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Simply Solo Spotlight: Adventure Is Out There

August 23, 2011

Today’s Simply Solo Spotlight is written by Mandi from MandiCrocker. Before you head over to Mandi’s blog (and you should!), I’m going to warn you: in addition to her posts about her life as a single girl, Mandi writes about food. Reading about her adventures sampling local cuisine and baking delicious desserts always leaves me craving something fattening!

I’ve had some inspiring guest bloggers the past couple of weeks – and Mandi is no exception. I absolutely love that through Simply Solo I can share these empowering stories with all of you.

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at: simplysoloblog@gmail.com.

Adventure Is Out There: A Positive Look At Looking Back

My ex got married today.

I’ve been very aware of this date for months now, and as the date has inched closer, my thoughts have gone from whispers to screams. How did I want to spend this day? Would August 13th be the day I book my very first trip to Paris? Maybe I’d Shania Twain it and go skydiving? Would I make it just another day and work as usual? It’s been an interesting thought process, to say the least. But with all of my being, what continues to resonate with me is my desire to tell the universe one thing: I WANT TO LIVE.

Van Gogh said, “I’m not an adventurer by choice but by fate.”

Reading those words for the first time hit me like a bowling ball to the gut. That’s my entire story. I wasn’t born with an adventurous spirit. All I ever wanted was to be in love, get married to my best friend and start a family. I hardly dated in high school due to my religious upbringing. I didn’t date at all in college because my history in high school had taught me to hide. When I didn’t find “the one,” I moved to L.A. to pursue acting and comedy. What the hell else did I have to do? My plan was marriage. Fate chose adventure.

Eight years in California opened a million doors for me. My thoughts on life, spirituality, politics and religion changed dramatically. I became my own person. Eventually, my long distance ex came along. I packed the essentials, sold off the rest, left a zillion friends and family and moved across country to be with him in Chicago. Six months later. there was a brutal, devastating break-up. Now what? My plan was marriage and partial adventure. Fate, again, chose adventure.

road trip, mandi, in car

Mandi on a solo road trip

In the past year and a half since our break up, I have grown more than I have in my entire 32 years combined. Out of survival, starting over completely from scratch in a new city with no job, a couple of friends and zero family, I’ve had to live so “in the present” with my thoughts and emotions, I’ve felt electric at times. I call it “living the life on fire.” You’re constantly being molded in this voracious heat of circumstance, emotion and the unknown and nothing you do seems to cool you off any. It is scary as hell but if lived with a bit of faith, it is miraculous. And more than anything, it is a gift.

In an interview recently, Justin Timberlake said something along the lines of, “Marriage is tricky because you’re not agreeing to love the person they are now. You’re also agreeing to love the person they grow into.” (JT with the wisdom—who knew!?) Looking back, knowing who I’ve grown into, I probably would be miserable right now if I ended up a youth pastor’s wife like I dreamed in high school or had gotten married right out of college like I wanted. And as much as I hate to admit it (cause us gals can be competitive types!), my ex chose the right girl. She’s a planner like he is. They have an easy life together. Our souls, God, the universe, whatever you believe in, has always got our best interest at heart.

Today my ex got married. I went to brunch with my roommate and we bought a watermelon at the farmer’s market. As it began to rain in a Notebook-esque downpour, I couldn’t help but laugh at these two crazy blonde girls jumping in puddles with a giant watermelon, laughing our asses off, soaked completely through. I got home and texted this guy I loved for three years and thanked him for changing my life. I wished him a truly beautiful day and a lifetime of happiness. I really meant it and that felt really good.

My ex is just another guy on the planet trying to do his best. He is not perfect and oooooh, there is a laundry list of wrongdoings I could go into (if you think I’ve had it easy, you’re NUTS!). But, of COURSE, he didn’t set out to hurt me. When I suddenly miss him or wonder why he didn’t pick me, I realize the emotion doesn’t really have anything to do with him. Yes, I miss his friendship, but ultimately it is my wounded, lonely ego that’s scared of the unknown. It has everything to do with the fear that I’ll never love again.

In every moment, we get a choice. We have a choice to move toward love or to move toward fear. I’ve never regretted choosing love. I’ve only regretted “staying in my shit.” I have ZERO idea what the universe holds in regard to my future but I know better than to have a plan for it. I learned that lesson! But I know it’ll be waaaay better than I ever dreamed because it already has been. Adventure peels away our habits, our history, our hurts and helps us find again who we really are.

adventure is out there collage

Collage Mandi made when she started her new single life

Today I chose adventure. And today was an awesome day.

Copyright 2011. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.


43 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2011 10:19 am

    Mandi, you are a poet. I love your idea of “living the life on fire”! It’s brilliant. Best wishes to you on your upcoming adventures! Love, Patrice

    • August 24, 2011 10:48 pm

      Just wanted to personally thank you for your kind words, Patrice!!! They made my day. 🙂

  2. Zak permalink
    August 23, 2011 10:21 am

    Really liked this post. Thanks for sharing, Mandi.

  3. August 23, 2011 11:52 am

    “In every moment, we get a choice. We have a choice to move toward love or to move toward fear. I’ve never regretted choosing love. I’ve only regretted “staying in my shit…”

    Yep, that is so true. And, sometimes we can get stuck in that shit, or in blaming the other, when we are down. I know I do when I am scared, worried about the future, feeling lonely or unsure. It happens, but refocusing on ourselves and what makes us happy truly helps. And just saying ‘f*ck it’ helps too!

    Mandi, you took the words out of my head and wrote them out with such brilliance. Thank you.

    • August 24, 2011 10:53 pm

      KD, thank you SO MUCH for your comment. I just read a quote on somebody’s Facebook status today: “At the end of the day you either focus on what separates you or what held you together.” I thought that was soooo brilliant and made me think of what you’d written. Thank you so much for your kind words… 🙂

  4. August 23, 2011 12:36 pm

    Lady Sister Child, this is beautiful. I think so many people spend a lifetime looking back at relationships and trying to figure out why or how or when things fell apart. They don’t realize that in a lot of ways none of that matters. You are where you are and the only place to move is forward!

    • August 24, 2011 10:56 pm

      So, true Tori Mama Love! If I had stayed in ‘Why didn’t he want me?” land, my life wouldn’t be nearly as rich. People clean out their closets to make room for new & exciting clothes… why not that way with life!? 🙂

  5. August 23, 2011 12:49 pm

    Thank you soooo much for the beautiful encouragement, y’all! I was recently let go from my job (speaking of adventure!) so your thoughts truly make my day!! I appreciate it so much… 🙂

  6. Andrea GIuffre permalink
    August 23, 2011 12:59 pm

    Beautifully written, Mandi! I am so proud of you for being able to put yourself out there and be so eloquent about it…My fateful, adventurous life has allowed me to cross paths with yours and I consider myself pretty lucky for it! Love you!!

    • August 24, 2011 10:57 pm

      Gurrrrrrrl, I love you. And thank you SO MUCH for being so good to me today. So glad you’re in my life… xoxo.

  7. August 23, 2011 1:01 pm

    Mandi,
    Thanks so much for this guest post. I love your attitude…it seems like you always try to remain positive and look for the silver lining during times that others might get completely down.

    “Marriage is tricky because you’re not agreeing to love the person they are now. You’re also agreeing to love the person they grow into.”

    HELLO one of my biggest fears!! What if they turn into someone I don’t like all that much? What if they become some religious nut that doesn’t want me to drink a glass of wine with dinner? So scary.

    What I need to do is wonder if they become a better person, stronger, a better father/partner/etc…. now that would be ideal. Why does my mind always immediately go to the negative?

    Great post and thanks again!

    • August 23, 2011 2:06 pm

      Thank YOU, Miss Catherine!!! Being asked to write for your blog was a terrific outlet because my ex, too, sometimes reads my blog. I didn’t want to edit myself at all. I can’t thank you enough! 🙂 And yes, it’s one of my biggest fears, too… But I just plan to remind myself to see that other person for who they are rather than for who they’re not. We go to the negative, I don’t know… cause we’re HUMAN? 😉 No worries… I know there’s a great man in your future and you’ll grow together only in the best of ways. 🙂

  8. August 23, 2011 1:20 pm

    Seems like you’ve taken the time to enjoy the view during all the ups and downs–learn from it all. It’s refreshing to see someone take things in stride and expect good things of the future despite the various emotional bombs life tosses at them.

    • August 23, 2011 2:14 pm

      Thanks, Connor! I really feel like I’ve had no choice!!! Ha! It’s more fun to view life as an adventure than to think the universe is out to get me. I also got to check out your blog– very cool!!! Love your traveling spirit…

  9. August 23, 2011 1:31 pm

    Love your positive attitude, Mandi. And also the fact that you took a solo road trip. (Or was that a metaphor?). I guest blogged here once and wrote about the day MY ex got married, so we seem to have much in common. I’ll be checking out your blog!

    • August 23, 2011 2:17 pm

      Thanks sooo much, Mark! It was a legitimate road trip. 4:30 on a Tuesday night, I was hungry & bored & feeling antsy & thought, “Why the hell not Milwaukee?” So I drove there. 🙂 It must feel amaaaazing to have published a book. When I’m done with my business plan for my storefront, I imagine I’ll feel the same way!!! Best of luck to you!!!

  10. Patrick permalink
    August 23, 2011 1:32 pm

    Best post ever around here, good luck. 🙂

    • August 23, 2011 2:18 pm

      You’re a man of many words, Patrick. 😉 Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  11. August 23, 2011 2:23 pm

    Awesome 🙂

  12. August 24, 2011 10:51 am

    Wow! I loved this- it brought me to tears. What a beautiful post, what an inspiring story. The day an ex gets married is something we all go through at some point, sometimes several times, and I totally understand what you mean when you said you wanted to shout out to the world that You want to LIVE. I am so glad you are able to look back and see your growth, and wish him well. The universe does have our best interest at heart, thank you for that reminder. I needed it today.

    • August 24, 2011 10:59 pm

      Awwww… thank you SO MUCH, Larissa. Never in a ZILLION years thought that something I would write would bring someone to tears. Not to be overly dramatic or anything… It’s just a really nice thought and encouragement. Something I needed today. Win-win, lady. 🙂

  13. August 24, 2011 5:53 pm

    Mandi, this hits really close to home right now. Thank you for sharing it. Just what I needed to hear at this very moment! Love it!!!

    • August 25, 2011 11:37 am

      I truly believe saying goodbye to someone happens over time & in layers… Thankfully, I had gotten to a point a few months ago that I understood how important it was to continue to love him no matter how much ‘he did me wrong.’ That idea of ‘Be Now Who You Want To Be’… I want to be a person that radiates love & sparkles and shines with kindness… The more I let go, the more I became that person…. and it allowed me to move on in the best of ways. I’m so glad it helped!!!!

  14. August 24, 2011 11:02 pm

    I truly believe saying goodbye to someone happens over time & in layers… Thankfully, I had gotten to a point a few months ago that I understood how important it was to continue to love him no matter how much ‘he did me wrong.’ That idea of ‘Be Now Who You Want To Be’… I want to be a person that radiates love & sparkles and shines with kindness… The more I let go, the more I became that person…. and it allowed me to move on in the best of ways. I’m so glad it helped!!!!

  15. August 24, 2011 11:03 pm

    P.S. What a beautiful little community here, Miss Catherine… You’ve helped soooo many people– myself included. Hugs to you!!!

  16. The T permalink
    August 25, 2011 10:47 pm

    I must tell you….this was one of the most delish things I have read in a very long time… oh the discoveries to be made with a girl who thought marrying the youth minister would have been… Romance with a man like me, would have not allowed such a holy thought to cross your mind….lmao…

    thanks for a wonderful post to end my evening of reading….

    T.

    • August 26, 2011 3:08 pm

      DEFINITELY a different time, T. Hahaha!!! And thank you for your wonderfully, kind comments!!!

  17. August 25, 2011 11:34 pm

    first, catherine… love this blog and i’m so glad you left a comment so i could discover it!

    loved this post in every way. My life has done anything but go according to my plans and i’ve been to hell and back and europe and back and everywhere inbetween. It’s been an adventure for sure, and man, i wouldn’t change it. i really wouldn’t. Um, are you still in chicago?? cus i live an hour outside there!

    • August 26, 2011 3:19 pm

      Oh geeeez, lady. I’m now following your blog through Facebook. At the mention of Europe (Paris is on my magic vision board wall– although I’ll travel ANYWHERE in Europe or Antarctica or hell and back) and then to look at your blog and it’s about FALL!!!! MY FALL!!! I WOULD MARRY FALL!!!??? The fall that was missing from eight years of my life in L.A only to be happy-dancing-clapping joyfully rediscovered moving to Chicago… and then!!! And then!!!! To read your blog about the right brained people which you wrote so beautifully… Because that’s me!!! When I was born there were bright colors & laughter & food & pretty things– not math signs and dollars and… I don’t know… other boring things, hahaha! Long story short– Yes, I’m still in Chicago and we should make magic happen. 🙂

    • August 27, 2011 12:43 am

      Thanks so much! I’m really glad you like my blog – I absolutely love yours! You are hilarious 🙂

  18. jacq permalink
    August 26, 2011 4:11 am

    “You’re constantly being molded in this voracious heat of circumstance, emotion and the unknown and nothing you do seems to cool you off any. It is scary as hell but if lived with a bit of faith, it is miraculous. ” — so beautifully written. You’re Insipiring Mandi! I will remember those words whenever I’m plauged with doubts about choices made 🙂

    • August 26, 2011 5:40 pm

      Awww… thank you sooo much Jacq!!! Everyone’s comments have really worked wonders on my self-esteem- hahaha!!! But truly– you right these things because they need to come out of you and when it helps others, or affects them in some way… It’s always a really special thing to me. Cause who knew!!? Thank you.

  19. August 26, 2011 3:21 pm

    Awww… thank you sooo much Jacq!!! Everyone’s comments have really worked wonders on my self-esteem- hahaha!!! But truly– you right these things because they need to come out of you and when it helps others, or affects them in some way… It’s always a really special thing to me. Cause who knew!!? Thank you. 🙂

  20. August 26, 2011 5:03 pm

    I really liked this post! “In every moment, we get a choice. We have a choice to move toward love or to move toward fear. I’ve never regretted choosing love. I’ve only regretted “staying in my shit.”” So true!

    • August 26, 2011 5:41 pm

      Thanks so much, Kate! Marianne Williamson talks a lot about that concept in her book, ‘A Return To Love.’ I highly recommend it! 🙂

  21. August 30, 2011 10:07 pm

    I stumbled across this blog through a friend and just stumbled across this post. I relate to this post so much – my ex got married in July. We had dated in college, dated after college and I always thought that we’d get married one day. But it didn’t happen and I was devastated. Then I met my ex’s now wife last year when the college crowd got together and I saw how perfect they were for each other and how much in love they were, I was ok with it. And then told him that I was happy for him and this year when they got married, I spent it with friends. I’m truly ok with it. All I ever want for my friends is their happiness.

    Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say in more words then I had planned was thank you for sharing this. It was wonderful to read. 🙂

    • September 1, 2011 12:18 am

      That’s awesome, SarahBeth… When I have my off moments, I’m going to remember that someone else chose love, too– and it’ll help me continue to make good, positive choices. I hope you find everything you’re looking for & what you didn’t know you needed. 🙂

  22. evelin permalink
    September 23, 2012 2:14 pm

    “All I ever wanted was to be in love, get married to my best friend and start a family.” This is what I have always wanted but, have yet to have. Adventurer by fate is correct. I am not the risk taker by nature by I have had some adventures. And yes I WANT TO LIVE. For so long now I have been wanting to die because the pain of the break up has seemed to much for me to handle. I am getting better at dealing with the pain and my emotions but i have a long way ahead of me before I healed. I know I need distance from my ex and just accept the fact that it is over. In this blog I have read several post about people reconnecting with an old love after years have pass them. The timing was wrong, and I know he loved me and it wasn’t his fault he no longer felt the same way. I need to stop giving him a hard time and above all stop giving myself a hard time. If in the future my ex and I are meant to be I need to walk away now before I completely ruin any chances for us. He ended the relationship and now I have to let go. It is scary and I’m afraid of what awaits me but, if I am ever going to move forward I have to let go and let nature take its course. I hope he knows how much I love him.

    • October 11, 2013 11:02 pm

      Evelin, I just wanted to say that my heart goes out to you with a big hug. You’re in such a confusing time right now… clarity will come– with or without him. But trust that no matter what happens, on the other side of this, you will be stronger, more dynamic, smarter and more in love with life than you could have dreamed. Choose to live no matter what the risk… It’s an incredibly hard time but you have the strength. It’s just going to take time. Much love!!!

  23. christine w. permalink
    June 24, 2013 8:44 am

    i’m just in tears …
    the best Mandi !!!

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