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Health & Balance

What You Can Learn When You Stop Fearing Change

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You're between relationships.

The great thing about flying solo? You have only yourself to worry about. The frightening thing? You have only yourself to worry about! Even the most confident among us can let singledom make her feel pretty anxious (after all, who hasn't lain awake at night, thinking, Will I always be alone? or Will I ever know what it's like to just feel settled?). But here's the special thing about being unattached: It's just about one of the only times in your life when you have the absolute freedom to do whatever you want and, more important, discover whatever you want — so run with it!

"One of my clients decided that she would use being single as an adventure of self-discovery," says Blanke. "The key in the process was the word delight, which became her mantra. She looked for ways to make her life more 'delightful' on a daily basis, whether it was trying an exotic food she'd never eaten or listening to music she never would have thought she'd like." By the end of the journey, the woman had taken up African drumming, joined a cycling club, and developed a passion for Thai food. She had enriched her life in ways that she might have never discovered without this in-between time.

What's the secret at work here? Adopt an attitude of "positive anticipation," says Blanke. In other words, expect the best. Instead of worrying, Will life ever be good? ask yourself, How good can I make it?

READERS REVEAL: "What I learned from feeling lost"

"I had a very bad breakup and headed into a downward spiral for months. It wasn't until I channeled that energy into writing about all of my bad relationships that I felt relief. I created a book series called Stuck on Stupid, which are humorous guides for single women. Without the breakup, I never would have published a book, much less had a writing career. You really can make lemonade out of lemons."
— Tiffani Murray, 31, Atlanta

"Five years ago I was laid off from my job at a nonprofit in Washington, DC. It was the kick I needed to begin a graduate program in environmental sustainability, an idea I had contemplated every day for years. Six months later, I moved across the country to a new city, alone but excited. I'm still here, with a degree, a new career writing about food and wine — and happier than ever."
— Kerry Newberry, 35, Portland, OR

"Last year, I learned I had breast cancer. To say that I felt confused and terrified is an understatement. The medical crisis led to a financial crisis that led to an identity crisis. Now, I am 100 percent reinventing my life. I no longer apologize for who I am, I speak my mind more, and I've adopted what I call an 'adventurer's lifestyle.' Whether it's hiking new trails in my hometown or planning a trip to Italy, I now recognize that every day is an opportunity for an experience!"
— Alice Crisci, 32, Malibu, CA

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