Recently I have realised that the thing that affects me most following an abusive relationship is the time I feel I have lost.
Two and a half years of 'the best years' of my life spent in that relationship, and afterwards I spent a lot of time wondering what I could have been doing if I wasn't stuck in it. I went through a period of thinking why didn't I just leave? I had plenty of opportunities. Now I've come to realise that unfortunately it does take time, it takes time to release yourself from that control.
For some time following the breakdown of the 'relationship', I thought a lot about that part of my life that had been wasted. Which is probably why I threw myself into working and saving to go travelling, I was trying to get back that time and part of my life back. They say your 20s is the best part of your life, of which that particular relationship took at least three years of that, as well as the time it's taking now to recover. I think this is what hits me the most, I'm angry that not only did I lose those years in the relationship, it's taking more time now to process it all, and deal with how it affected me.
I regularly go from trying to live my life in fast forward, trying to hurry things along to make up for lost time, to stopping myself and thinking 'it'll happen, all in good time'. These thoughts are like a tug of war in my mind, I know it is impossible to get any of that time back, but I also need to realise that it is now is precious and not wasted. Otherwise will I look back in a few years and think I should have chilled out and made the most of life? It's a vicious circle, a constant battle in my head.
I find that when things are going well, I have something positive to focus on, when something has not gone the way I would like then I start thinking about time I have wasted when I could have been doing something better. I feel like I need to be doing something constantly to better myself. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just those thoughts about wasted time that are unhealthy.
I read a quote recently that a friend posted, I feel it explains 'your time' very well, which I think is a big issue for young people these days, whether or not they would like to admit it;
'I know people who graduated college at 21 and didn't get a salary job until 27. I know people who graduated at 25 and already had a salary job. I know people who have children and are single. I know people who are married and had to wait 8-10 to be parents. I know people who are in a relationship and love someone else, I know people who are in love but aren't together, there are people waiting to love and be loved. My point is, everything in life happens according to our time, our clock. You may look at your friends and some may seem to be ahead or behind you, but they are not, they are living according to the pace of their clock. So be patient.
You are not falling behind, it's just not your time.'
- Julissa Loaiza
The important point to remember is you choose your own path. Along that path you choose your own way, and everyone will have something different and unique to them, we won't reach where we want to be all at the same time.
When I think about my past relationship, the recovery, the working and the travelling, I can see that spanned over a period of five years. That's a pretty long time. However travelling is something that I have always wanted to do, and still want to do more of. Travelling at that time was right for me. I've lost count of the number of people who've said to me 'I wish I could have done that', or 'I wish I did that when I was younger'. I have never wanted to be in that position, I don't want to get to a certain age and think I missed my opportunity, so in that sense the time was right, and I used it in the best way possible.
I think for anyone in that position coming back to a place where everything is still the same, everyone is moving on with their lives, you can sometimes feel like life passed you by. Your friends have houses, good jobs, some are getting married, and having children, but ultimately what you and I need to remember is that everyone has their own time. Use it wisely, have no regrets, because what you do with your time is right for you at that moment.