By Beau Hayhoe
When my friend Marina mentioned this project, my interest was immediately piqued. An essays-focused website with a name based off a "Portlandia" skit? I was sold. But the topic was, to be quite honest, a lot to sort through at the start. What could I possibly say? And then there was the matter of finding a photo to convey everything. So, when I found myself on a flight to L.A. to see an old high school friend, I carved out extra time to really dig into this post.
After some writer’s block and a delay on the runway, the thought I found myself returning to related to the reason I was on that flight. It’s a motto I’ve tried to keep in mind when faced with a tough decision or an obstacle or a rough day. Some might consider it a cliche, but it’s really taken on meaning for me when I’ve been faced with a new adventure or cool opportunity.
Life’s too short.
Let me explain — I wasn’t always living by these words. It wasn’t until I was hit by a significant life event earlier this summer — not the loss of a family member or friend or some other massive tragedy, but a breakup that proved to be a pretty major change in the life I thought I had and planned to have — that my mindset changed along with my relationship status.
“After the breakup. certain words and phrases she had said rang in my head over and over again. Each time, it felt like I’d been knocked to the ground and kicked in the gut.”
I’d been dating my now-ex girlfriend for about a year and a half, and it felt a more momentous time in my life than any other. Things were exciting and new and different, and finishing up school at Michigan State with her by my side was an amazing experience. I felt like we were nothing less than a perfect match. Navigating New York City in our first jobs and eventually moving in together was a really valuable learning experience — one that I thought paved the way for a more vibrant and even better future.
But the life that you think you lead, or the person you think you know — those foundational pillars can change unexpectedly and seemingly instantly. That was where I found myself at the end of June 2015.
I’d started a new job, and I was working on several side projects at once. It was busy, but fulfilling. Life felt pretty good. Living in a major city a month into a new, fast-paced job made for a bit less time and some bumps in the road — our relationship wasn’t 100 percent perfect. It exacerbated some communication problems we’d had in the past, too. It was a balancing act I needed to figure out. But I believed that, as with anything, if you take the time to work on it, things will smooth out. It was nothing I couldn’t handle with the person I loved, right? Not quite.
Being awoken in the middle of the night without any real warning, hearing some crushing and fairly brief words, and then having to go to work the next day and put on a brave face was exceptionally difficult. It only took a handful of weeks before I realized just how drastically this person had changed. It made me feel incredibly small inside — how could I fail so badly? How did I not see this coming? What had happened?
“Through the struggles I’ve faced since graduating college, I’ve learned that some clichés just make sense. It’s a realization I understand more fully each day.”
After the breakup, certain words and phrases she had said rang in my head over and over again. Each time, it felt like I’d been knocked to the ground and kicked in the gut. But I gritted my teeth, got up and brushed myself off by sticking to the busy routine I’d developed for myself.
It wasn’t easy. I felt empty. Over and over, I heard that voice in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough. But in the midst of all this, I realized I had a choice: Do I sit around, wallow in the past and fill up with regret or hopelessness or even anger? Or do I push myself to funnel that failure, to funnel those words into greater motivation, more hard work and greater passion? New projects, new adventures, newer and bigger and better goals? It left me with something to prove. It left me with a chip on my shoulder, and it motivated me to leave that past and, to be blunt, that person, in the dust — because life’s too short to look in the rearview mirror.
Through the struggles I’ve faced since graduating college, I’ve learned that some clichés just make sense. It’s a realization I understand more fully each day.
Life’s too short to sit and wonder how your friends are doing across the country. Go visit. It’s too short to not stay in touch with those same friends — it’s as simple as picking up the phone and shooting them a quick text during the day. Life’s too short to sit around and make lists of all the things I want to do in Brooklyn, where I’m lucky enough to live. It’s about getting out there and experiencing them, whether it’s a new bar or a new shop or a new restaurant. Don’t plan too far in advance — just go, now.
Beau Hayhoe is a fashion PR pro and freelance style writer based in Brooklyn, New York.