The Ups and Downs of Moving On

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a problem with letting go. Clothing, pictures, people, all filled with memories. Everything has sentimental, meaningful value, and getting rid of it feels like tossing the value away along with it. This goes hand-in-hand with my difficulties accepting and embracing change. Even if a situation is not good, it can be managed and predictable. Unpredictability terrifies me; I’ve been blindsided too many times before. So, how do we know when or how to move on? Is moving on when you no longer think about the person or memory? Or, is it when the emotional impact is no longer as great?

Sometimes, moving on feels hopeless. Each fleeting thought tears open the wound you so effortfully stitched together in hopes of repairment. It never feels like enough. With a heavy chest and tear-stained cheeks, you have to stand up and go about your day because everyone expects you to move on. Good riddance, you say, as if they didn’t mean the world to you yesterday. But, isn’t that part of the moving on process? Pretending the bad always outweighs the good? It makes the brave face easier, if people believe you came out on top in the end.

(Photo by lexie janney on Unsplash)

No one’s moving on process is identical nor wrong. Cut them off, block them, mute them, ignore them, whatever it looks like for you. You have the right to do what you need to do to heal. If they caused the pain, they have no room to tell you how to fix it. Being petty isn’t the healthiest and most mature route, but, I’ll admit, sometimes it feels good to be a little cheeky. Post that selfie so they’ll see it, flirt with the one you thought was out of your league, you deserve to do things that make you feel good during this time.

With time, each breakdown becomes shorter, less intense, and further apart. Moving on doesn’t have to be staying strong and putting on a brave face. Moving on can be letting yourself reminisce on whatever you lost. It’s being able to continue on when it's no longer time to think about it. Moving on can be leaving class to compose yourself as you no longer can blink back the tears. Moving on can be hearing a song or seeing a picture and allowing the emotions to flood your being, but we always continue. We always push on. It’s not always steady progress; it’s moving forward with some steps back. But, these steps back don’t define us. We don’t have to be afraid of having these emotions, no matter how intense and forever they may feel in the moment. It’s okay to feel what we feel; we are valid, and the world too often makes us forget that.

With every chance to put yourself together, you grow stronger and better prepared for the next time. Every time hurts in its own way, but you start to notice patterns in others and in yourself. You learn how you move on. You learn how you cope in the meantime. Because life moves on, and you should too. It’s not easy, and it’s not fun. It’s messy and it takes time, but moving on has its benefits. We can’t hold on to the past in hopes things will go back to the way they were. We must accept why things didn’t work out the way we planned and accept our new circumstance. We look toward the future because moving on is possible. We have to remember that.