Monday, 27 June 2011

If I'm flying solo, at least I'm flying free!

This week sees me celebrating an anniversary of sorts. It's not one I've experienced in a long time, but I'm happy to say that it's a whole year of being single. As anyone who's read this from the beginning will understand, I was pretty gutted when things broke up with the ex and I would go as far as saying it was the single most horrific moment of my life. It took me a long time to get over him and bounce back to where I am today, none of which I would have been able to do without my friends. It's these people and the offers I've had over the past year which have turned things dramatically around and made it into one of the best years of my life so far.

To name but a few things, I've been kayaking, salsa dancing, burlesque dancing, to bingo, paraglyding, to Amsterdam & Turkey. I've been to the cinema by myself, dramatically restyled my hair (on numerous occasions now) and lost a little bit of weight at least. I'd dread to think how much alcohol I've consumed in the last year, but they've all been pretty damn good nights out and the memories and pictures still make me laugh. The night I face planted and bled everywhere is possibly an exception to this, but at least I can say I've done it once!

I'm still saying 'yes' to as many things as possible and my hectic social life proves that I don't spend much time sitting around doing nothing! I miss the days of cosy nights in, but I'm glad that I no longer miss out on everything else. I used to hate it when people would reminisce 'about the time we...' but I hadn't been there because I was trying to be good and save money for the wedding, or hadn't spent any quality time with the ex that week. At the time, those sacrifices were worth it, but now I'm glad that everything's changed.

Had things still be the way they were, in the next 3 months I would have put a deposit down on a house, taken on a mortgage and end up married to (as I know now) the wrong person. It seems crazy to think about the responsibility I was shouldering and my new and improved 3 month plan is far more appealing. Go to my friends weddings, have fun and appreciate the extra time that I now have, go sky diving and enjoy another holiday, but this time to Morocco. In the long term, I'm looking at going travelling for a couple of months next year. This is something that hasn't really appealed to me before, but I finally feel that the time is right and as I've learnt over the past year, you need to make your own memories.

I'm not trying to be a martyr and say that it's really easy to move on after a relationship ends. It took me a long, long time and a couple of weeks worth of medication to get my head around what had happened. I wasn't offered any closure or reasoning behind his actions, which really didn't help me at all. I was fortunate enough however to be surrounded by some amazing people and be given the best advice I've ever received. 'Just say yes to everything'. I live my life by this and the motto 'no regrets'. Without these, life after love could have been very different, but fortunately for me, I've landed on my feet and have no intention on ever looking back.

Monday, 6 June 2011

To Infinity and Beyond!

Standing on the edge of the precipice I barely had time to gather my thoughts before I started running. My instinct was to squeeze my eyes shut and pray to the Universe, but I forced myself to focus and savour every second. It only took a couple of steps before I felt the wind sweep into the parachute and lift us up and out over the mountaintop where the pull of gravity teased us towards the rocky terrain below. I'd only just met the man I was now trusting with my life, but carpe diem, right?

Earlier that day I had found out that my Grandmother had passed away in her sleep in the early hours of the morning. Not the happiest of news when you're on a girly holiday in Turkey, but it made me realise and appreciate how precious life is. This may sound a bit ridiculous considering I then threw myself off the top of a moutain, but I can't remember a more poignant moment. As we circled the Blue Lagoon and I gazed out over the stunning scenery, everything just felt so right. It was possibly the best thing I've ever done and one of the (although there were quite a few!) highlights of my holiday.

The most ridiculous part of it is that I'm actually a nervous flyer and the thought of coasting at 1600 feet in a massive airplane is enough to raise my hearbeat. But, I've always said I don't believe in regrets, which is the beauty of life after love. Saying yes to everything I was previously scared to do means lots of fun, fantastic memories and no disappointment.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Sex, Drugs and Sunbathing

I've just been flicking through a trashy magazine and seen Amsterdam advertised as a destination for a girly holiday. Had I not just returned from such a trip to the aforementioned place, then I would have been a little bit confused. Surely, Amsterdam's main appeal is the Red Light district, the legalisation of cannabis and the row upon row of bars that seem to line every single street? Stereotypically not very girly, but I suppose that's how much times have changed!

We have a friend who very thoughtfully moved to the Dam so that we could all go over and stay with him for a couple of days at a time. In return for our delightful company, he got the pleasure of showing us round and making sure we got on the right trams as we headed off to see the sites. Unfortunately he also had to work (let's face it, he needed a break!) so somehow the responsibility of 'mother' fell to me. I've got quite a good memory - take me anywhere once and I'll find my way back again - but it was interesting trying to find our way around a city where we don't speak the language and don't really have a clue as to where anything is. In London, the Eye, the Houses of Parliament, even Buckingham Palace stand out as landmarks, but in our case, Anne Frank's house and the Zoo, blended in somewhat. Everyone speaks English as well as Dutch, but there's something about not being too touristy and inept when you're on holiday. Eventually we got the hang of it and I'm still pretty impressed that despite drinking an unmentionable amount of alcohol, I managed to get us back to our hotel without so much as a wrong-turn!

It was great to have an insiders view into the city. We visited bars and restaurants that were down the back streets and not so touristy. I've never met so many friendly barmen in my life! Maybe it's the old English trick of matching your outlook with the weather, but they could certainly learn something from these guys. We also took a wander (how could you not?!) through Amsterdam's notorious Red Light district. I don't know what I'd imagined, but it was so much more. There seemed to be loads of tiny alleyways lined with shop windows and doors with half-naked women posing in them. The look of boredom and the amount that were playing with their phones was quite amusing! I don't normally, but being where we were, we also had a slice of space cake. I honestly didn't feel anything, but it was possible the best chocolate cake I've had in ages!

The weather was gorgeous and we spent a lot of time out in the sun. I know it was only a four day trip to Amsterdam, but it's always nice to come back from a holiday with a little bit of a tan! The stress of the pedallo was far too much, but otherwise it was amazing to have such a relaxed trip. I've still got two more holidays to come, but life after love is proving that it's all about friends and very, very good times.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Reality, with a pinch of melodramatics

Being single is like clinging onto a rock face, with no guide ropes or harness for support. You don’t want to let go and fall into inevitable doom, but you’re being battered from all directions by a harsh and unrelenting turbulence of questions. Why am I single? What’s wrong with me? Am I ever going to find anyone? What if I reach the age of 40 and I’ve still not found someone to spend my life with? Am I really going to end up a crazy cat lady?!
Occasionally you find respite in a crevice. In this new relationship you feel sheltered and safe. You are relaxed, happy and unconsciously try to forget the maelstrom you’ve just been pulled from. Sadly though, some things just don’t last and you find yourself thrust back out into the cold.
Things with the New Guy took a turn for the worse yesterday, when we both agreed that maybe now just isn’t the right time. He’s too busy with his new job and spends most of his spare time sleeping. I certainly don’t consider myself to be a high-maintenance sort of girl, but I do need some attention!
The moment when you know the relationship has to end, is always a hard one. I’m a bit of a coward and go out of my way to avoid awkward or confrontational situations. This means that I’ve never actually been the one to do the dumping. Some women may find this strange. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all up for empowered women who call the shots in their life, but I’m also quite wimpy when it comes to actually doing that. Fortunately, the New Guy and I were on the same wavelength and my procrastinating left him to say it out loud.
It hadn’t been long and we were only casual, but there’s still that strange feeling that the world has changed slightly since I went to bed the night before. It’s hard not to feel world-weary and disheartened at having to go through this all again, but I suppose that’s supposed to be the fun part, right? At least the timing was pretty spot-on, as I’m going on a short trip to Amsterdam with the girls, in a couple of days. Looks like life after love is back to being fun, free and single!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Gunfight at the O.K Corrale

I am grateful for many things in my life, including my amazing group of friends. Even now, they still know how to put a smile on my face, even after a really bad day. Due to the wonder that is a certain social networking site, they even know exactly who we might encounter on a night out!

I was planning on going to the pub with a couple of friends when it was brought to my attention that the ex and my replacement would also be in town that same night. This eventuality had to happen sooner or later and I was determined it wasn't going to affect me. It's been long enough now and I've got nothing to hide. A couple of hours before we went out however, I was updated by a friend that unfortuantely I wouldn't encounter my nemesis as she had other plans. I couldn't help but be slightly disappointed as it would have been nice to finally get this over and done with, but I also couldn't stop laughing. I mean, before the invention of Facebook, I didn't know nearly as much about people as I do now. Where they're going, what time, who they're with etc. It really is a stalker's paradise! Although, in this case I stand by the fact that the stalking was for a good cause!

We still bumped into the ex that night, which resulted in us actually having a really good chat. I'd had a fair amount of vodka already so was feeling pretty mellow by this point. If he did notice the New Guy sitting next to me, he didn't say anything. I hadn't spoken to him in a while so it was nice to catch up and find out how he's doing. I suprised myself however when I heard my voice asking how his new girlfriend was (and by her actual name too, which I rarely utter), which left him gobsmacked. He seemed momentarily taken aback and to be honest, I can't really blame him. In the past I haven't exactly been the nicest about her, yet here I was casually bringing her up in the conversation and not even so I could be rude about her!

For me, this was just another moment of realisation of just how far I've come. I'm genuinely not really bothered about either of them anymore. Sometimes it's still quite nice to have a heads up as to who's going to be around, but life after love is full of surprises and you just have to deal with them as they appear.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Blast from the past

So Mr R (the New Guy) is away at the moment and I find myself having a rather slow week in terms of my social life. I believe Sod and his law have something to do with the pure coincidence of pretty much everyone being busy at the same time and leaving me to my own devices.

I spent Saturday night with my best friend, drinking several bottles of rose and watching crappy tv. The highlight of the night was discovering a 'top 50 dance crazes of all time' show, which had us up and dancing along to such memorable hits such as '5,6,7,8', 'Tragedy', 'Saturday Night' and 'The Macarena'. Apparently this was brilliant timing as walking into Flares on (a very random and impromptu) Monday night, these were the songs we were greeted with. Unfortunately I'd chosen not to take advantage of the £1 a drink student night offer and was driving, but sadly to say that didn't stop me from getting rather excited when 5ive came on and breaking out the dance moves. It was just me and my friend Ben, but was possibly the most amusing Monday night I've had in ages!

Once upon a time I would have said 'no' to a last-minute offer on a Monday night. That was usually the night me and the ex both had off and we'd just stay in. Life after love isn't just about having a social life and not missing out on the good times, it's also about being proud to admit in public that you like 90s pop music.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Am I too old to be here?

I've happily managed to bypass the nightmare that is Valentine's Day. I got in early with the new guy and mentioned how much I detest that awful day. I mean, I hate it when I'm single and it would only be hypocritical if I my attitude towards it changed along with my circumstances. But, on my way to work, I noticed that seemingly every florist in the county seemed to be out delivering massive bouqets of flowers. I'm not one for pretentious bunches of flowers that have been purchased under recommendation from a total stranger, but a girl's allowed to change her mind, right? I'd been chatting to our projectionist at work and in response to the apparent whistful look on my face, he went to Sainsbury's and bought me a bunch of red roses. There was completely nothing in it, but it was possibly one of the sweetest gestures someone has made in a long time. Nothing like pity flowers from the wrong person on Valentine's Day!

As a birthday present, my best friend took me to a Burlesque dance class this week. We used whips, fans and even did a little striptease before learning this routine (do you remember the song from the Diet Coke ads?) Maybe it's the drama student in me that didn't mind being a bit of an exhibitionist in that class! We took the class in a different city, so we could have a crazy night out afterwards. We went to the first pub and were find for a while, until my friend thought it would be a great idea to accept a few free drinks off some guys at the bar. They came and sat at our table, despite the fact they were both pretty much old enough to be our dads. After a while of awful conversation and swift drinking in our attempt to get out of there quicker, we made our excuse of going to the loo. The barmaid was very helpful in pointing us towards a fire exit we could make our escape through and we literally ran to find a taxi.

We then headed to what has been described as the second worst nightclub in Britain. I bloody loved it! Think I cursed things with my last post, as the friend that was getting all loved up, isn't anymore. This meant that whilst she was dancing with this guy she'd met, I was feeling like a bit of a spare part. When it's only £2 for a double vodka and lemonade, you don't really think twice about drinking too quickly. At this point, there didn't seem to be much else for me to do other than drink, or dance by myself! Most of the burlesque moves were quite suggestive and with the new guy at home, I wasn't exactly on the pull. There was one amazing moment however, when I did one of the more subtle poses and it actually worked! The guy was lovely, but I think I ended up trying to set him up with his best (female) friend who was also really lovely. The sad tinge to the night however was realising that we were one of the oldest people in that club. At 24, I wouldn't say that I'm past it or even really that old, but the average age in there was 21. Doesn't sound like much of a difference, but it's still depressing nonetheless.

For a night that I don't really remember much of, I know it was fun. It's nice to get out of your comfort zone occasionally and do things that you wouldn't normally. If life after love involves more Burlesque dancing, then I'm definately going to enjoy it!