Make Today Magical

Making today magical, in a Rose colored hue city [Jaipur] with Masala Chai, Gold and Emeralds.

I am currently traveling in India and if there is one thing I've learnt is nothing will ever go as planned. Even in life. Today, the plan was to get swept away over Jaipur. Thanks to Monson season, a hot air balloon ride, while the sun rose was a no-go. Inside I opted to go gem shopping and purchased myself a dainty gold ring with an Emerald Gem. ☁️

I had envisioned today to be the start of new chapter of my new life, as I watched the sunrise from above as the pink and orange hues painted the pink city. In quite possibly the most romantic way to start the day.

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Well, 8.28... the day has arrived. Time flies by so quickly; exactly a year ago today the theme to my life was significantly different. G and I were somewhere in Europe, celebrating 7 years of marriage, in a part of the world that symbolically represented us as a couple, because seven years prior our month long honeymoon was the inaugural tradition of visiting Europe, and always sneaking away somewhere in Italy. Italy was *our* thing, our places, our humble adventure. And for the last 7 years I had posted the same darling photo of a candid wedding shot--my favorite wedding memory that evoked plenty of blissful emotion--thanking my former partner for all the great memories we had shared thus far and for all the magical moments to come, traversing around the globe. I would never have imagined a year later life would be a contrasting difference, and that I would be somewhere in India, up in the air... uncoupled.

Truth be told, this has been one of the hardest years I have ever lived, being confronted with a new normal without the best friend I had for the last 10 years. It's also been the most profound year rediscovering the things I need in life, and truly feeling all the feels. Somedays, though far a few in between these days, feeling debilitated and empty, other days feeling alive and grateful for every waking moment. I'm not dwelling on emotions or holding on to my past, because to understand my divorce, my bond, and relationship with, you must walk in my shoes. You'd see an amazing bond, respect and fun-filled run between two individuals. But at some point, if you stop growing as individuals and as a couple, you must walk away. The hardest part was acknowledging that the magical bond and romantic love that connected us was no more, but the respect and love as still there. To merely co-exist would have been a disservice two both. The most challenging thing you can do in life is facing these feelings and let someone go for their happiness, and for yours as well. (You can read more about this here - no need for me to write about it yet again.)

When my divorce was finalized, I knew I wanted to be somewhere today. I didn't know where; but, I did know I wanted it to be a place to mark a new adventure in life to make today the best yet so that as each year passed on this day, I'd look forward to it and not dread it with a heavy heart. So here I am; I'm in India, sky high (did I mention I'm scared of heights?), remembering the best 10 years filled with some of the best memories, yet welcoming new ones. This year I've unintentionally have lived my version of "Eat, Pray, Love" in neither particular order.  Or, in my humble interpretation: eat and drink everything, pray (I really mean yoga and meditate) often, and simply learn to love my life, my new normal... every ounce of it. Rereading Elizabeth Gilbert's book, I now understand the message and can relate. I get it.

This is all part of the eat, pray, love journey in this phase of life. Being present. Being vulnerable. Being embracing. Being selfish for the things that bring me ecstasy. The act of celebrating and really truly enjoying your life... Every bit of it.

With that said, here's to life, more adventures, and being unapologetically happy.

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

When Sadness Hits You

This might be a different kind of Monday motivation, but it’s raw and it’s real. They say happiness will find you; but I think sadness will find you too.

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Over the years I’ve shared with you so much from my eating disorder to selling most of my possessions and traveling continuously as a "digital nomad" to my divorce and last week I shared how Europe was always “our thing." Truth be told, I thought I had this; I thought I had this whole Europe thing, ready to create my own memories and make Europe my thing. Was I wrong getting to Paris.

I was surprised because Paris was a place that I never really cared for, yet visited various times, the first being part of our honeymoon. It was a place my Ex like and wanted to visit as part of our honeymoon. Being here brought back all of those raw emotions of the life I used to know, the old me, and my divorce. I brought back the melancholiac emotion of it all -- the longing for what we had, a deep sadness, failure, loneliness, and wondering if we had made a mistake. So much so, my first night in Paris I even called my ex in tears... at 5am Paris time. It was a combination of things that influenced from the feeling of being ghosted by someone back home to being here but primarily because Paris was us, it was out thing.  The next day I realized that it is ok to have these emotions. It’s ok to feel all the feels and let it out. 

Sadness hits you sometimes just out of the blue, and you have to fight it over and over again until your heart would truly let go. Emotions are part of us, we can't escape them but we can work our way through them - sadness, pain, and negative thoughts creep in no matter how hard you seal it, somehow it will leak. And the hardest thing is, all you need is a pinch of understanding that would be enough to let it out and move on. Forgiving yourself for making a fool out of you is a tremendous undertaking, but it starts with YOU and knowing you aren’t making a fool of yourself for letting it out.

Sometimes you have to let yourself feel all the feels and accept that you are human. Let yourself feel the way that you feel but also know that you are the one who has the power to redirect things in your life. This is all part of the process of moving on.

I'm sharing this with you to be authentic with you and share a struggle. Whether you can relate to divorce or not, we've all experienced a broken heart. Sometimes we don't allow ourselves to fully grieve and we should. Even when you think you've made it through, it opens holes in what was solid ground, the kind you never know are there, until you go to take another step, and find you're standing over the edge, seeing the world around you passes by in blurs of color and sound and nothing around you making sense. 

As I am here in Paris, I'm learning to create a new memory of my own and honor my old life and memories created but most importantly, the friendship that my Ex-husband and I continue to hold.


Consciously Uncoupling, Self-Esteem, and What It All Means

"What happened to your dogs?" 

"Why are you traveling to Europe... alone?"

"Where is your wedding ring?" 

"Why has your name changed?"

These are some of the many questions I've been faced with recently. And, this post has been a long time coming. So, let me explain...

...And So Our Story Ends

There comes a time in almost every relationship where it comes to an end. It reaches a point where two individuals have stopped growing together and as individuals. Some people stay in relationships that no longer serve them because it's comfortable and the fear of the unknown and the pressures of society. For me, coming to this realization, that divorce in my 30's was in my cards was devastating. It was a hard reality to swallow. But the truth of it all is that my loveless marriage was over years ago. It wasn't evident then, but now looking back at it all, it couldn't have been more clear.

It's not just a closing of a chapter, but a book. The pages filled in this book are chapters and chapters of fun-filled adventures around the world, plenty of good belly aching laughs, silent smiles, silly moments, dancing in the desert until the wee hours of the morning at Burning Man, music festivals, BBQing with friends, trips and random moments on the coast, and the support for one another. Very few tears, fights, and arguments. The respect that we hold for one another is unparalleled. A picture perfect marriage, to say the least.

The words that became our theme throughout was that of The Beatles “All You Need Is Love” but in reality, sometimes love is not enough. It is a deeper love. It is happiness. It is companionship. It is an effortless devotion. A symphonic free flow of blending of families. A type of romance that sweeps you off your feet and effortless. 

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Never than ever before do the words “consciously uncoupling” make sense and resonate, because this is my reality. As I look back at these last 10 years with my ex-husband, I can only thank my partner for everything he has provided for us, the support and love he has shown me, the patience he has had for me. As the days, weeks and months go on the sadness, the heavy broken heart and confusion have minimized. Some days are easier than others, while hard days -- quite few these days -- seem debilitating, going through life in an empty daze, realizing I am alone. ALONE. I'm alone in a place we relocated together in hopes to start a family and have a better quality of life than what San Francisco could ever offer us. I've walked away knowing that we had a good run together. I wish him nothing but happiness and an idyllic life filled with love. 

Those that are close to us have all been baffled and shocked that Gregg and I divorced. Just like that, it took two weeks to legally end it all. This is what happens when you have a clean break on friendly terms, when things are far from messy. And, let me just tell you, I'm still shocked by it all. I have moments where I stop to think "Holy shit, I'm divorced. WTF happen?" I never thought that this would be a reality. I really though that it would be 'until death do us part' not until Portland do us part.

The day I met him, I knew he was "the one." Or at least that is what the young 20-year-old girl that still had a lot of life experiences to grow from and become into her own. The day I walked down the aisle to a string quartet rendition of Coldplay's "Yellow" and the moment we exchanged our wedding vows, I never in a million years would have thought that he wouldn't be my forever love. Never in a million years would I have thought that I'd be divorced at 31... or flat out divorced. I thought I would be starting a family at this point in life, not ending mine. 

As you can imagine, this is undoubtedly the hardest decision we've had to make. I can't even express how heartbroken I am, and I know my ex-husband feels the same. Coming to terms that our relationship had reached the end, where we can no longer grow individually and as a couple, was devastating. But, I know that life has a grand plan for us, individually. I can only be grateful for having an amazing partner these last 10 years and all of the fantastic experiences we have shared together and the memories we've created.  We can only walk away from things knowing that we gave it our all. I just want him to be happy and find someone that can genuinely fulfill that. Unfortunately, this was not me. I'm grateful that things between us are very amicable and we intend to stay friends. 

Divorce Does Not Make You A Failure

And, as I'm picking up the pieces, wrapping my head around it all, and moving forward with life, it's hard to feel like a failure. A failure to not only myself, but to my marriage, my partner, family, society. I regularly have to remind myself that divorce is not a failure. Failure would be sticking around, living life unhappy with an unhappy partner, and later resenting each other. 

I’ve got hope that life is going to be alright, in whatever direction life takes me. Although this is a transition that has flipped my world upside down, and even though the future seems uncertain, unclear, and scary at times, I’ve got hope that everything is going to be alight. I’ve got hope that my path will be a lot clearer - I may not see it now hopefully it’ll be one with an abundance of life’s riches in love and happiness. 

Will I ever get married again? I'm not sure. But, I do know that I am less open to the idea of marriage not because I don't believe in love but because I don't believe in a legal bounding document to prove a deeper commitment. The legality of it all makes it that much more complicated to walk away, and not to mention the blow to your self-esteem.

Rebuilding Self-Esteem 

When you've just been through a breakup, it can leave your self-esteem torn. You feel that there must be something wrong with you, even if it was a mutual break or you were the one that initiated it. Are you unlovable, unattractive, or undeserving? The truth is that you're nothing of the sort; your self-worth has taken a knock, and you need to rebuild it.

What about the heart break and moving forward? Here are five ways that I've gone about healing a broken heart...

But, guess what? Being single isn't all that bad. 

Suddenly being confronted with your newly single status may come as a shock. It's scary to lose the support and reassurance that having a partner gives you. But being single isn't all bad; once you get used to it, you'll realize that you're coping just fine. And there are some pretty good points to it; you can do what you like with your time, and don't have to deal with the problems that your relationship brought.

Breaking up doesn't mean that you aren't lovable.

Women are particularly prone to blaming themselves for the breakup. They reason that it must have been their fault somehow. Perhaps they weren't good enough for their partner. But breaking up doesn't mean that you're unlovable, or that there's something wrong with you, it just means that things didn't work out between you. Nor does it mean you'll never find love again - or that you don't deserve it.

Avoid trying to validate yourself by rebounding. 

Your confidence can really take a knock after a split, especially if your ex swiftly moves on to another woman. So you may try to give yourself a sense of validation by rushing into a new relationship, or by having one-night stands. This won't actually help your self-esteem, and could even be harmful. Don't try to prove you're desirable by having rebound relationships. 

Spend TIME with people you love.

One thing that will really help rebuild your self-esteem is to spend time with people who love you. Being around family and friends will give you an emotional boost and make you realize that there's more to life than a relationship. You'll realize that there are people who think you are amazing and love you unconditionally.

Do things you enjoy.

Although you might not feel like it, being single has a huge advantage; you can do exactly what you want with your time. You can be as self-indulgent as you like, and do all those things that your partner disliked or discouraged you from doing. Start that hobby you've been meaning to try out, resurrect an old interest, or take that vacation to a place your partner didn't want to visit.