The Advice My Mother Gave Me

Breakups often seem like the end of the world, but a majority of the time they’re a blessing in disguise. I am huge believer in fate, which means I strongly believe everything happens for a reason, as cliché as that may be. In saying that, it’s still difficult for me to keep that in mind during hard situations. Sometimes, it doesn’t seem possible that there could be a reason for something so crushing. Sometimes, when things end, it doesn’t make sense at all in the moment.

            Over Christmas break, I was stuck in one of those situations. The day before finals began, my boyfriend broke up with me over text, and I was devastated. It felt like my whole world crashed around me. We had been struggling because of distance and many other reasons, but I finally felt like we were making some real progress. Turns out, I was very mistaken. When I got home, my first reaction was to be tough…to show him that I couldn’t care less if we were broken up. I wanted him to think I was fine. We both knew I wasn’t, and it felt wrong to take that approach. I didn’t feel like I was staying true to myself, because I am one of those people that rarely leaves things unsaid, even when I probably should. Needless to say, I poured my heart out to him. I listened to all the issues he had with our relationship and did my best to explain why I reacted the way I did. I promised to make changes and try harder. I said and did everything I could think of to save our sinking ship, but it was all to no avail. I felt better after getting it all out, but I felt worse because it didn’t change anything. I was lost and empty after that.

            I tried my best to keep busy so that I wouldn’t think about it. I felt okay for awhile, until Christmas came. I have never felt so alone in my life. I watched my family members with their significant others laughing and smiling. Meanwhile, I just sat quietly by myself because I had nothing to say. Christmas is my favorite holiday, but I had no holiday cheer. I just went through the motions and tried not to cry at the dinner table. It felt like no matter how hard I tried to heal and get back to my regular self, I just couldn’t make it happen. I didn’t know how to function without another person. I had had a boyfriend for almost the past four years. I didn’t know who I was without having another person to put time and energy into. I felt so weak.

            One night, I was laying in my parents’ bed watching cheesy Lifetime movies with my mom when she started asking me questions about my recent breakup. We had never really talked about things like that before then. I never felt like I could open up to her until that point. She gave me some advice that changed my perspective on my current situation and life in general. She said to me, “I don’t regret my life. I love my kids, but you should be young while you can.” My mom got pregnant with my sister when she was seventeen, dropped out of high school her senior year, and married my dad when she turned nineteen. She asked me if I could imagine being married and having a kid at my age, and I realized that the idea seemed completely ludicrous. So, I started asking myself why I was trying to grow up and settle down when I still have so much life to live. I started wondering why my friends were trying to do the same thing. After that, I felt a lot differently and I started doing things a lot differently.

            There is all the time in the world to find “the one”, to get married, to have kids, to buy a house, etc. There is not all the time in the world to be young. Eventually, a time will come when we no longer have that option, so we need to stop wasting our youth while we have it. We need to make memories that we can tell our kids about. Wild memories. My advice to you is to take my mother’s advice. Go to concerts, parties, movies, etc. Drive around with your friends listening to music with no destination. Stay up until the sun rises and sleep all day. Write, draw, create. Go on dates with different guys. Explore your options while you still have the chance to. Do not settle down at nineteen, because it is too young. Life is a crazy adventure, so make the most of it while you can. Don’t let a breakup or a dude hold you back from doing that.