I’m sitting in a cafe at the Museum Of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, feeling tremendously moved and inspired.
The museum is a collection of artefacts donated by people wishing to share, commemorate, or let go of their former relationships in some way, be they familial or romantic. Some ended through affairs, some fizzled out and some blew apart. Most just drifted away, lost to the turn of the Earth as it moved them both on their respective paths and away from each other, sometimes without either of them noticing the change at all.
Every item in the museum is accompanied by a written reflection from the donor, either on the object or on the relationship it was attached to (often both). There were funny ones, heartbreaking ones, but mainly I am left with a feeling of great contentment at the inevitability with which life acts as an agent of change, pulling people together and apart as reliably as the tides. Seeing all these stories in one place is a great reminder that a breakup isn’t a great cosmic event, it’s not something that should end your whole world, it’s not even particularly special when it happens to you; it is nothing more or less than the consequence of our silly little species as we stumble across the world, bumping into each other in the hope that we’ll leave some kind of imprint, that we might seek to fit together instead of ricocheting off in newly-forged paths. The museum collects an arbitrary set of items, with only one thing bringing them together: a common desire to love, to be loved, and to keep trying.
It’s well worth a visit if you’re ever in Zagreb.
Speak soon and thank you for listening :)