In May of this year, I’ll be 43 years old. To have had one, solitary, all too brief relationship in the span of over 20 years of adulthood is a little abnormal, let’s face it. It’s also a little depressing.
There are times that these facts fill me with regret, but then I remember that all of our experiences throughout life, good or bad, make us who we are. And who we are is important. I have some not my finest moments moments. Things of which I am definitely not proud, but overall I believe I am a strong, loving, kind and resilient person. I’m creative, I believe in my talent and my tenacity. Most of all, I like my brain, even when it replays the things that I regret over and over in an effort to keep me up at night.
Having said that, I am UBER-HYPER-SUPER AWARE of every one of my thousands of flaws and shortcomings. That in itself is a shortcoming when you are trying to become an us. But that's who I am. Very self-aware, most of the time.
I’ve spent most of my life just observing people. The upside to observing as opposed to participating in life is that I think I have a deeper understanding of what’s important in life and to me than a lot of people. For instance, I see couples arguing all the time about who should’ve emptied the garbage, who loaded the dishwasher wrong, who forgot to pay the bills. Yes, bills need to be paid and dishes need to get done, but stop bitching at each other about it... SERIOUSLY! Do the dishes yourself (both of you) and don’t complain if they aren’t done the way you’d do them. Be done with it, it's not important!
In my last relationship, my significant other took the garbage out for me. We didn’t live together, he had just come over to see me, so this definitely wasn’t his responsibility. He hadn’t contributed to any of the garbage in the bag. But when he took it out, I didn’t ask-he just did it, I almost jumped up and down. No one had ever taken out the garbage for me. EVER. I seriously appreciated it so much that I wanted to do something, anything for him. Not because I wanted to pay him back, but just because he had been so thoughtful.
It seems simple to just appreciate each other. Look for any little thing each day for which to say thank you. Don’t get lost in the stress and chaos of everyday life and lose those little moments that you’ll never forget. Trust me.
Here’s the thing... Until 7 months ago, I had no idea what it even felt like to sit on the couch with someone and snuggle through a movie. Now I do. Now that my relationship is over, it’s actually a little painful to think of those moments, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Those moments made me feel real, they made me feel loved. And that is something that made my life whole.
My analogy is this... when you're blind, sound, smell, touch become amplified. They say that your other senses compensate for the lack of sight. Lack of touch and belonging are kind of the same thing... When you go 15 years without touch, touch becomes more intense. Almost overwhelming at times. Your heart leaps with joy when someone simply holds your hand. You belong.
For the most part, this is a blessing. I have learned to appreciate the kindness and joy that defines you when someone hugs or snuggles with you. I don’t care what kind of car you have or job you do. I’m just happy. In fact my heart thumps with joy at those little things.
But it’s also a curse. It’s a curse because a lot of people, those in my dating age range in particular don’t really feel the same way. These gestures have become routine, casual, almost absent-minded. They are anything but that to me.
My first relationship has ended and I haven’t completely worked through the grief of that. I have to admit, its hit me like Thor’s hammer. I cared deeply for this person for many reasons. Loved him with all my heart, in fact. At this point, I can only hope that someday I will be able to move on. Frankly, I’m not sure anyone will ever compare to him. It’s not that he was perfect. He had just as many flaws as me, I just didn’t care. None of them bothered me. He was the first person I truly wanted to let in. The first person I would kick Hairy off the bed for.
But I will continue to hope that I can move on eventually. I’m mostly hoping that I can move on before I hit my sixties, because let’s face it, it’s all fun and games until someone breaks a hip!
But when I am ready, I would like him to know this:
- If you don’t think I’m “the one” within a few weeks, you never will, so please let me go, do it in face-to-face and try to be kind about it.
- Be patient with me. I still don’t really know how these things are supposed to work and it’s so hard not to be terribly insecure about that.
- Tell me when I’m over-compensating. I know it can seem a little smothery, but I can't help it.
- Carry something for me without asking. If you ask, I will say “I got it”, and usually do, but the truth is that I would do anything for a little help.
- Don’t call me honey or hug me, or make any romantic gestures until and unless you mean it. I will think you mean it and I will be terribly confused when you yell “psych! I just wanna be friends!”
- Send flowers and only to me... unless it’s your mom or sis or niece. You get the idea.
- Kiss me hello every time you see me!
- Kiss me goodnight when we're together. If we're not, tell me goodnight instead.
- Just kiss me... a lot... if you’re taller than me, lean down. Standing on your tippy toes is awkward and I’m a clutz. I'm likely to kiss the bottom of your chin and then I'll feel like a dork and over-compensate some more. Also, I'm an awkward hugger, just saying.
- Hold me when I’m upset.
- Most of all, talk to me. Talk to me about anything, but especially when something is wrong. Please. Talk to me instead of just walking away.
- Please don’t take me for granted. I’ll put up with it longer than I should, but then I won’t...
- Don’t say “I love you” unless you mean it forever.