What I've Learned About Moving On

By: Devin Riggs, Regular Contributor

Moving on is hard to do they say…

That’s a gross understatement in my opinion.

Moving on is not just hard, some days it’s impossible.

Some days the thought of “letting go” is laughable, but in a painful, soul crushing way that makes your bones ache, your stomach growl, your heart tear at itself, and your lungs clench at every breath.

That’s what it feels like, moving on.

You don’t want to feel the pain, but maybe you believe you deserve it. So you let it destroy you in the quiet moments. You let it ruin a beautiful and brief moment of happiness because how dare you feel good about life in the aftermath.

The guilt comes and goes. You have better days when you think, “Maybe I’m finally over him/her/it.” And then the next day you’re holding back tears when that stupid song comes on the radio in your car and every mistake comes boiling to the surface. “Yeah you’re totally over it,” says a sarcastic voice in your head.


It’s even harder when other people don’t seem to understand why you’re still so messed up over what happened. Why you keep bringing it up, why you still write poetry about it when clearly everyone else is onto the next flavor of the week. Most of the time, moving on can be a very lonely process. When people remind you, “this too, shall pass,” it sounds condescending and emotionless. When you’re still in pain, “time heals all wounds” is not helpful. It doesn’t make anything better. Because nobody wants to wait to feel better. You want to feel better right now.

You wonder why you’re still angry. You wish your heart didn’t ache every time you remember. You wonder how this could still affect you so deeply so long afterward. You often hear yourself say out loud, “I really am over it.” And you so desperately want to believe that’s true.

But it’s not. Not really.

I’m not an expert on how best to move on, whether it’s a relationship or major life event. I think it’s different for everyone. There is no magical formula, but in my limited experience…

Time does help. (I know, I know… eye roll)

It doesn’t fix what’s broken. But it does make things easier. It gets easier to get out of bed. It gets easier to avoid torturing yourself and switch the radio station when that stupid song comes on. It gets easier to push the guilt aside and tell that sarcastic awful voice to shut up.

I’ve learned that one person, one event, one decision does not define you. It does not rule you. It is one piece in an intricate puzzle and while it is important to the bigger picture, it is not the whole picture.

Owning up to the battles you’ve lost is just as important as celebrating the battles you’ve won.

Sometimes grief manifests itself in strange ways, in places you wouldn’t think to look until it’s there, sitting on the front porch waiting for you when you get home. And I’ve learned that it’s okay to sit with it a while.

Moving on doesn’t just happen. You don’t wake up one day to find that the grief and the guilt and the pain have packed up and moved out never to be heard from again. They still send postcards and letters from time to time, just to say hi.

It’s okay if you’re not quite ready. It’s okay if your hands are cramped from gripping too tight. It’s okay if you’re not sure how to let go. I know how difficult it is. I know it seems like everyone else is doing just fine. Like we’ve figured out the secret to getting over the hardships and tragedies in life.

We all have something we’ve let go of. We all have something we’re still desperate to hold onto.

Moving on is hard. Some days it’s impossible. But not every day. Keep going. Keep laughing. Keep learning. Keep loving. Keep living. Keep moving. You will get there, I promise.

Let's Chat! 

What's your recipe for taking care of yourself in a time of grief? How do you move through a tough time instead of avoiding it? Let us know below! 

About Devin

DevinRiggs.jpgDevin has a degree in education with a focus in English. She is working to publish her first collection of poetry while also learning the art of patience. Her passions include Doctor Who, penguins, hats and scarves, potatoes, dancing, photography, and making people happy. She believes in the healing powers of music, spending time in the great outdoors, and a good night sleep.

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  • commented 2015-01-31 09:38:48 -0800
    This moved me.. It hit me, smackdab.. thank u.. It takes time and phases..

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