Without fail, this piece of advice is always trending after a break-up, a practical offering made by everyone from grandmas to siddharthas. It’s a nice idea to think a few turns of a rolling pin can flatten the lumps left from a broken heart, and it undoubtedly has a better outcome than crying to James Blunt in public (even if it’s in the privacy of our own earbuds). But if a few weeks of self-improvement courses were truly the way to get over someone, we’d be a city of saints.
The advice does have its merits, sure, but throwing an emotional wreck on a trapeze swing is never a smart fix. The plan requires some careful instruction. Before you jump on the aerial rope, consider these alternative options to your friends’ good intentions. Because true self-improvement can’t be bought, my friends. Not even with a deal from Group-On.
Don’t Do Cooking Class: When your daily diet consists of 2-3 boxes of generic Mac & Cheese and the day-old bagels left outside the coffee shop, your mind is PROBABLY not inclined to go, “Hey, let’s get ourselves back into that kitchen!” And if it was, you would be making yourself the gourmet stuff. A cooking class will only benefit the student who is ready to leave their hours of careful crafting to an uncertain outcome. If even the thought of a botched lemon souffle brings tears to your eyes, please, do not enlist.
Do: The Food Network, your Mom’s kitchen, play-doh
Don’t Do Writing Class: If you’ve ever taken a writing class at a relatively stable period in your life, you’ve likely been a witness to the poor, downtrodden soul who’s chosen the written word as a vessel for their romantic (or manic) streams of consciousness. A questionably thrown middle-finger toward grammar and sentence structure, awkward descriptions of sexual rejection, random outbursts during the workshop portion of the class, this scene is more gruesome than anything ever scribbled onto paper. Better to save yourself – and the rest of the class, who didn’t pay a hefty course fee just to act as your therapist – and stay out for now.
Do: Therapy, a couple of Moleskins
Don’t Do Bird Watching: This seems to be the Senior Citizen’s solution to broken hearts and post-divorce self-discovery. I repeat: the Senior Citizen’s solution to heartbreak. This is exactly why you should not take a class like this, unless you fit into the aforementioned class of singles and/or would like a harrowing glimpse into life as a 55-year old divorcee with nothing to do.
Do: Pigeon-watching at the park with wine in your coffee cup, The Discovery Channel
Don’t Do Trapeze/Aerial Swings/Any Other Circus-Inspired Class: Confession time: I actually signed myself up for trapeze classes a few weeks after a big break-up. It was fun, and I felt stronger and wonderfully accomplished afterward. But what would have happened if I hadn’t made my “catch”? If my partner, Jorge, had let me slip? I’m not advising against it, because the potential high of a successful release is divine. Just keep in mind, this class is high risk/high rewards.
Do: yoga, virtual simulation or 3D movie at the IMAX, the Sex and the City episode where Carrie does trapeze for “research”
Don’t Do Flirting 101: Contrary to what anyone tells you, now is the not the appropriate time to pay a vaguely accredited self-help guru to flip through Power Point slides on the basics of alluring conversation. Once you’ve accepted this, you’ll hopefully accept that the time to do this is actually never.
Do: Dirty Martini, any bar.
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