Many years ago I decided I wanted to become a Buddhist. I didn't necessarily know why, but I knew that I liked what I thought the Buddhist message was and I thought Monks were cool. So I visited a few temples, asked my boyfriend at the time (who happened to be Buddhist) to teach me prayers and I grabbed the first Buddhist for Dummies book I could find. I read, studied and eventually asked my Boyfriends' teacher/guru to initiate me into the fold. He said no. Turns out that you have to ask three times, and even still if the Rinpoche believes you're not sincere, he can still say no. By my third request I did get the answer I was looking for; but I didn't necessarily get WHAT I was looking for.
You see Buddhism was not the fix, the end all, the safety blanket I had imagined. It was a distraction and something to cloak myself in to feel better, stronger and protected. Things I did not feel in my life. The thing I didn't realize was I had to find those things in me, first. Before I could expect them to come from anywhere else.
I am still a Buddhist at heart, I don't chant my prayers any more, I don't attend Buddhist ceremonies and it's been many, many moons since I've seen my ex; but I do believe in impermanence, and the "four noble truths": existence is suffering ( dukhka ); suffering has a cause, namely craving and attachment ( trishna ); there is a cessation of suffering, which is nirvana; and there is a path to the cessation of suffering, the "eightfold path" of right views, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
Ironically, I've learned more about Buddhism and how to make it a part of my life; these past few years than all the years I spent actually trying to be a Buddhist. My yoga practice, sharing food with people, traveling, new experiences ~ are what I use to connect me to my source; to keep me on the 'eightfold path'. It's not any easier but having the tools, the community, the support makes a world of difference.