Love, getting older, and trust

I’ve spent some time with my grandparents within the past month.  Real time.  Where we sat and chat and had no time restraints.  I’m grateful that I’ve been able to take the time to prioritize my family in that way.  I love them with all my heart.

Something that has struck me and left me processing for a bit now, is what I see in their relationship to each other.  They are all they have left, of a life that was rich with friends and loved ones.  They are now at an age, where they watch who’s left of their friends pass away.  Moving on to bigger adventures in the grand circle of life.  It’s a sad, lonely, and quite frankly, a depressing time of one’s life it would seem.  So of course, the love my grandparents share is magnified that much more.  They’ve been through everything together.  They hold hands when they get their hair cut.  They are constantly talking about each other and thinking about each other when they are apart.

It’s left me thinking about my own future a little bit.  For one, I feel this sudden urge to make sure my retirement accounts are healthy – holy moly does that level of care cost a FORTUNE or what?!  But beyond that, I can’t help but wonder what my future as an old lady will be like?  Will I live in a nice assisted living place like my grandparents?  What will I be like when I’m an old lady?  Will I be more cantankerous?  More kooky?  More sweet?  🙂

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Who will be by my side?

Of course, when you start to look ahead, you can’t help but also look behind.  I think about the fact that so much in my life has changed from where I was 10, even 15 years ago.  How young and innocent I was.  Naive to much of what life could, and would throw my way; but I’ve always handled it all.  I’m damn proud of that.  And I don’t think I’d trade anything from it.  EXCEPT one thing.  Well – ok maybe two.  One – I’d love to have my body back from my early twenties.  Uh… yes Please!?!  But two… Somewhere along the lines I’ve lost my ability to trust someone else completely.  And I miss that.

I sat today and tried to pinpoint when I lost it.  Like it was a coin from my pocket that had somehow slipped out and run about loose.  But it wasn’t like that.  I think it was more like how a rocky cliffside will slowly erode away from the ocean waves that pound on it.  The more people I’ve put faith and trust in over the years who’ve let me down, have made it so that I’m a bit leery to be blindly handing out my trust anymore.  And that’s really quite a sad thing.  That’s me changing and adapting due to shitty people.  It’s perfectly normal of course, life experiences teach you, after all.

I’ve been thinking a lot about  weddings and relationships.  I think it’s because of something my grandmother brought up. 70+ years together.  Just Wow.  I was admiring their wedding photo and couldn’t help but think that they both, for sure, upheld their wedding vows.

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I always upheld mine.  That I can say without uncertainty.  When I think about my own future, it’s dawned on me that I’ve never really thought about what I’d want someone to say to me now.  Because of my own experiences – I think I’d want to write them – rather than have someone say them for me.  Because the standard I will love, honor, cherish, obey …. insert the rest of the standard bit here… isn’t quite right for me anymore.

Yes, I would hope to be loved, honored, cherished… i’m pretty sure they cut out obey now… so i won’t get into that one… but I think I’d also want a few other guidelines in there.  Ones I would hope would be a mutually spoken thing of course.

8 Vow additions for a future husband & wife:

I promise to Respect.
I would hope that my future husband would promise to always respect me and our relationship.

I promise to Trust and never do anything to cause that level of trust to falter.

I promise to always put your needs at the same priority level as my own.  If I’m going to be “selfish” it will be for us – not just myself.

I promise to always be stubborn and to never quit trying and putting effort into us and our lives we’re building together.  Even when things get tough or tense.

I promise to always communicate and be transparent. You are the one person I am not allowed to hide anything from.  I will always try and make sure that we are communicating in a healthy manner.

I promise to never judge you.  I will always empathize with you, and try and understand from your perspective.

I promise to always prioritize our sex life.  To be affectionate with you.  To touch you and hug you and love you. Because this is something I will also need and crave.

I also promise to adventure with you, to make you laugh, to sing to you, to lift you up and encourage you to spread your wings.  To be your cheerleader when you need it, and a silent gaming partner when you need that too.

 

Hmm… yea, I suppose that covers quite a bit.  Makes me wonder how people end their vows these days – and yes, I realize I could go search that.  Do they say till death do us part anymore?  Or is it till divorce or death do us part?  LOL.  Ok, ok, I shouldn’t laugh at that – divorce is no laughing matter at all.  As obviously, I speak from personal experience there.  But do people work loopholes into their vows now?

Can you imagine what some of the worst vows out there could be like?  I take you… till death, divorce, sickness, fatness, or a really cute rich guy comes along…

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Ugh.  I would certainly hope that doesn’t happen.  Would seem like a sad state of affairs for the “sanctity of marriage”.

Is it wrong for me to long for this to be a more simple thing?  I suppose there is no such thing.  All you can do is hope for the best.  Hope that the right person will come along and sweep you off your feet.  That they’ll be the one to open your eyes to everything that’s good and wonderful in the world.  And who knows – maybe they’ll even be a master at making grilled cheese.  😉

Goodnight Neverland.  Much love to you.

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Expectations, Anxieties & Getting Older

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My friend M would be proud that I’ve decided to write about this.  It’s a topic he’s bringing up to me on a regular basis and really, I’ve yet to talk about it much here.  The art of managing your own expectations.  According to M, expectations lead to unhealthy behaviors; and ultimately, he’s not wrong.  But, life experience, years of instincts, science in general, and being good observers has taught us all to expect certain behaviors or outcomes.  So I often say it’s a losing battle.  In fact, I often tell him that he’s silly for thinking he can even obtain that goal.  But today – I can’t help but wonder if he’s right.  We all build up expectations in our heads.  How we think someone should react or how we think something should go.  Perhaps he’s right – the act of having those expectations in our minds only serves the purpose of disappointing us when things go differently than we’d hoped or anticipated?

I have, on a number of occasions in my life, been disappointed by my expectations going wonky.  Sometimes, it’s when I don’t speak my own needs what I’m thinking and then come to find out that I’m on a different page from someone else.  Sometimes it’s when I think I’ll get a certain reaction about something, and find I’m seeing the opposite.  Either way, I end up disappointed.

So who’s fault is that?  Mine.  Because somehow, somewhere, I took a misstep and either failed to communicate, or failed to listen.  That actually could be the key there, that second bit.  Listening.  How often do we really listen to what someone else is saying.  So often, we’re only “listening” in order to wait for our turn to speak again.  How often can we really say that we listen with the intent to actually HEAR what someone else has to say?  To actually put ourselves in their shoes and understand what they are trying to tell us?  I’d say it’s not very often at all.

I found myself struggling a little tonight, with my expectations of someone else.  Someone I care deeply for.  But I think what I’m coming to process is that my disappointment over their lack of reaction is on me.  I had an expectation that perhaps I didn’t even know that I had… and when they gave me their honest reaction.

It’ll be ok.  It’s always ok.

What’s interesting tho… what triggered me to write this out, is that my anxiety went up as I sat and processed all of this.  As I tried to contain my disappointment and frustration and simply try and understand.  I’m still struggling a little.  Not because I don’t understand their point of view – I actually do.  But because regardless of my level of understanding – it means caving on something that I’m not sure I want to cave on.  It means lowering my own expectations – whether I knew they were there originally or not, and compromising.  And perhaps, on this, I don’t want to compromise.

Funny, my brother and I were talking about anxiety today.  He called me on my way home and was telling me how surprising it is to him that as he gets older, his anxiety gets more pronounced.  He started out in his younger years with little to no anxiety – and now that he’s in his 40’s, he’s finding that he actually struggles with it at times.

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It made me feel better somehow.  I don’t remember being an anxious child or teenager.  Heck, I’m not even sure I’d have said I was anxious in my twenties.  It’s only been as I’ve gotten older that I’ve recognized my own anxieties for what they are.  They are of course, manageable.  No one would likely even know that I have them.  But I do.  They are with me always.  Not sure I’m comforted by that.

Well neverland, thanks for letting me spit this out and process it.  I’m not sure I’ve figured it all out yet, but I’m getting there.  Yay for that.  Although, in truth, I’mnot sure I ever really will.  Goodnight Neverland.  Dream sweet when you get there.

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An anxious moment

Man oh man, I don’t know what set me off today – but my anxiety got sky high this afternoon.  It’s taken me a good hour just to get it to a level of better control.  No fun.  I’m trying to think about what’s churning around in the ol’ head that would make me feel this way.  And what’s frustrating, there isn’t a single thing that tipped me in this direction.  I think maybe it was just a combination of a few things that did me in.  But … that’s not like me.

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I hate to think of anxiety like a weakness – but sometimes, it is.  I’m simply saying what is… at least for me.  I won’t judge others – but I will judge the heck out of me.  And I’m being a little judgemental on myself right now in saying that this “new” weakness of mine is just plain ol’ annoying!  And I suppose what is even more annoying, is that I don’t know if my anxiety is new, or if I’ve simply learned to recognize it for what it is.  It’s been 3-4 years now, as recognizing it was something I learned through therapy.  And I’ve learned various methods to work through it and manage.  I’d like to say to control it – but I don’t think anyone ever REALLY has control over it.  Who knows, maybe I’m wrong.  What I hate is that for the most part – and I mean 85-90% of the time – I have a great sense of awareness about my emotional wellbeing, and can use the tools that therapy and schooling and experience has taught me to ensure that I maintain that inner calm… but it’s that 10-15% of the time that I struggle.  Today, being one of them. So – perhaps by writing, I’ll get out whatever is pushing me to that point.

Communication in relationships.  All relationships – not just romantic ones.  For the most part, I think I’m a good communicator.  I am very good at empathizing and understanding someone else’s perspective without judgement or getting offended.  I am also very good at reading people… so often, when someone shows they are a certain emotion, I pick up on it, even when they don’t think they’ve shown anything. I respect people to know that what they speak is their perspective.  But as good as a communicator that I am, I also recognize that others are not.  I think somehow, in my quest to become better at communication – I may have lost sight of the very real fact that not everyone is striving for the same thing as I am.  Not everyone will be comfortable sharing their perspectives and truths with me. At least not right away – and sometimes not ever.  Not everyone is striving to be an emotionally healthy communicator.  And because of that – not everyone is ready for it when I present it to them. I think where I get stuck on that tho – is then what? When someone I’m communicating with isn’t on the same page or emotional level as I am, it creates the opportunity for a few outcomes.  1.  The person hears me, I hear them, and one or both of us grow because of it.  2. The person doesn’t hear me, or I don’t hear them, and then they shut down and healthy communication cannot continue until things get back on track.  This is often when unkind words can get spoken or someone can get unintentionally hurt.  And personally – I’m not a fan of any of that, for anyone.  So what’s interesting to me, is now, knowing this – helps me see full circle, why I became a horrible communicator to begin with.  It was because I wanted to avoid that second option.  Interesting double edged sword there!

Upcoming Vacations! So my vacation time is getting closer and closer!  16 work days to be exact.  WOW!  Putting it that way – holy cow!  I’m excited.  Some real time off.  I’m also a little bit nervous.  For a few reasons.

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It’ll be my new car’s first big trip.  Kind of exciting, I’m excited to see how it does! This will be my first longer stay with M. And I am actually not worried about that bit of it – but meeting his friends and family will be interesting and has me nervous – although I don’t know why.  I’m good at meeting others, and I have yet to meet someone’s parents and have them not like me.  BUT… i’m still nervous all the same. I think it’s because I’ve never quite measured up to my own family’s expectations – so it always makes me hesitate to put myself out there to try and meet the expectations of someone else’s family! Ha. Sad I know.

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Grilled Cheese. I can’t believe I’m adding this in here – but it just came up.  M knows how to make a proper grilled cheese.  Can I just say how happy that makes me?!  He butters both sides and gets a golden brown – just the way it SHOULD be, and has the perfect bread to cheese ratio.  I’ve never understood those people who only butter one side.  They say it’s less greasy – um.. hello?!  It’s GRILLED CHEESE!!!  What on earth do you expect?!  If you want less grease – go eat a salad for goodness sake!  Mmm.  I will say, eating a grilled cheese sammich in bed is the perfect antidote to a stressful moment.  🙂  Even if it isn’t diet-friendly.  It’s ok tho – I did quite a bit of exercise today – so I highly doubt this indulgent is going to set me back.

Trust.  Sigh.  Let’s just say that there are plenty in my life who’ve pushed me to my limits when it comes to trust.  Some are still active participants in my life – others, not so much. Even I have to draw the line somewhere. I’m terrible – I often give way more chances and opportunities than are deserved.  Sometimes, my friends give me shit for this – and sometimes, it’s why they love me.  I spoke to a friend today who has recently broken my trust.  I don’t know if I want to remain friends in the future or not.  I really don’t.  But at the same time, I care about this person and want happiness for them in their future.  So I suppose from an outsider’s perspective, this is me giving them another chance – but it’s not.  In my head – as the trust erodes away – even in small baby chunks, it opens up room for doubt.  And doubt, my friends, is the silent ninja killer.  It really is.  The moment you introduce doubt into a relationship – it’s doomed.  I suppose I could say that perhaps it’s possible to earn back the trust – because it is.  But I’d also wager that it would take twice as long to remove the doubt.

Well – I think that’s it for now… writing in here, plus the grilled cheese… I’m a lot better than when I started.  Going to go hop in the shower and get back to being me again!

Much love Neverland!  Talk to you again soon!

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When I’m asked about Marriage…

My brother came to visit this weekend.  It was lovely to hang out and not have anything else going on (for once).  To get to sit down, chit chat about everything and nothing, watch a flick, eat some good food… it was needed.  🙂

One of the topics that came up – quite often, actually – was marriage.  His in particular, but also the concept in general.  Would I ever get married again?  I think I’d resigned myself to stop giving advice in regards to marriage about 4-5 years ago.  I think it was the moment my second marriage ended that it dawned on me that perhaps I shouldn’t be giving out advice.  That maybe marriage wasn’t meant for me  😀  But that’s ultimately, selling myself short.

My first marriage – I was young.  I’d been with the man for 6 years and felt that I was making a sound decision.  And – in the scheme of things – had I not married him, I’d not have had my daughter.  So – I can’t say it was all bad.  And how could I have possibly known that marriage would turn the man into someone else?  We were only married for two years – so in general – I don’t typically count it for much.

My second marriage lasted 12 years.  I came into my own.  Grew up.  Really learned what it meant to become a wife… and a mother.  I was good at it.  All of it.  I packed lunches with love notes, I kept a tidy house, always had everyone’s favorite food and beverages stocked on hand… Anything that was asked of me – was handled.  I am naturally quite affectionate and always up for anything – be it adventuring somewhere, or snuggles on a couch.  I was always loyal and never strayed.  Did my best to never do anything that would disrespect myself or my relationship.  It was this relationship that taught me the true meaning behind being a partner.  What it meant to stay … even when everything tumbled around you.  Perhaps I’m an odd duck – I don’t look back at my marriage as a failure at all.  I look back and see it as a stepping stone for me becoming who I am today.  A strong, independent, caring, giving, funny woman.  Someone who always tries to see the good in others or in a situation.  And in many ways – I was always her… but time has helped me in many ways.  I’m more patient now.  I listen better.  I speak up more and try and compromise more.  I’ve also learned that all of those expectations that I had of myself in my marriage … were both not enough – and too much.  You see… I could have never known that we’d have a son.  I’d have never been able to see into the future and see how losing that son would break us all.  What’s interesting tho… we’re not broken anymore.

My ex and I manage to co-parent pretty well.  Of course there are times when we frustrate each other… but don’t we all?  That is the joy of being human.  We work together as a team to provide for our kids in the best way that we can.  And for the most part… I consider myself lucky to have him in my life.  I know that my children will never wonder, as I did, why their dad doesn’t want to be in their life.  He wants it.  He tells them regularly how much he loves them and I’m sure he wishes he had the ability to provide more.  I respect him for that.  And what’s interesting – he makes a point to let me know just how much he respects me for all that I did.  I know his fiance gets uncomfortable when she hears him say how amazing of a wife I was… I wish she understood that him sharing that doesn’t in any way undermine his love and devotion for her.  And it’s not him comparing her and I in any way.  She’s amazing – and we’re all incredibly grateful that she’s in our lives.

Would I marry again?   Yes.  And that’s a resounding YES.  But with lots of caveats and me saying “however and but”.  When it was brought up this weekend, my response was leaning more towards a NO.  It surprised my brother to hear it.  He saw me when I was married.  He knows what kind of partner I am to someone.  My NO wasn’t because I’m scared of it.  I would love to find myself in a situation in the future where I had a partner.  A true partner.  Someone to laugh with and grow old with.  To cook for and travel with.  Someone who actually understands me (as I’m not convinced either of my ex husbands ever really did).  Someone who lets me into the deeper darker regions of their heart – someone who trusts that I would never intentionally hurt them and would lay my life on the line to keep them safe and happy.  Ultimately – someone who feels as I do.  But the thing is… I’d have to be absolutely sure that they reciprocated those thoughts and feelings with me.  I’d have to feel safe again.  Safe enough to allow myself to be vulnerable again.  It’s possible… and ultimately, I know the right man is out there for me.  So who knows… maybe some day.

I think the other thing that doesn’t sit well with me – is what’s the damn rush?  LOL.  I mean – yea – i’m the girl who likes to know where she stands in a relationship.  In fact, I’d say for women like me ,it’s why we ask to put labels on our relationships to begin with – so we understand what’s expected of us.  What role are we to play in this relationship?  Once we know … we get to what I like to call “the coasting stage”.  This stage is bliss.  Where you can spend many years happily coasting along with someone.  To me – this is the zone to aim for.  If things progress from there – cool beans – but if they don’t – i’m ok with that too!  Because at that point – you’re happy in the coasting stage so it doesn’t really matter.

I really AM an odd duck.  Between my buddy M, my brother, and a few other male friends, I’ve had the privilege of seeing what it’s like to date women.  And can I just say – for the record – Women can be NUTS.  Seriously … nuts.  Yea – men can be crazy too – don’t even GET me started on some of the horrendous dates I’ve been on.  But some of the stories I’ve heard – some of the behavior I’ve witness from my fellow ladies… DAMN.  And if that’s what men have been dealing with – then I’d wager that dating me would come as a bit of a shock to the system.  As I’m VERY different.  But then again – they’d probably be more likely to assume I’m just like every other woman out there – and not likely get the chance to show them that I’m not.

So … brother dear… when I don’t give you advice on your new marriage… it’s not because I don’t care, nor is it because I lack advice to actually GIVE.  Marriages… hell – relationships are all about growth and learning.  These tests you face – are yours, and I’ll cheer you on from the sidelines – but I won’t necessarily share with you.  And who knows – maybe someday – i’ll join you in the journey again.  I’m pretty damn happy and content where things are right now, and that’s certainly enough for me.

 

Content & Happy

Hehe… the joy of being me, is that there always seems to be a billion and five thoughts running through my head at one time.  For the mind of a creative… thoughts generally spin out and in like water rushing from a flowing river.  Sometimes they stay on topic, sometimes they do not.  There are pros and cons to this… from a job perspective, it means that I almost always have a new swirl of ideas and brainstorm fodder to pull from – which is always a good thing.  On the personal spectrum, it’s not always a good thing, because it often means that I overthink things, or come across as the random A.D.D girl to some friends.  Which I’m almost positive leaves them thinking I’m a bit of a dork – but I’m ok with that.  Cuz ultimately – I AM a bit of a dork.

I’ve spent the past few days, sick.  I swear – it’s been the year of the cold and flu in my house and it gets old fast.  I’m home from work today – currently perched on my couch with my laptop and a new series I’m enjoying playing on the television.  I was pretty stressed and anxious yesterday – but today – i’m feeling relaxed, content and happy.  It’s nice.

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I can’t believe the year is almost over.  We’re about to go into 2018, can you believe it?!  It’s interesting to look back at times, see how much has changed… how far I’ve come.  Both over the years, as well as over such a short amount of time. I’m so pleased.  Who knew life would work out this way? 🙂

Much love to you all.  I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Goodnight Neverland.

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