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There’s always that lengthy duration of sadness, regret, and fear when a relationship ends. You look back at the time spent and wonder what you could have done differently. Was there anything more you could do? Was she the one? Was your inability to adapt the driving wedge? You take an extra hard look at what has transpired over the course of the relationship and ultimately you’re just left with more questions than answers. At the end of the day for me, I’m left with sadness because I just lost someone I obviously cared deeply about but more so I’m left with an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness.

I know that thankfulness would be an odd feeling to have once a relationship is over. Especially depending upon how badly things ended. But for me, at least this time around, I’m thankful. Why you might ask? This girl, amongst all the many women in my life fundamentally changed who I am and how I act. Truthfully I waited my whole life to meet her. I waited this long to absolutely head over heels fall in love with someone and I’m glad that I had it and I’m even more glad of who I had it with. It’s a special thing love. It really is. It’s not something that you can force and it’s not something you can plan but sometimes you just end up stumbling into something great even if it doesn’t work out.

For me, I’m going to really take a moment and look back at the awesome times we had. The first kiss, the first dinner, date, everything. I’m going to look back at all of that with such fond memories that even if I’m not in the greatest of places today, tomorrow I know I’m going to be glad I shared them. You don’t plan on breaking up with someone when you get together. You don’t plan on things not working out and perhaps that’s why it’s so hard to let someone go. All you do is see the good times the great moments you shared. That’s why breaking up is hard to do. But as a relationship wears on I think you realize more and more whether this is a person you can spend the rest of your life with or not. And for me, I’m not entirely sure I got the opportunity to answer that question but the separation will inevitably be the thing that makes me realize for better or for worse, what we had was special.

I don’t pretend to have the answers. In actuality I probably have none. I only own my life experiences and ups and downs and the feelings that are associated with them. For the time being I’m going to appreciate that I’m sad. I’m going to accept that I’m upset because you know what? All that really means is that what we shared was real. That what we had meant something. I’d rather feel like shit any day of the week to know that the time I spent with someone wasn’t for nothing. As funny as it sounds, I’m thankful for this broken heart, I’m thankful for this feeling of shit because I know deep down that she’s changed me. And I’m better off for it.

For a while there I thought it’d be unlikely I fall in love. For a while I honestly felt as if I was going to be a single bachelor my whole life and you know the truth of the matter is I didn’t necessarily mind that. I was worried that I lacked the fundamental capabilities to love someone. And now I know that’s not the case. Now I know that I can fight for love and I can appreciate love and I can care for someone deeper than I ever imagined possible. That I would be willing to put someone else first. That I’d for once in my life stop being the selfish prick that I am and truly and genuinely with all my heart love someone. That’s a powerful gift I was given and something I will never take for granted again.

Unfortunately, not everything in life works out. And unfortunately not everyone is meant to be with you forever. And that’s ok. Things happen for a reason in life and at the conclusion of each day you have to just smile and be thankful for the days you’ve lived and the days to come. I don’t believe in mistakes. I don’t believe in regrets and for me I’m happy as hell that I met this person. I’m incredibly blessed to have shared the time I have with her because I’m a better person for having met her. So I took my licks, and I took my bruises but now I can smile and look back fondly on the time we spent together. I can live without a regret and know that the pain I’m feeling now is because of the love we shared.

Breakups suck. Losing someone from your life is difficult and it’s absolutely never going to get easier. Take your time to feel bad and take your time to feel sorry but don’t find yourself lost in a funk. Allow yourself the time you think you need to grieve and then it’s time to stand up again. Life is too short to be anything but happy everyday. Life is about falling down and willing yourself to get back up and the fight off the ground is what makes life special. It’s not about the amount of times we get knocked down but the amount of times we get back up. Life is an incredibly precarious, gentle, fragile thing and you should never take it for granted. Be thankful for the time you have with someone in your life because tomorrow there are no guarantees.