532: Why is it so hard?

Lisa_Williams

Why is it so hard?

So many bemoan how there are not any “good ones” out there, male or female, who want a real, honest, true and loving relationship. If there are that many of us who are looking for it, how come so few apparently find it?

It’s because we all want to find that perfect person for us, and we want to continue just as we are, because we, ourselves, are not changing who we “really are” for anybody. Then, when some issue rears its ugly head necessitating conversation, understanding, compromise, and personal growth, meaning CHANGE, we fall back on that pride of self and convince ourselves that he/she didn’t really love me, after all, or they would not have tried to change me.  And then we are off to the races (the rat races?) in search of that elusive and non-existent partner who is perfect for ME. That way, I don’t have to do any fixing on me.

Well. Buddy, hear this: maybe there are some parts of you and your character or personality that DO need to change. Like, yesterday.

See, human relationships have several stages of adjustment. Compromises – CHANGES.

The first is the adjusting you do when any two (or more) humans live together in one space. Girl-girl, boy-boy – like college roommates. That’s HUMAN stuff.

The second is the additional adjusting you do when one of you is male and one of you is female trying to live together. That is boy-girl stuff, not the same stuff as human stuff.

Then, when you are married – because then all your family expectations and roles come into play – that is married stuff – not the same as the previous two categories.

Then, you become parents. OMG. MORE stuff, times infinity to the nth power, plus one.

And you are not changing for anybody? Grow up, dudes and dudettes.

531: Too Much

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Usually, I cope well with frustration.

I recognize that a small thing is indeed a small thing, and not worth getting my feathers in a fluff. Frustration is an opportunity to practice patience (ugh), forbearance, understanding, and forgiveness. Generally, even with something that truly aggravates me, I can fairly quickly get over it, even if that takes a day or two to conquer it. And that something is a zinger, to take a day or two.

There are, however, a few times when something little happens, and it zings right down to the fundamental level and refuses to be banished, not even in a day or two. It hangs around and intrudes on my thoughts for quite some time.

Those things, even when they are really, truly, small things – are not small things to ME. Those things are a signal that something much larger is going on, and that I need to pay attention and deal with what is really going on – not the admittedly little thing that set me off. Something is going on that needs some focused thought and effort, because if I get bent out of shape over something little, that something little is a symptom of a much bigger problem.

And thoughtfully and seriously dealing with significant issues is EVERYBODY’S very favorite thing to do, right? Right, me neither.

Dealing. Digging. Inspecting. Weeding. Understanding, forgiving.

*sigh*

 

528: Hope

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We get today. Actually, we get less than today. We get right now, this moment, this breath. We only hope for the rest of today, and for tomorrow.

Yesterday can’t be changed. It can be forgiven. It can be atoned for. It can be reconciled, but it can’t be changed. Accept that fact or not, willing or unwilling, you cannot change it. So, right now, this moment, this breath: forgive. Atone for and reconcile if you are given tomorrow.

I deny myself so much when I resent, hold offense, keep anger fanned hot. If I ever hope to move safely into peace, health, life itself, this is something I must achieve. Giving up my right to resent. Giving up my right to be offended. Giving up my right to anger. Even when it hurt. Even then.

When I do not have the strength of mind and will to give it up on my own, I ask for help in giving it up, sincere in my desire to do it, but weak in my power to achieve it. And gently, or sometimes harshly, the help, the power, the strength, the courage, the willpower arrives to get the job done. To surrender. It takes great bravery to surrender, and move to what is better, rather than cling stubbornly to what is not.

But it’s worth it. Every time.  Even when it hurts.

527: I’m Toast

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I am embarking on a new phase of life. At age fifty-mumble, mumble, I have determined that I will marry. A man I met online. Whom I have yet to meet face-to-face. Stop screaming. Yes, I know. I really, really do know. I do hear what my friends and family have had to say and their concerns are valid. They are valid. I am taking my time, and being careful – as is he.

I have learned in a year and a half of living alone for the first time since I ….for the first time ever, that I do just fine living alone. I have hobbies. I go to the gym, I cook decent meals. I read books and see movies. I chat with friends, and socialize with them, too, on occasion. I have discovered I rather like myself, and we have become such good friends that I like being with just me rather a lot. So, why marry at all?

Toast is the metaphor for me to help explain this choice (to you and to my friends and family). I like toasted bread. I prefer toast that is like my single life: dry whole wheat. Nutritious, healthful, low-calorie, calm, plain. Not boring plain, tasty plain. When it is plain, I can add jam, honey, or syrup, peanut butter or Nutella now and then, if I choose – just like my single life and its occasional, special treats. Otherwise, I prefer the plain, dry whole wheat toast. I like it.  Often, while I am reading, I will toast a slice and consume it without even hardly noticing it, except for the satisfying crunch.

Toast with butter, however, is different. It is rich, complex, full of flavor. Buttered toast is unable to be consumed absently while otherwise engaged in reading my latest fiction selection. It demands my whole attention, that toast, because if you don’t pay close attention to it, it will drip melted butter down your fingers all the way to your elbow, sometimes messily dripping off to stain my tidy slacks or my nice, clean dress. Toast with butter is married life. It can be messy and untidy, but the experience of having it makes dry whole wheat pale in comparison. Yes, it demands your attention and effort in ways that single living does not. But the richness of married life, with an honest, loyal, and committed partner, is what I’d rather have, thanks just the same. And I can still add the occasional toppings when I like to buttered toast – it isn’t just butter only forever and ever. Occasionally, just for fun (for a day) or when necessary, I can even have it plain again. 

The process of creating a secure, stable married relationship begins with communication, and that can and does happen online in many of the identical ways that it happens face-to-face. Yes, there are people who misrepresent themselves online (which admittedly facilitates that deception somewhat), but the same thing happens all too often in the face-to-face situation as well. We have had months of conversation, and will have months more, before we meet. In a public place. 🙂 After all, he does not know 100% if I have represented myself honestly and accurately, either.

I have also given much thought lately to the centuries-old tradition, still extant today, of arranged marriages, where the families decide and often bride and groom meet face-to-face only after the vows are spoken and the papers are signed. Many of those marriages actually do work. There isn’t necessarily a lot of evidence that our modern notions of how things are supposed to be done is the better way. Commitment is commitment.

Either way, I’m toast.

526: Tomorrow

I’d be lying if I said I was totally confident about tomorrow. Yes, I know thinking positively has huge benefits for me and for my positive mental energy in dealing with the petty irritations of today. I do know that I do better if I focus on the good things, and strive to overlook, minimize, and disregard those things that might set me back, or sidetrack me from my primary goals. I do know that.

Still, that does not mean that I am a boundless, endless well of optimism and hope. Some days I struggle with my motivation and my focus. Some days I allow the negativity of others to impact my own attitude. Some days someone’s unkind comment or unfair evaluation of my work or my person bums me out, and brings my whole parade to a screeching halt. We all have those moments, those days. They suck. But, thank God, they do not last. No matter how much right now it seems that this will never, ever get better, it will get better.

In a few years, it might even become your favorite joke. It does get better, and when you can really laugh about it, you will know its power over you is truly broken.