Eight years ago on Valentine’s Day, I asked my then girlfriend to marry me, and she said yes. I’ve never been a big fan of Vday, so I thought it would surprise her and I was right. We were engaged until that July, when she called it off just a few days before I was planning on moving 1200 miles to live with her. It really sucked.
But, I had my awesome family and friends to catch me from the fall. And I also had a sweet grill everyone pitched and gave me at what my friends and I now jokingly refer to as the “Dave’s Moving Away But He Didn’t Party”. I had resigned from my position as lead teacher at a special ed school, so I was without a job. I did end up finding a job, and that job led to my first published book, E-lationship. So it helped me to keep believing (see also Crohn’s and brain cancer) that everything happens for a reason.
I did stay in touch with my ex and we emailed from time to time, but I wasn’t expecting to be invited to her wedding – which was happening only three years after we were engaged. So, I was pretty shocked when I got this in the mail:
I don’t think I emailed her about the invite (I could be wrong), but as you can see from the return envelope, I never sent back a reply. It was tough for me to know she was getting married, but I kept trying to look at the positives. One, it was a good thing that things didn’t work out between her and me BEFORE I moved and BEFORE we got married. Two, it led to me being able to call myself a published author – something I had wanted for a long time. Three, it led me to a very important life lesson:
When things don’t work out in life (whether it’s a relationship, plans, a job), you have two choices. You can dwell on it, be miserable, and hate whatever got in your way, or you can move on. I’ve found that being resentful and hating someone or something or some situation really has no function. Of course there are times to be upset, but staying in that negativity is not going to improve your situation. It’s a lot like cancer. It’s how I dealt with it and how I see many of the Hope Lodge guests deal with it. Yeah, I have cancer and that sucks – but I’m not going to let it get in the way of my life and as much as I can I’m not going to let it dictate how I feel.
I really want a world where everyone gets along. I know it seems impossible, but I think we fight over ridiculous things and hold grudges way too long for stupid reasons. I could choose to let this invitation bother me today, but I don’t. If I want the whole world to get along, I have to include myself in that equation. And if I can’t get along with and be happy for someone I was engaged to, what chance does the world have?
My ex has since told me about her first child, and I am happy for her, her husband, and their new family. This invite may have hurt me when I received it in the mail, but I made the decision to move on. If you’ve had your heart broken recently, you may think this is nuts, but you have to trust me…you can make it get better. Anytime you can decrease the negative energy you send out to the world has to be a good thing, right? I know it feels better to me…