One of the hardest parts of transitioning from being in a relationship to being single again is realizing how much bigger your world has become.
When you are single your world is only as big as you know it to be. It comprises of your experiences, emotions, lessons, people, places, etc. With nothing else to put into perspective you find that you fit within your world in a comfortable way. You are not a big fish or a small fish and your pond is neither big nor small. You are simply a fish in what you believe is the only pond and you fit. Your proportions are equal to everyone else and you are contented to simply swim from one border to the next with plenty enough to discover and explore.
But when you find someone and embark on a relationship, you have to realize that you are not only dating that person and learning more about them, but you are also dating and learning about their world. See she is not just another fish in your pond. She is a fish from a whole different pond, and now your waters flow directly together. In the blink of an eye, you are exposed to double the amount of space.
This is okay, however, because as a part of a pair you are now also double the entity, and therefore able to handle it all and remain in the same proportion. She brings with her her own set of realities, expectations, experiences, and stories. You contribute yours. Her interests can become yours and yours can become hers. You are suddenly exposed to brand new people, places, and things. Your pond has gotten wider and deeper and the two of you exhaust your little fins racing from one end to the other.
Unfortunately not all relationships last forever, and sometimes two fish who seem to have swum together forever may find at one point that their streams will lead to different waters. The problem here is that, while she may be gone, the world she left behind isn’t. Your pond has permanently been touched by her presence. You will always now be aware of how much deeper and wider everything has become. Whereas before we may have been comfortable in our world and our size within it, we now find ourselves feeling much smaller in a world that feels much bigger.
I never knew about bouldering before I started dating Beautiful again. I never considered skydiving or hiking or any of the other many things she introduced me to. And I know I did the same for her, introducing my own interests and worlds. I find myself now realizing just how much more there is than what I knew. She may not be here anymore to be by my side as I learn and grow and experience but I don’t need her. We don’t need another to feel equal enough to the world we inhabit. Beyond simply just continuing to explore the things she introduced me to I find I am now more curious and inquisitive and exploring things neither she nor I had done before. Archery for one. More travel another. Even relationships have become new things for me as I deepen my relationships with my friends and family on a level I only once ever thought to reserve for someone I was dating.
See there is only so much we as individuals can ever hope to explore and accomplish in one given life. The most inquisitive and explorative of us will find frustration at our limits and resent the infinity we cannot be a part of. The complacent and comfortable will become resigned to their borders and never develop their own incentive to grow beyond. The only way to really experience as much of the world as we can is to allow others to come and make their ponds part of ours. Whether or not they remain with us to explore it is an entirely different matter. Even heartbreak and loss needs to be experienced in our lives.
We can spend our time angry at those who left us. Allow ourselves to be consumed with anger and disappointment at those who have left us behind with this vast and violent rapid. We can dwell on those who built up false promises and hopes and threw us in unfamiliar waters.
Or we could recoil in insecurity and self-doubt. We could continue to feel small and insignificant in the face of the new world, the world of being alone where you once were not. Find a comfortable reef to hide away in as the world continues on without us because we feel incomplete or not large enough to take on the new challenges and stories that await our fish.
Or we could grow bigger on our own. Consume. If our world has become larger than we must grow to meet it. Consume everything. Experiences. Stories. Knowledge. Love. If you ever played that computer game where you start off as a tiny fish and as you eat more and more you grow larger and larger until you can take over the entire pond you know exactly what I mean. Our worlds need to grow and we need to grow with it. People come and pour more water and we cannot just content ourselves to be small or hope to find someone else to make us bigger. We must do it ourselves. We must consume with energy and enthusiasm and the most powerful feeling of being entitled to grow.
You have to remember, have to realize, your pond can always get bigger. There will always be ways whether you choose to or not to have the borders of your world stretched and reshaped. You can always get bigger. You can consume and meet the same pace as your world. But even when the person who made your world bigger leaves and you feel less than equal to the world, you have to remember, you never actually shrunk. You have always been the size you are. You don’t get smaller. You get bigger. When you are left alone, you are not smaller than the person you were before. Your world is bigger, and at the very least, you are the same size fish you were before you met her. Which means you better get out there and consume everything you can. No one deserves to feel like a miniature of themselves in a life-size model of their world.