I am safe and sound in New Hampshire, that bastion of “Live Free or Die!” attitudes, vests, birkenstocks and oil heat. I can’t believe I’ll be here for 9 months. Of course I have a ton of travel to do for a couple of clients, and possibly some fun stuff on the horizon, but for the most part, I’ll be as settled for the next while as I’ve been in almost two years. Even when I was working on the first phase of this project last year I knew that I was leaving for Semester at Sea even before I began. This time…clear blue skies as far as my mind’s eye can see.
I’ve been welcomed back like a long lost family member, I am overwhelmed at how genuine these people’s love for me seems to be. My affection for them is strong, I missed them deeply. I am happy to be back with my housemates D and J, I love walking the dog in the mornings, cooking every other night, being “the one that washes” while someone else is “the one that dries”, and all of this has got me thinking. More specifically, it has got me thinking about love.
WHAT? YOU, Funchilde? Well, erm yeah. I’m only human.
Can you list/name all the types of love in your life right now? The most intense love I have felt recently has been for my nephew, something about spending so much time together, sharing a room, seeing how my example/guidance/influence impacts his life and choices.
My love for my parents is a constant, like the steady beat of my heart, I couldn’t extract myself from it if I tried, but it is changing. We’re solidly in the “friend” zone, I enjoy their company immensely, would prefer to hang with them over anyone I know, but I also see the tides turning and have one hand on the door that will lead to me taking care of THEM. This is complicated and makes my throat itch to contemplate.
My love for my siblings is changing as well, we are all fully grown adult people. It seems that my baby brother’s wedding has altered him forever in my eyes, I now give him full adult/man credit. But it also highlights that we are on separate paths with little connecting us (we’re now in 3 different states and have been for almost two years) and I can feel the texture of my relationships with them changing, I’m no longer the dominant/eldest child/leader that they must follow, they are free to make their own choices with little to no thought about my opinion. All of this is good, but unsettling like Africa breaking off from Asia to form its own continent.
My love for my friends has matured to the status of Urban Tribe. We are housemates, companions, travel buddies, advisors and pains in the @$$. For my friends that are married (about half) who express (usually minor) envy at my freedom and lifestyle, we validate each other’s choices. I let them know that the grass isn’t greener over here, it just looks that way because they don’t have to mow it. And they do the same for me.
I have also realized how much I am maturing and feel like alot of growth is taking place right now. I am comfortable letting some relationships simmer on low on the backburner, where in the past I would have insisted upon full-on, front burner heat to address the situation. I know that not every person in my circle should receive the same “effort” and consideration, and that I can still love them to pieces and laugh it up when we’re together, without nary a thought about them when we are apart. I know that it isn’t necessary to give all you have, to have all you want.
In terms of romantic love? Today a colleague insisted that she was going to find someone “special” for me (in an effort to keep me here in NH-not because I asked!). I haven’t given up on love, in fact I’m probably second only to my brother in the incurable romantic department, but as I told her..”I don’t want anything until it’s ready and I’m ready…”Â I realized that I have a couple of crushes (does anybody else enjoy having crushes? I love it), but these are on the back burner too, because the person I’m most interested in loving right now is me. Not in an arrogant way, but I am beaming inside that I’ve walked away from some potentially crazy situations in the last couple of years, but when you’ve had one bad carnival ride, you start to avoid carnivals, right?
I found out recently that someone I once loved is in a situation that may end, that things aren’t going well and that the dark clouds of a relationship on the decline hover on the horizon. Though I am long over the person/situation, I was so grateful to realize that I was sad that they might be hurting, that the pain of a relationship in distress is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I realized that I don’t care how the situation turns out (that’s not true, I’m such a putz that I actually hope they find a way to work it out), but I didn’t feel any “glee” that they might be in pain. It was one of those times when you can FEEL that you areÂ emotionally healthy (or on the right track). Plus, one of the best things I’ve ever heard is “Resentment is like you drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Thus, I have been blessed with the ability to move on from things/people fairly quickly (note I didn’t say easily..just quickly).
I feel like I’ve made some healthy (and tough) decisions to keep certain situations/relationships platonic. And I mean serious temptation, like…nobody would ever know, different continent, vegas like-“what happens here stays here” stuff. Stuff that would only impact me, and probably not for the better, and I’ve walked away. All I want is the wisdom to keep doing that in every area of my life, but not be closed to the possibility of “crazy about you-can’t live without you-follow you to the ends of the earth-make you waffles every sunday”….love. But mostly I am enjoying BECOMING the right person versus focusing on FINDING the right person.
I would be fine if I were never in another marriage/partnership again. The prospect of “ending up alone” doesn’t scare me like it does some other 30-somethings I know. I guess if you’ve been in a long-term relationship that doesn’t work out, you know that it is better to be single and happy than coupled and miserable, but you also know you can’t say that to anyone who hasn’t been there.
So as for the care and feeding of the human heart? My guess is: first take care of your own heart, then gauge the quality of the relationships in your life (familial, friend, collegial, etc) to determine if you are gaining the skills to help nurture someone else’s. Don’t worry about whether or not the grass is greener, determine the quality of YOUR grass. Then remember that romantic love is 90% being the right person and 10% finding the right person.
But what do I know? Help a sistah out with your thoughts on L-O-V-E.