Sylvia sits in a coffee shop sharing with me the story of her falling in love. I want to know every single detail of how her love story came to be, because while I will never say it out loud I am definitely a sucker for romance. This story is thirty minutes long and I am fully immersed in this story of hers. I have just newly left a toxic relationship and I feel inspired by her story of love and it gives me hope for a healthy relationship in the future. Aside from her love story being aspirational and the perfect recipe for a romantic comedy, I took more out of it than just that.
When I left the coffee shop that day I remember being hung up on the idea of a life mentor. She had a person she went to when she needed advice and wisdom, someone older than her with more experience. Sylvia casually dropped the term life mentor explaining “he is one of my life mentors” and it was someone she had went to for advice navigating her new love. I thought, what is that? Where can I get one? And mentors? You have more than one?
It wasn’t until later when I was reflecting on our conversation that I realized that I too already had life mentors and she was in fact one of them. Before I made the decision to leave my partner of seven years, I was feeling every emotion that you could think of, but mostly I was scared. I was scared that I was making the wrong choice, I was scared that I would regret it, and I was scared that I would be alone. She lives in Hawaii so scheduling a coffee date to talk isn’t always the easiest way to talk to her. I texted her when I had made the decision to move out of my apartment that I shared with my partner and end our relationship. I was full of questions and I felt alone. I didn’t know if I had made the right decision. I am not sure exactly what I was looking for when I texted her. Every person I know was supportive and ensured me that ending my relationship was the right thing to do. Reaching out to Sylvia was different, I was looking for something different.
She didn’t get back to me immediately, but promised that she would as soon as she had the time to devote to that conversation, because it deserved all of her attention. Of course she got back to me and she shared with me more than I could have hoped for, and this is why I texted her. Not only did she encourage me and support my decision, but she shared her experience with me. This is something she had been through, she survived, and she was thriving. She had something to offer that people close to me could not. Our situations were different, but overall we had both decided to end relationships with people that we cared deeply about. Hearing from someone who was older than me and wiser than me gave me the courage to stick with my decision. She was honest with me warning me that it would not be easy, but told me “you just wake up each day and choose yourself and the best thing for you even when it’s not what you feel like doing”. Being strong would be hard, but she told me to push through. This advice might not work for everyone, but it worked for me. I knew that she would have more to offer me, because I value her opinion and I respect the life path she has chosen.
A couple weeks had past, and I was now living on my own and still trying to adjust, I was having a difficult time. Again Sylvia had checked in on me, and I was honest with her. I had not completely cut off communication with my ex and he was harassing me. I still felt the need to be there for him and care for him, to make sure that he was ok. My friends knew I was still in contact with him, and they told me I should block him and that I did not deserve to be treated that way. Sylvia made me answer her question, “why haven’t you blocked his ability to contact you”? I thought my answer was obvious, I still cared about him and wanted to be there for him. I explained this to her and she gently replied “You are good and kind and I 100% understand wanting to be there for him. But then who is caring for you”? And this is why I texted her. When I tell you this thought had never crossed my mind I am being honest. Up until this text I had been more concerned with how blocking him and cutting off communication with him would make him feel. I was placing his feelings above my own and not taking care of myself, and Sylvia pointed this out.
Sylvia is one of my greatest life mentors. She is not someone that I talk to everyday, every week, or even every month, but I know that she is always in my corner always rooting for me. I know that when I need advice, I can seek her out and she will be there with open arms ready to listen and offer me honesty and love, judgment free. My friends helped me through my breakup, but my life mentors were living proof that you could survive the breakup. They were proof that you could come out stronger than before and more hopeful. They offered words to me that they would have liked to hear when they went through the painful experience of heartbreak.
This is exactly why I love the idea of having life mentors. These are the people that are cheering for you, offering pieces of themselves, and sharing their experiences with you because they want you to succeed. They want you to be happy and they want to share their wisdom, because they have learned from their past and this is what they have to offer. Since I have held tight to this idea of having life mentors, I have slowly created a list in my mind of people I can seek wisdom from. Sylvia once told me I will “believe in more for you, until you can start believing it for yourself”. The people on my list all want this for me and they are all by my side waiting to share their experiences with me and encouraging me to grow.