That was the tough love truth. And it stung. The year was 2003. And while my best friends were all settled or settling down with their annoyingly adorable husbands, I was nowhere near the road to happily ever after.
Was that even what I wanted anymore? Truthfully, I didn’t know. What I did know was that while I was no longer in survival mode from my Big Breakup with Mr. Ex, a journey I later chronicled online and in my first book It’s A Breakup, Not A Breakdown, I wasn’t exactly sure where this new destination was. Mr. Wrong was gone. So was the soul crushing agony of getting over him.
Somewhere between our last booty call and deleting his number from my cell phone, I was single again.
Did I feel footloose and fancy free? Sure. But with that newfound freedom came some harsh realities. Without my breakup pain to keep me company, I felt a little lost. Empty. Alone. I actually missed missing my ex.
And that’s not all.
If I was completely honest with myself, I was starting to feel like a failure at love. After all, the Big Breakup wasn’t my first breakup. It was but one of many disastrous relationships throughout my 20s and early thirties that seemed like my very own reality show aptly titled, Loser At Love…Again! And, as if on cue, at 32 I was starting over. Yet again.
I was living alone. Again.
I was minus a Plus One at parties. Again.
I was faced with the disappointment that Mr. Wrong was not The One. Again.
That’s when the big fat fabulous truth smacked me upside my single and fabulous head.
I was free to reinvent myself. That’s when the fun really began.
When I gave myself permission to let go of any stigma I felt about being the token single girl at parties…
When I embraced the idea that my happily ever after journey might not involve a ring, a ceremony and reception, and/or the pitter patter of little feet (other than my two cats)…
When I woke up to the beautiful truth that because I was single I could be selfishly indulgent, quitting my job, changing careers, and ultimately pursuing the life I’d always dreamed of, I realized that not only was I 32 and single -- again -- but I was also ready to rock my fabulous single life, BIG TIME.
I, Lisa Steadman, would date lots of wildly exciting and different men (and I did).
I, Lisa Steadman, would live my life according to my own ever-evolving rule book (sometimes casting aside the rules altogether).
I, Lisa Steadman, would take risks, ask for what I wanted, and trust that the universe would take care of me (99% of the time, it did).
I, Lisa Steadman, would never, ever put myself in the position of crying over the wrong guy again (and I didn’t).
Eventually, I did meet an exceptionally exciting and annoyingly adorable man. And while my happily ever after journey evolved to include a sassy strut down the aisle, I did it on my own terms.
I provided my own engagement and wedding rings (family heirlooms that I cherished).
I kept my name (if it ain’t broke, why fix it?).
And the bride wore red (I looked FABULOUS!).
As for the pitter patter of little feet, well, that hasn’t changed. In our household, our two cats still hold court, but who knows?
What I DO know is that if you’re somewhere between the pain of the past and your happily ever after future, you’re not behind schedule. You’re right on time.
Maybe you’ll decide to be single and fabulous forever. Maybe you, too, will date wildly exciting and different men until you find your perfect partner (a.k.a. Mr. Right). Maybe one day you’ll strut your sassy stuff down the aisle, say “I do,” and enjoy the pitter patter of little feet.
Regardless of where you end up, now’s the time to pay attention to the journey, learn your lessons, and celebrate the life that’s unfolding before your very eyes.
Excerpted from If He's Not The One, Who Is?: What Went Wrong - and What It Takes to Find Mr. Right.