was still filled with ups and downs (like being overcome by loneliness and nearly breaking down on the streets at Amsterdam Pride at 3am), but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The cultural melting pot provided me with my own time and space to process with complete mental freedom. My surroundings weren’t constantly bringing back memories of what was, but instead I was being reminded how large this world is. It showed me that my life can be so much more than what I’ve been fighting for, and happiness starts with me and my choices. For once, I started letting go of what was and entered a new season.