Priority: The (Post-Breakup) Bucket List

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After a break up with a long term partner, I wrote down some post-breakup resolution which includes every little thing I could do by myself to keep my mind busy. So that I wouldn’t go insane and spam him with thousands of texts that represent each of the feeling I was feeling after what I thought was a tragedy of my almost 30 year-old life.

The things that I have included in my “Bucket List” ranged from getting out of bed and trying to look decent to getting a driver license and applying for a PhD. And the followings are what I have accomplished so far – after a year-ish post trauma.

1. Travel

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Right after the break up, I had to go to Tokyo for a week for work. I brought my sister with me to keep me company during the whole week. And it really helped me getting over what had happened. I was busy getting excited at everything from food to street crossing at busy intersections, meeting people, mingling with old friends, exploring the new places. But when the trip was over and when I got home, I was depressed again. I knew then I needed to plan next trips. Hence followed Seoul, Osaka, Hanoi, Turkey, and Indonesia. Not to mention other small domestic trips.

2. Gardening

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I actually started gardening towards the end of the relationship. And it kept me calm when there was a lot on my mind or when I felt the urge to explode my ex’s whatsapp with all the emotional essay texts. Sitting at my balcony, watering the plants, looking up the night sky and enjoying the quietness kept me sane and helped me stay focused. Watching the plants grow and the flowers bloom, if they manage to survive without water when I had to leave on (sometimes as long as a month) long trips, was a reward.

3. Check out full moon party

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It’s so cliche. And it’s probably too crazy for my taste. But I was still tempted to check it out just to find out what the fuzz was all about. And yes it was really cliche and insane. There were so many hot topless young male tourists that were probably good for the weekend, but at some point, they all looked the same to me and my eyes had become tolerate to their six packs and hotness that towards the end of the night, they didn’t seem so hot anymore. But it was still good — the music, the beach, random hugs and kisses on the cheeks, and the booze buckets. The best part was that I went with a group of really good friends and that we all had fun watching young funny drunken tourists and thought ‘When did we become so old?’

4. Join a fun run

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I hated exercising. I hated being sweaty and exhausted. But somehow I have always fantasized having accomplished a marathon. Having no running experience, except for running after a bus here in Thailand, I took a first step at a 5K Color Run where two of my single girl friends joined. It was actually not bad. It was actually fun with the color powder and EDM music in a park on a Sunday. A little bit later I signed up for a Hello Kitty fun run. OK, well yeah, I only joined all these fun run because there was actually something “FUN” about it. A serious run without any fun wouldn’t really actually attract me. Anyway, these runs made me feel accomplished. Like I had overcome something I thought I could never in my life.

5. Climb mountains and sleep in a tent

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I love the nature. But scroll back up to NO. 4, I hated being sweaty and exhausted. But again, I always dreamed about sleeping in a tent in a forest on a mountain. Not that I’ve never slept in a tent before. We were forced to do it for girls scout back in high school. But that was a set up and we were sleeping in a tent at either our school or a temple. There was no real adventure. So I joined a group of hiker friends up to remote mountains in the northern part of Thailand where there was no toilet nor electricity at night. It was quite an experience. And I survived (highlight: without a shower, electricity, and toilet). When I came back, we planed another trip to climb Kawah Ijen in Surabaya, Indonesia.

6. Buy a camera

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Ever since the first camera phone was introduced to the world, I had never owned a proper camera. But I’ve been traveling to many amazing places and I have regretted not having a good quality camera to capture all of these photogenic scenes. Hence I decided it was time to get one and that I eat only ramen noodles for 6 months.

7. Get a driver license and actually drive

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This was actually on my bucket list for so long now. But I just had so many excuses and obligations that I had not been able to achieve it. Now that I think about it, being in the previous relationship had something to do with it too as I was spending most weekends working extra jobs, I had no time to take driving seriously. So as soon as I became single again, this was one of my priorities. And I have just got my license a few months ago and have been driving for a couple of months now. A little too late given a year period but at least I got to cross it off the list. Special thanks to those who have always encouraged me I can drive (safely! FYI, I haven’t crashed anything yet. Just a few scratches at the office’s parking lot’s wall)

8. Take IELTS test and apply for a PhD

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This is the biggest accomplishment after the break up. With the constant need to keep my mind occupied at something, it was difficult to stay at the same old apartment, eating at the same old restaurants, and doing all the same old routines I was doing when I  was in a relationship. I needed to not feel stuck at one place. I needed another adventure. I needed a break from all of this everyday routine here in the remote far far away land I’ve been living at for the past 4 years. So I decided to pay an unreasonably expensive fee to take this IELTS test and applied for a PhD. Rejections after rejections, I have officially landed an offer at one of the best universities in Australia. The only thing that keeps me from going now is the funding support. Hopefully, I will get that sorted before the end of the year.

Besides all of these things I have crossed off the list, I also got to spend more time with family and friends. I have reconnected with old friends whom I  haven’t been seeing so often despite us living so close to each other. I have put more effort to make more time for my family and go on road trips with them. It is rewarding seeing how happy they are when they express their affection toward each other by yelling when we decide where to go for lunch.

Looking back, I was kind of glad that what I thought was a solid relationship was over. In fact, I have become happier (after buckets of tears and ice-cream and many night outs and randoms with BFFs). I have accomplished so many things I have always wanted to do but had never prioritized them. The thing is, I’m one of those people who put others’ need before mine. So when I date someone, he would automatically become my first priority. And I would set anything aside to accommodate him and that relationship. I would reschedule my plan to fit his, try to spend as much time as possible with him even if I need to ditch my friends or family. I would not spoil myself with a new outfit or a spa session just so I would save up for a flight ticket to see him even for a short period of time. I would even take up extra job and slave myself on the weekends so I have that extra cash to do so.

I was happy to have gotten back to making my needs my priority. But old habits die hard. As soon as  I (think I) start to fall for someone again, I go back to the same circle. And I have become this person that irritates me, the person I wouldn’t find attractive either. So from now on, I’m gonna try to stay focused and keep crossing off those things on MY bucket list. And seriously, being in a new relationship is nowhere on it now.

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