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402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Tag: relationship

Day 1100: Kind of a big deal

My fiancé and I are getting married sometime in the next two weeks, depending on how you look at it (we picked a destination wedding, so the legal part is happening separately).

We’re. Getting. Married.

Marriage is a big deal, right? And for all its common-ness, it’s a provocative subject. As an institution, marriage had little to do with love until relatively recently. And it had little to do with two equals creating a partnership until even MORE recently (not-so-fun fact: most states didn’t consider marital rape a crime until the late 1970s).

The median age for getting married is going up, and the number of marriages most of us will have in our lifetime is going up.

Marriage is evolving, as things do.

Joe and I are both pretty pragmatic people. We know the marriage statistics, advantages and pitfalls. We know exactly what tax benefits our union will result in, and we’ve made some strategic choices. We elected for pre-marital counseling by way of the Prepare/Enrich assessment, which gave us data (Pie charts! Graphs! Percentages! Yay!) to analyze.

Our engagement has been filled with preparatory exercises designed to help us understand what we’re getting into, and why. And by all accounts, we’re doing everything right, if not romantically (nothing says romance like empirical data).

But I’m getting the sense that we aren’t preparing for marriage, exactly. What this actually feels like is preparation for continuous preparation. Or continuous change. Or maybe just continuously taking another person into consideration.

Because we’re both in our thirties, we have established independent-everythings—routines, schedules, habits, friends, etc. Every day, we make micro-decisions about how much our physical and emotional worlds should overlap, and where we can each bend and flex to accommodate. And sometimes we hit surprisingly hard edges. (I just think beds look better when they’re made!)

Ultimately, we’re both asking ourselves why we want to do this. For me, the answer is pretty simple. I love him, and I see how our personalities naturally support and balance each other. We accept each other. We challenge each other. We’re kind to each other. We have fun together and we respect each other’s independence. We both like learning. He makes really good quiche.

And when I think about my future, I want him to be there—even though I don’t know exactly who I will be or who he will be.

So in these days before we sign our papers and stand with our families and agree to keep picking each other, I’m feeling some mixture of totally chill and excited-bananas. The bed is messy. The quiche is in the oven. And despite our best preparations, neither of us has any idea what we’re getting into. Which is half the fun, right?

messybed.jpgThat bed.

Day 815: Like Taking Candy

So, I was clearing out some blog drafts and I came upon this one from August 28, which was about two months after I started dating Joe.

A few things have changed since then. I’m 32 now. I have bangs. Joe and I have met each other’s families and made each other meals and agreed that we want to share the same balcony from the same apartment. But for the most part, this draft still holds true.

I’m publishing it today as an ode to a balanced, imperfect relationship. One that I want to keep.

Warning: it’s a little gushy and it’s totally something I would have hated (secretly loved?) reading when I was single.

File this one under the category, “Things people say to you and you roll your eyes, but then later you realize they were right.”

At 31, I’ve had a good number of dating experiences. I’ve had a long-term, loving relationship that just didn’t work out, and a series of shorter-term relationships that have ranged from from fun to serious, to confusing to honestly-I-can’t-believe-you-thought-I’d-like-that-movie.

But the key marker in my adventures is that they’ve all been complicated in their own ways. However compelling, there’s been a problem to be solved.

My friends and family have been relentlessly supportive of whatever and whomever I chose, but often with the gentle sighing caveat, “You know, I really think it should be easier.”

It should be easier.

That’s a particularly easy statement to ignore, because it can be intellectually overridden with facts about why it’s hard now but will get easier later, or snorts that maybe not everyone gets to glide down easy street in the beginning of a relationship. It just sounded too simple, and I truthfully figured that “easiness” just wasn’t in my nature. I enjoy complicated tasks – things that need to be untangled and wrangled and sorted out.

But that was before I met Joe.

I’m telling you, there’s something to this easy thing. We like each other, we tell each other we like each other and we have easy conversations about complicated topics.

That’s not to say it’s perfect. His cheap, black socks leave little fuzzies all over my apartment, and I swear they look like dirty spiders and it drives me freaking crazy. And my work life often bleeds into my after-work life, and I know I have a hard time disengaging when I’m focused on a project.

But. It’s easy. We like each other. He’ll buy new socks and I’ll turn off email notifications. He’ll teach me how to love cycling and I’ll teach him how to think performance art is beautiful (some of it, at least).

I’m not writing this to say that something’s wrong if your relationship looks or sounds different. If it doesn’t seem easy, it’s still okay. You’re the only one who knows what’s right for you.

But from one logical justifier to another, it’s been SO worth trying for easy.

Also, we met on Tinder.

Zeus Jones Holiday Party

The only photo of us from my work holiday party.
Captured by Colleen at 2nd Truth Photography.

Day 632: About Not Being Scared

I started writing this piece before I learned of Robin Williams’ death.

And in full disclosure, I don’t suffer from depression the way many of my friends, families and peers do. I’m honored to have heard some of their stories over the past few days, and to have been privy to the depth at which depression is managed with grace, grit and sometimes deep, deep loneliness.

Cheers to the depressed. May you press on and keep sharing.

_____

Original post:

The other day, I had a moment. I woke up, took a shower, lay down on the floor, and stared up at the ceiling while tears sort of unceremoniously streamed out of my eyes, down my temples and into my ears. I felt exhausted. And hyper-aware that my wet hair was soaking the carpet.

In that moment, I felt anxious and incompetent. Logically, I knew I didn’t have anything to feel sad about – and I knew I could snap out of it if I really, really wanted to. But I didn’t want to. I felt compelled to stay there, stretched out, feeling anxious and incompetent, wondering how much longer I could delay the rest of my day. It was comforting in an incredibly uncomfortable sort of way.

I think sometimes life is just kind of scary.

And sometimes we should feel comfortable talking about how life is just kind of scary.

There’s a reason we thrive in communities – it takes all kinds of different relationships (dare I say a “village” of them) to support an individual’s emotional well-being. We need champions, advocates, reality-checks, comic relief, passion, warmth and challenges – and in the best communities, what an individual takes in in balance with what they provide.

But we (perhaps women, in particular) still struggle with this concept. We think we should be able to do it all and have it all and work it all out ourselves. We have to give more than we take. And we can’t talk about our sad or scary moments, because they make us seem weak and fragile, instead of normal human beings with deep emotions and strengths.

I’d like to be part of the movement that says it’s okay to talk about these things. That it’s okay to not have it all together, and it’s okay to ask for help. Asking and seeking is not weak – it’s productive and smart. It says you’re willing to grow and be challenged. And isn’t that a brave, beautiful thing?

Day 70: Wishes

On this Saturday evening, I have some wishes for you:

May you always have a warm heart, even when it’s colder outside than the inside of your freezer.

May you have a good relationship with your family, because they will be your lifelong champions (they will also tell you when you have food in your teeth).

May you treat yourself with respect.

May you break a few things and either put them back together or let them rest.

May you laugh until you’re miserable in just the right way (stomach ache, tears, whatever you just drank coming out of your nose, etc.).

And finally, may you dance and dance and not feel the least bit self-concious about your body or your style. Your dancing is the best dancing.

Day 46: Cats and Dogs

I started a super cool new contract position at a creative agency yesterday, and will be spending the next few months learning more about cats than I ever dreamed I would know.

Yes, cats.

In the process, I’m sure I’ll learn a bit about dogs, too—but mostly cats. In perusing the brand voice files yesterday to learn more about a particular cat and dog food company, I came across a really interesting chart about the differences between cat and dog pet owners, and how they view their relationships with their animals.

Which made me curious about the differences between my cat and dog-owning friends.

If you have a cat or a dog, why did you choose the animal you chose? And how do you view your pretty pet? As a friend? A child? A sibling? What were you looking for when you found and/or adopted him or her?

I realize the relationship distinctions above require thinking of your animal in human terms; but thinking in human terms is how we make sense of all of our relationships, so it’s not that strange. I freely admit that I view Brian Boitano as my independent roommate (except when he needs food or clean water—then, he’s my little buddy). He’s my company when I come home and he is decidedly not warm or snuggly.

If my lifestyle supported a furry friend, I always imagined I’d run around with a dog. But with all the interesting things I’m learning about felines, I can no longer be sure. I’ll have to discuss it with my new four-legged co-worker, Waffles (pictured).

Waffles