So much can change in such a short time. In middle school, I had a Garth Brooks CD that I listened to over and over, which may come as a surprise to anyone who knows me now and my extreme dislike for country music. There was a song on there that always resonated with me - "Unanswered Prayers." True, I don't believe in god or prayers, but the sentiment was the same as dreams or wishes that don't come true. Perhaps then I didn't have real life experience with anything major like that, but that song is more relevant right now than ever before.
Five years ago this Friday (yes, I remember the exact date), I was dumped by the person I thought I was going to marry. Yes, I'm lucky that this has been one of the very very few traumatic events in my life, and I'm grateful for that. But at the time, it was the most earth-shattering thing that could possibly happen. I had just passed the Texas bar exam, was almost 26 years old, and my friends were getting married left and right (it was Texas, that's what they do there).
I'd planned out my life in my head - I'd be a state prosecutor for a few years, then I'd move up to be a US Attorney, marrying this guy and having a wonderful life. We'd discussed moving wherever the first one of us got a job. It was my first "mature" relationship and the first one I actually thought, more than just hoped, would lead to marriage. When we broke up, my world fell to pieces. I hadn't thought of what could happen if we weren't together. I hadn't planned on being single at 26 while all my friends were married or with the person they were going to marry.
Within a week, I had to move to a job I didn't want in a place I didn't want to live - a job I'd applied for only because he said he'd move with me. But a job is a job, and people weren't exactly throwing money at me at the time. I can't say that I wasn't on the verge of a complete mental breakdown.
In the back of my mind, I had always known I wanted to get back to California. It was one of the most important plans of my life. In fact, I had signed up for and paid to take the California bar exam when I met my ex, and because of him I paid the late fee to take the Texas bar and stay there. California would have to wait.
My job turned out to be one of the most horrific experiences of my life, with legitimate harassment, bullying, and emotional distress on the part of the other attorneys who targeted me because I wasn't a republican and a Christian. It got so bad that after a year, I had to quit. Like "I have a legitimate case for hostile work environment and would win a lawsuit" had to quit. I had nowhere to go, so I moved in with my parents in Missouri.
Hindsight is 20/20, and now I see exactly how lucky I was. Had we continued to date, I couldn't just up and quit a job and run away like that. I'd have had to stay in the same small legal community at least and deal with people I'd dealt with before. I couldn't have moved to Missouri, taken that bar, and gotten a job in Kansas City. And when I realized law wasn't right for me, I couldn't just up and leave for LA with a Honda Civic full of nothing but clothes and toiletries.
While I've had some hard (financial) times out here, the last 2.5 years have been the best of my entire life. I live in a place where I can be myself, where people understand me, where people share my point of view, where open-mindedness is the norm. I couldn't have made the career change I did and go back to school, taking out more loans, if I was attached or married. I'm with my closest friends - people who always have my back - and I am back at USC. I'm redeeming myself for having left after one semester. I'm going to be an alum, finally, of a school I love and am proud of. I look out the window of my living room and see the Hollywood sign. I can go to the beach whenever I want. I live in the most beautiful place in the continental US and have the best friends in the world.
If he hadn't broken up with me, chances are I'd be married, still an attorney, and still in Texas. And I would be fucking miserable. As much as I wanted to and thought it would happen, he'd never leave Texas. I'd never have gotten here, to this point in my life that I'm so grateful to be in. I started to become who I am when I was in law school, but I didn't finish until I made it out here. I'm not the same person I was 5 years ago. I'm...happy.
All I wanted for so long was to be with him. But if it's not right, it's not right. I haven't talked to him since March 2008. While I know what he's doing, because of mutual friends, he's honestly just "somebody that I used to know." Every morning when I wake up and I look out my window, I think about how lucky I am. How I'm exactly where I want to be, and it's exactly as wonderful as I'd hoped. And how none of this would have been possible without me having to experience that heartbreak. As good of a person as he is and as much as I loved him at that time, I am eternally grateful to him for ending it. I will always remember, from then on, to be grateful for "unanswered prayers."