2018 had so much promise when it began.
I remember last New Year’s Eve, counting down to it with my friends and family.
I was determined that everything would be good, as we all are when we’re faced with a fresh beginning. I had a lot to be grateful for. I had amazing friends, a committed partner, an almost complete degree, and plenty of prospects.
The first few months were okay.
I thought things could only improve. And that’s when the world came crashing down on my shoulders.
I passed my degree with a decent score. I moved back home where my family welcomed me with open arms. I had a good summer, working my part-time job and expecting things to change once the winter came.
And things did change. Just not in the way I expected.
My friends went back to university, or they got jobs in our hometown. I decided to stay at my part-time job until I figured out what I wanted to do with my future.
The one constant in my life was that job and my relationship with my girlfriend. I thought those things would stick, at least for the meantime.
And then, out of the blue, my girlfriend decided to end things with me.
I was distraught. Four years of being in love with her and years more of friendship were suddenly lost. It was what many would call an amicable breakup – there was no screaming and shouting, no betrayal involved, and no hard feelings.
I would never make someone stay with me who didn’t want to be there. I just never saw it coming, and that was the worst part. The one thing I’d been relying on to stay the same was destroyed in one fell swoop.
My friends supported me, but they didn’t understand.
My heart was broken, and everything I felt for her was stinging the wound. It wasn’t my choice, which made it so much harder. While my she got on with her life, I struggled every day to stay afloat without her. I missed her and everything about her.
I knew nothing would replace her. No amount of nights out with friends and promises of a new start soon could comfort me.
I did heal. Slowly. I had setbacks, of course.
Her birthday had me in floods of tears, and Christmas day without her good morning text felt like a stab to the heart. But there was some part of me that had mended, and I began to think about the future.
For a while, it was like I had to concentrate on getting through one day – one hour, even – at a time, figuring out my place in the world without her. But it was almost a sudden realization that I still had a future.
I still had things to do, people to see, tasks to conquer.
So I began to plan. Now, as the New Year approaches, I have goals that I expect to achieve in 2019. I’m going traveling with my best friend. I’m interviewing for a new job out of my comfort zone. I’m making plans to move out, get a car, start living like an adult.
Things I would never have done while I was with my girlfriend are now in my grasp. I’ve found independence to replace what I had with her. I’ve figured out how to thrive when I don’t have a partner in crime. I’m hurting, but I’m okay.
This year, I’ll chant the countdown with my friends and family. My first New Year without my girlfriend. But I won’t be thinking of her at midnight. I’ll think of everything the New Year can offer me.
And I will smile.
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About the Author: Jason Armstrong is a hedge-fund manager in New York City, who has spent years building a successful career in the Big Apple. Jason is a sports enthusiast who also likes to spend time writing about his personal experiences and one day wishes to become a renowned author.