Return To Silence

What’s the old saying: “Pleasure is 9/10 anticipation”.  Ain’t that the truth! Well, in some cases it certainly seems so anyway.

There are times where we can drum ourselves up into thinking that something will be way better than the reality of what actually happens. Then it can be a let down or a disappointment in some way. Or, at the very least, it can give us a new outlook on our lives, the way we do things or what we may have been thinking about our future.

That’s certainly what happened with the recent visit with my friend. Not that I had built it up into some great expectation. I have known this person for many years, and our relationship has gone through many convolutions over the past. So I knew the potential for the visit to be a certain way (boring, not what I might hope etc.) was very real.
But even when one knows ahead of time that things might not be wonderful, it’s still a bit of a downer when those expectations are filled! I guess as a hopeful individual, one can still think that another person might have changed a bit, or grown, or wants different things at this stage of the game.

In the end though, I’ve learned by now, that in order for people to really change in any way (great or small)–it takes very hard work and concentration, which most folks can’t give or don’t have. And most people either don’t realize or believe they need changing. Maybe they don’t either–it’s only according to someone else’s perception.

So where does that leave things? Well, a visit within tight quarters for almost a week can become uncomfortable and tiresome. For me, as someone used to living alone for many years now, I began to ache for my solitude. My patience and sense of being a good hostess begins to wan. All I really wanted was my space back…  It’s not that I disliked the other person, but I began to see all the little things about them that make me realize why I live alone now.

For years I have gone back and forth in my head about living alone. Will I be OK this way for the long haul? Is there something inadequate with me that makes it hard for me to be around others? Am I safe by myself? Am I truly happy this way? But I see others more and more living as I do and I find I am not so unusual. Many of us have come to this place after years of living with other people. And now we live alone by choice.

As we grow older, it is easy to become isolated, but the need for space and solitude also becomes a treasure. The years given in service to others–kids, spouses, pets, jobs, parents, families–can bring you to a point where the peace of one’s home is a blessing.

Having guests over is not a bad thing by any means, especially when they contribute to the well-being of one’s life and soul. But the return to the quiet when they leave is a sound I am also grateful to hear.


Weather The Storm

It never ceases to amaze me that after someone makes the move to cut you out of their life, they often turn around after with great remorse. Seemingly it always seems to be the people who do this without care or tact, they do it rudely and hurtfully. And then, either shortly or some time after, come swooping back gushing flowery words telling their true desire or care for you. It totally baffles the mind!

So, why then, did they go in the first place? It has become apparent to me that either don’t make the same long-term commitment to others that I do, or they base leaving on a particular act or feeling. One moment in time constitutes enough of a reason to tell the other person to get lost.

While it is true that not every case is like this and many relationships/marriages/friendships may weather many storms and then finally hit the tornado that breaks the foundation apart. I understand these situations. But I have found more and more this not to be the case. Rather no-one seems to want to put their heads into the wind anymore with someone else and face the winds together. It is just easier to say: I’ll push you out there yourself and close the door to the storm cellar where I’m safe.

But then, why stick your head out again looking for that person? They would have been bruised and battered by the storm. And adding insult to injury by claiming love or cherishing when you pushed someone out there simply sounds utterly, well, ridiculous!

How then, to avoid these kinds of situations? Well, we can just never trust anyone! I’ve tried that before. But the storms can be dark and lonely to battle alone. And it can be nice to share an umbrella now and then. Getting to know someone takes time, so not rushing that can be helpful.

More importantly, the burden falls on the people who do the dumping. Although we can’t control them, we can try not to be them. Thinking before we leave a friendship, marriage, relationship is critical. Thinking about the devastation we leave in our wake is critical! It’s not just about us! Empathy-even when we may feel like garbage-is the key. And remembering that at one time at least, we cared about this person we’re about to wreak havoc upon, even if we’re not crazy about them presently.

Finally, thinking about why you are doing it. Is it because you are in some moment that is ticking you off? Is it something that will pass? Maybe you can do something instead of telling them to take a hike: maybe you can GO for a hike, go talk to a friend about it, write, listen to music, run, meditate or whatever it is you do to come down off your anger (beside use substances to excess). If the moment passes, then you won’t make the dumb mistake and be writing that person the idiotic email saying how much you miss them! And they won’t be telling you what a jerk you are later. If it doesn’t pass, then communicate in a mature way with the other person. At least let them know there’s a problem! If it isn’t solved them–seek help together! There’s so many places to get help: professional or otherwise.

There’s no need to just be cruel. If you did indeed love or care for someone: friend, lover or spouse–then don’t let anger or hurt blow it. Just stop and think before you do something that may end “the best thing you ever” had or make you lose “someone you cherish” (these are both quotes -post dumping-from two people who ended it with me)

No-one says it’s easy getting along with someone else, but walking away during the storm will only leave you standing in the rain.

Crossing Paths

In the pool today I was struck by all the people who cross our paths and how our interactions with them can be on such different levels and intensities. For instance, today this thought came to me particularly while I was swimming because I’ve met a wonderful young woman who is an intern where I swim. She will only be there for six months and is coming close to the end of her time. We’ve become great chums as women do that share a locker room together. Maybe it’s the intimacy of showering together and sharing our stories. But she and I just clicked, had the same politics so followed the election very closely together even though we are vastly different in age. It’s sad to me she will be leaving and I will miss her. I was struck that I will most likely never see her again.

And this made me think about all the relationships like this we have in our lives. The intense and real friendships we have that are brief and final. Maybe with a co-worker in a place you once worked. But then you move on to a new job. You keep in touch for a while, then move to the Christmas card, then even those stop. This person maybe really was a good friend at the time you worked together, but now they are out of your life forever.

Or what about the orthodontist or doctor that you may see for years and years. I saw my orthodontist all the time for five years! And then poof…he was gone. Not that he was my friend, but he did change my life in one way. It just seems odd that someone like that is just suddenly gone from one’s life.

Of course there’s the really strange relationship like the one you have with the ex-spouse! Someone you actually loved and lived with for so many years. And one day they are gone. It may take longer for that person to leave your heart, but when they do–it’s odd to think they ever took up space in your life.

There are so many of these crossings–big and small. Where do the spaces go when they are left open? Are they just filled by someone else, or do they remain a hole? Is it OK to just let people go from your life as though they never existed in the first place or should we work harder to keep people with us? I’ve had friends who have just disappeared from my life with no explanation. Even when I’ve tried to get one from them. I’ve never understood this and it hurt a lot.

Now with the days of social media it is much easier to stay in touch. Facebook, email, texting, cellphones, computers make it much less likely to lose someone if you don’t really want to lose them. And to find them if you want to find them! I found my second ex that way. And we talked after 25 years! It was very cathartic. We are even in touch via FB now. I found my first ex on the computer and wrote him a snail mail letter. And got a lovely reply back. It was all very healing.

But there are some people who leave and are gone for good. I think about these people now and again and wonder about them. I wonder if they think about me. They were friends at a part of my life, weren’t they? If I bumped into them now I’m quite sure we would still be friendly. I work so hard to make a real connection with just about everyone I meet. That is my blessing and my downfall. I used to send 60 gifts across the country at Christmas time! Not anymore.

So now my goal is to keep my friends near to me and hang onto them no matter where they go or where I go. There’s no excuse now to lose people anymore. And the ones that drift in and out, well I just be as kind as I can when our paths do cross. I’ve come to accept now some relationships we have now exist online, not in person like in the old days. This is the way it has to be in some cases, and, I suppose…it’s better than nothing at all.