It’s that time of year when you tend to spend a lot of time around your family or catch up with various friends that you haven’t seen for a while and it’s a times like this when you reflect on the past in between stuffing your face with mince pies. I’m generally a positive, happy person although I do have my off days, weeks and even the occasional month. However, I do seem to have a limited capacity for dwelling on things. I wonder if it’s because I’m forgetful or if I am numb to some things, but I think it’s partly because I must be an eternal optimist. I live with what can sometimes be a debilitating disease (sarcoidosis) but I try to live my life as normally as possible because if I don’t, and I give in to the bloody thing, God knows what would happen to me!

I admire people’s capacity to date, fall in love/develop feelings, get knocked down and jump back in the saddle as much as I admire people who get into much deeper relationships that last for years and sometimes where marriage or children are involved and for whatever reason things don’t work out, yet many eventually do get back in the saddle. We feel a lot of pain to make our ‘gains’, yet we keep trying. Do we keep trying because society, our peers, our family make us feel that we have to try, or do we try because of our own internal pressures, or do we try just because we try?

One morning two and a half years ago, after an extended period of disagreement and monumental jackass behaviour, I woke up, went for a walk (I’m so not a walking person unless it involves shopping) and I gained more clarity in that hour than I had for a couple of years. A few hours later I had packed up what I could manage into my friends car, made the difficult phone call and walked away, or should I say we drove away from my engagement and so called ‘perfect’ life. If I dig deep and asked myself what upset me the most about the break-up, it was about the loss of plans, the enormity of the changes to my future, the explanations and what felt like the hideous uncertainty.

One minute you share a home, you’ve got a ring on your finger and the countless things that you’ve talked about but haven’t taken place yet. Next thing, it’s gone because of a decision, a thought process, a realisation. Of course everything seemed hideously uncertain! I go on dates that are so ridiculous I think I’ve been set up by a hidden camera show, but it doesn’t stop me from saying yes the next time I want to go on a date with someone.

Living single can be and should be great fun and is far from being the awful thing that some people believe it to be, but that uncertainty can make us feel scared sometimes and we forget about the good things in life. Sometimes we just have to take a chance on ourselves, on our optimism and just go with it, embrace it, and go with the flow. We can reflect, we make plans, promises or whatever, but sometimes you need to stop fighting the inner voices that say ‘Coulda, woulda, shoulda’, or ‘I can’t/I won’t/I wouldn’t’ or ‘Maybe this/Maybe that’ and just exhale, embrace and enjoy. Looking back all the time is for people with a bad crick in their neck and unless you want to keep yourself firmly in the past, I suggest you turn around and face your future and enjoy the present.

Exhale, embrace, and enjoy.

Enjoy the season and happy New Year.
NML is the founder of Baggage Reclaim and is enjoying a lovely Christmas with her nutty family.

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