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What I Had to Give Up in Order to Get What I Have (And Why I Won’t Apologize for It)

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In 2017, my heart and world broke simultaneously. I struggled for most of the year deciding if I should stay with my fiancé or cancel our upcoming nuptials as well as our future life. Once I realized what was missing from our relationship, I knew I had several options. I could stay, lie to myself, and feign happiness for the remainder of my days. I could bolt, break it off, and forge a new path on my own, or, I could cowardly try to straddle both lives, still lying to all, while I potentially danced in the shadows of infidelity. In the end, I chose Door #2. Thus, even though I hated it in P.E. class, I decided to run - to break it off, then sprint into the unknown….and I’m sincerely thankful I did.

As you might imagine, breaking off an engagement in a map-dot kind of town was front page news for months, and if that wasn’t enough, the hateful, unsolicited comments I received from others were enough to make a girl go into hibernation. I already felt awful and certainly didn’t need help from anyone else in that department, but still, people told me that I was making a mistake, and that I’d come to regret my decision. True, I had to give up some beautiful things like a sweet fiancé and his loving family, but what I received in return far outweighed that initial, painful decision. I don’t regret my choice, and in fact, I only wish that I would’ve made it sooner…if only for both of our futures. Now that several years have passed, I’ve had a great deal of time to consider all that came with deciding upon Door #2. Consequently, I’ve outlined a couple major things that I gave up, what I now have, and why I won’t apologize for the choices made, because I think the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make so far in all reality, may have been my best.

I gave up a somewhat certain, traditional life for the beautiful and wide open one I have now.

I was bound for marriage, a steady job, kids, a house and dog, grandbabies, and rocking chairs. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Yes, it was the life I always thought I wanted, and I knew walking away from it meant there was a chance I may never see it again. Funny enough, I love the one I have now even more. I’m learning new things about myself every day, in a cozy home and sweet location, with a pretty special guy, and of course, a dog (that part was never going to change). While it’s scary at times, that wide open expanse ahead of me, I too know it only means I can go anywhere.

I gave up dependency on another in exchange for figuring out what I really wanted for my life, all by myself.

Still blind to the status of my relationship, I was content to follow my fiancé to whatever city, doing whatever work I could find, never questioning if it was honestly what I wanted. Once I started taking baby steps on my own, I understood that finding a career and home I love, while doing it without the crutch of another to lean on meant far greater than just going with the flow. I was meant to do more than play a supporting role in his life as well as my own, and I cannot tell you how happy I am that I came to that understanding, and stepped out as the lead character in my life – just as it should be. Now, because of this decision, I’m reassessing my career, exploring what truly makes me happy, and learning to fill my life with more of what I’m passionate about. If for this reason only, I will never regret my decision to walk away.

I gave up comfort to gain happiness.

The most important realization I made was that I’d been living in an unknown comfort zone for 3 years while in that relationship. Everything was okay, everything was fine, but there was never anything more, never anything below the surface. In truth, what I was doing was settling. I was going through the motions. I was opting for good, and forgoing great. I was content in that space, unquestioning the life and level of happiness I could have. My fiancé was a wonderful, kind man but I never truly loved him in the way I needed to in order to make our life together last. And that was my biggest relationship revelation - there was nothing about him that was settling, but it was the kind of life we’d have together that would be. Maybe we would’ve had an okay life together, but lacking true happiness, I would’ve always felt like something was missing, and I simply couldn’t accept that. It’s my belief that life is too short to spend it fully in your comfort zone, apathetic, and hanging on to mediocre relationships. And so, I gave up my comfort zone, indifference, and half-hearted smiles. Years later, I entered into a different relationship and received adventure, excitement, and extra toothy grins all because of one thing – I was happy. That is a feeling worth fighting for, and one that I will never feel sorry about chasing.

Three years ago, I thought my world was ending. That the sun would surely fail to rise on the eastern horizon the next day. That the Mayan’s got it wrong – it wasn’t supposed to be 2012, it was actually 2017 when the world would end. Now on the other side of it all, I’d say the life I was always meant to live has only just begun. The one where I don’t settle for anything less than being happy.

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