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  • Writer's picturenautia giles

Boundaries: Journey to 30

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

How heartbreak can challenge your mental health:

The Good & the Bad
















A very heartfelt article I wrote for Womanalia at the very end of 2019. Written during my first heartbreak at age 30, I 100% thought I was going to die. I cried endlessly. https://www.wmalia.com/2020/01/15/journey-to-30/
Year twenty-nine was the most difficult year of my life.

Year twenty-nine was the most difficult year of my life. It all started in January with a birth control implant that unbalanced my hormones, made me moody and an emotional wreck. This set back seemed to completely ruin all of the mental and emotional work I had done for the previous fifteen years. During this time, I literally cried every 30 minutes, constantly felt overwhelmed and as a result, even got diagnosed with a chronic pain and fatigue condition known as fibromyalgia. Along with all of that going on, I had a major surgery and fell in love for the first time. This brings us to the present moment, not even a month into year 30, on Christmas Eve to be exact. I'm basically sitting in a pool of my own tears and writing this from my bed alone on the biggest holiday of the year. Just yesterday we were both so in love, we just laughed for hours on date night, we had a resort weekend for your mom’s birthday, what happened in 24 hours? Yes, we had our fights just like any other couple but to throw that all away like it was as easy as flipping a switch? Back to present moment, my boyfriend of 9 months who I live with abruptly decided that he feels trapped in the relationship and wants out. He left our home and said he wouldn’t return for several days. He is going to pick up a few friends and take them to his parents’ house to enjoy the holidays. They are all going to celebrate with the same family that he told me was also mine? The same family that we planned on spending the holidays with? We all drew names to play secret Santa just 2 weeks ago, this same family? How can my entire life come crashing down around me without my permission? Without me being aware or prepared?

 


I am absolutely devastated and completely fucking heartbroken but everything happened for a reason…or so they say.

Well, after hours of processing, let me tell you what I think. I am absolutely devastated and completely fucking heartbroken but everything happened for a reason…or so they say. As cliché as it sounds, I think this year has been a huge lesson, or multiple lessons. A lesson on boundaries, love, empathy and being a “real adult” (which I am definitely not). For as long as I can remember I’ve declared myself a “fake adult”, mostly because I’m still learning how to navigate while protecting my mental health.

Boundaries:

Boundaries as I've recently learned, seem to be an issue for most, especially empaths like me. Is there a way to get what you want out of life without setting boundaries I ask myself? Only now am I realizing the answer is a hard no. People tend to overtake from others, sometimes unintentionally other times on purpose. I had to learn to say no to so many events, functions, work obligations and personal invitations. This year, I had to protect my peace no matter the cost, and it sure did cost me. In the long run, the loss and pain I experienced from setting these new boundaries were growing pains and absolutely worth it.

 

Love:

How can we fully appreciate how amazing love feels if we haven’t experienced deep sadness and heartbreak as well? This lesson was the most confusing for me, how can I accept the fact that something so beautiful, all consuming and perfect can come to an abrupt end? What could I have done differently? This romantic love emotion is so strong, I'm sure this can never be replicated or repeated right? I still don't understand, love doesn't make sense to me… but maybe it isn't supposed to. What I do know is, I am grateful to have been able to experience something so beautiful. Even if it had to come to an end, at least I now know that I have the ability to love deeply and without any regret.

 

No one knows what they are doing!

Being a real adult:

No one knows what they are doing! I’ve discussed this with many friends, strangers, colleagues and acquaintances who all agree that we are all just faking it along and trying to make the best of it with few tools and/or resources. So why do we all feel pressured to meet specific milestones in life? Throughout this year, I was terrified about turning thirty, I was convinced that I had to have everything figured out and be settled down. I thought I needed to be perfectly mentally healthy when in actuality, life is a journey, and we never stop growing, learning and changing. I don’t need to rush it, inhale and exhale for the present moment. Feeling more at ease about my age expectations made me realize how much I was missing out on because I was so rigid about my future and the way I thought it should look. Don’t doubt yourself like I did, you are doing it the right way!


 

Empathy:

Empathy, a huge trait of my personality type (INFJ) has been my biggest struggle thus far. I feel everything so deeply, so many things and so many people move me. How is it possible to help and heal everyone and care for myself at the same time? The honest answer is: it’s not. It’s not possible to take on all the problems of the world and still be a happy, healthy functioning human being. Empathy for me, sort of goes hand in hand with boundaries. I have found that I have to protect my energy at all costs. This has proven to be more difficult than I originally anticipated. How do I decide who or what gets my energy and what doesn’t? A hierarchy  of sorts? This definitely caused me to over think even more than usual so I just decided to play it by ear, to trust my intuition and continue to do emotional check ins with myself. And to answer the question from earlier, no, you don’t have to have everything all figured out to consider yourself a real adult.

Initially, I took this year of back to back trauma as a sign that the Universe hated me but in actuality, the Universe was preparing me with the tools I will use for the next decade. I have declared that this next decade will be amazing, it has to be right?



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