Just try: how heartbreak reminded me of the power of the present

Growing up, I used to raise my hand in school to answer questions I wasn’t 100 percent sure I knew the answers to.

I would volunteer to participate in activities I had no idea if I was capable of actually doing or not. I would walk up to complete strangers and introduce myself without even a second thought. I was, in a sense, fearless.

As I’ve aged, however, that sense of fearlessness has dissipated. Much like many of my 28-year old, “mid-life”  peers, different levels of anxiety cripple even the simplest of my decisions, and I can’t explain why. It’s almost as if getting older and learning more about the world and the way it works has made me second guess everything; each choice and action before doing anything. In some instances, I think this makes sense. I wouldn’t want to say yes to popping a random lollipop in my mouth from a stranger without first making sure it was safe to eat. I have enough wisdom from my 28 years of life experience to know that there is a high probability of that going horrifically wrong. But, I also now pause with trepidation before riding my bike around my neighborhood, and for no good reason at all. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

Recently, something happened in my life that has made me wonder if all of my hesitation and second-guessing is worth it, even for the big things.

My boyfriend of nearly four years, the person I truly thought I was going to marry because he was the love of my life, broke up with me.

Out of nowhere. I honestly never saw it coming, and whenever I stop to think about it, it makes me shake with confusion and sadness all over again.

The weeks (and months) following the break-up have been the hardest I’ve ever experienced, and I have struggled to maintain myself; to maintain Kelly Lynch and the person I’ve grown into. I have received advice from every single person in my life about how to handle the situation, from the incredibly obvious “he doesn’t want to be with you, move on,” to the less obvious and more insightful “nature heals, so spend some time with it,” and I have tried to take each with genuine appreciation and acknowledgement.

When I step back and try to curate a synopsis from the collection of sage and not-so-sage wisdom, I think I have boiled it down to one major takeaway:

that I can’t predict the future, so I should try as hard as I can to do my best with the present.

This has manifested itself in a lot of weird ways, but the most enjoyable thus far has been giving so many less shits about things (pardon the français). Yes, I absolutely still care about my friends and my family and do my best to show them that. Yes, I still make time for my health and well-being through exercise and (…generally) good eating. Yes, I still strive to do my best at the things that matter in my professional life, though each of these has been a struggle. But, those little things I used to think far too intensely about before…I don’t think so much about anymore, and it feels unbelievable.

This week, I was lucky enough to visit one of my best friends in her sweet new abode on the Eastern coast of the Sunshine State. We ran in the 90-degree heat and sweat our pits off. We frolicked along the pavement at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We even managed to get a few hours of sandy beach-time in. On the last day of my trip, while hanging out next to the ocean, we unabashedly got silly. We started taking fake model pictures and pretending we were mermaids, and it was awesome. Amidst all of the picture-taking, I had the urge to do a headstand. To be clear, I am the farthest thing from a yoga virtuoso (I can barely touch my toes), but all of the laughing and running around sparked a random urge inside me to just try. So, I tried, and even though the first three or four attempts ended in me tipping over
onto my back, I eventually did it. I managed to stick my legs straight into the air while balancing on my head in the sand for a solid three seconds (see attached, lame photo). I did something I had never done before, just because I felt like trying. I know, I know it sounds absolutely cheesy, but in the spirit of not giving a shit, I am telling you anyway.

Right now, I feel like the happy, carefree, successful Kelly that used to inhabit sparkly, coral, Limited Too jeans. Though for the most part, I am still utterly devastated about my recent heartbreak, I have tried to find the positive. I feel like I’ve regained the lighthearted, less serious version of myself, and for that I am grateful.

In case you also feel lost right now, for whatever reason, please know that things happen sometimes and they absolutely, positively, 100 percent suck. Nothing that anyone can say will heal your hurt or change your unfortunate reality. But please remember that you, a unique and beautiful person like no one else on this earth, existed before any of this “suck” happened, and that you will be okay. You can’t predict the future, but you can do your best with right now, and I hope you can at least try.