If you are single, and you think you have resolved nearly all of your issues and have arrived at some plateau where the dilemmas of the common man no longer ruffle your feathers, I highly recommend you run out and get involved with someone. Especially if you want a good laugh. Because I PROMISE YOU, the minute you add that new person to the mix, along with a good dollop of whatever emotions happen to tag along, you will be just amazed at the weird acrobatics your brain can (and probably will) do.
I want to preface this by saying that the man I have had the absolute pleasure to find myself spending time with is incredibly attentive. He keeps in touch, he is basically an open book, and he is kind. All of these are things I doubt I would have been able to tolerate at any other phase in my life- I mean really, nothing ever turned me off more than a man who liked me back. You know the old story about how “men like the chase”? Well, I guess I am a man, then, because that was always my M.O. I loved the chase. One might even say I went out of my way to find unavailable men just to up the challenge a little bit.
As a matter of fact, I worked so very hard at that chase, and at convincing (or trying to) the man that I was perfect for him, that very often, I forgot to check in with myself to see if I liked them. Like, really liked them, beyond the thrill of the conquest. As you can imagine, this has created some problems for me. It has also created weird dynamics in relationships that lasted far longer than they ever should have. I have a lot of “go away, I can’t stand you…wait, come back, I love you!” situations under my belt. I didn’t understand it when it was happening, but I knew it was unhealthy and weird. I don’t really understand it now, and I don’t think it matters. I just don’t want to do it anymore. I’m too old for that shit.
But I do still have some things to deal with. I am so lucky that I am older, wiser, and totally hip to what is happening in my thought process while it is happening. That doesn’t make it any more pleasant of course, nor does is make the feelings any less real, but…at least I can see my thoughts for what they are- made up scenarios in my brain- rather than believing them to be the truth and letting them run rampant through my life, wrecking everything.
A perfect example is this recent non-event that my brain made into a big old deal: We had tentative plans to hang out at my house one evening while Cam was gone. We never hang out at my house, by the way- I don’t know why…okay, that’s a lie, it’s because my house is a freaking mess, that’s why. Anyway, due to circumstances beyond our control, we couldn’t nail down anything ahead of time, and were playing it by ear. No biggie, right? I had a text at 7:40 in the morning saying “I’ll let you know soon.” And that was it. Normally, I get a call or text midday, at least. This particular day, nada. Okay, fine. That’s fine. By three in the afternoon, I’m getting worried. I refer back to previous texts to see if I said something unreasonable? Pushy, maybe? I begin to over-analyze everything, all the while telling myself I’m being ridiculous. At four, I send out an exploratory text. “Hi. How’s your day? I’m almost off work.” HINT FREAKING HINT. Thirty minutes crawl by, then “Busy. How about you?”
Sigh. Men. You gotta be direct sometimes. But I wasn’t there yet. “Same. Got a lot done, though.” Annnnnd…nothing.
At five thirty, Cam is long gone with her dad, my house is more spotless than it’s been since I moved in, and I’m laying on the couch, half sulking, half convinced that it’s over, he hates me, I did something wrong, I…wait. Wait, wait, wait. What in the hell is going on here? I sat up, paused the TV, and took a good hard look at my crazy ass thoughts. First of all, I’m ashamed to admit that it got that far in the first place- this is a perfect example of old behaviors and baggage floating to the surface like the bloated corpses of relationships past that they are. Secondly, if I needed an answer about something, it was my job to ask- why was I pussy footing around? I quickly sent out another text- “Hey, I need to know what we are doing so I can plan my night- you coming over or not?” Easy. Third of all, had there been any indication whatsoever that this guy was the kind of person who would just ghost me on a whim? Absolutely not. So why was I not giving him the benefit of the doubt? And why was I literally just sitting there, waiting for him to call me? Jesus Christ, I’m a fiercely independent, self-sufficient, forty four year old WOMAN.
So, I got up, threw my shoes on, and headed out the door to get some frozen yogurt as a reward for all my hard work on the house. When I got home, I realized I’d left my phone on the charger, and sure enough, had missed a call from him and several messages. He’d had a busy day, he was sorry, call him back, he was getting in the shower and heading over. So…all of those mental theatrics were for NOTHING. An utter waste of my time and energy. I laughed (worriedly) at my own ridiculousness, and carried on as if nothing had happened, because…nothing had happened. Lets see how long I can retain that lesson.
It hit me, though, how much I still have to mature in this area. I have never been very good at it, relationship stuff. It scares me more than anything. At the same time, I realize how lucky I am to get to be here right now, in the midst of all these heady feelings. I’ve waited a long time for this, not even realizing that I was waiting for it. So why not enjoy it? Why not recognize that every time I start trying to plan it or place expectations on it, it doesn’t feel good anymore, and when I just let it unfold, it does? Because the truth is, I can’t say what will happen or what comes next- really, no one ever can. But I can squeeze every bit of joy out of what is right in front of me. And that in no way involves me sulking on my couch, waiting for my phone to ring. It means trusting that, no matter what happens, I’m capable of being happy…and that means it’s safe to relax and enjoy the good things in my life.