"Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes." ~ Hugh Prather
It never ceases to amaze me how much my life is constantly changing. For so long, I thought it was changing for the worse; between divorce, illness, job loss, home loss, dog loss…it was all so much. After all these events occurred in one really lousy year, I had to learn to live my life again, differently. As many people close to me know, it was a life changing year for me and one in which I never expected to have so many positive outcomes come from but during the process, I found myself.
In the process of this finding myself, I reconnected with old friends and made new ones. I experienced the joy of living alone. I learned to rely on myself. I became more assertive and took more risks. I learned how to live my life and not let it live me.
In the midst of all this, I began dating again. However after more first dates than I care to recall and some poor decisions on my part which led to heartbreak, I decided that in the end, I was happier alone. I had no intention of getting close enough to a potential partner again to actually try and build a life with them. Who needed them? Not me. To be honest, while dating for about two years after separating from my ex-husband, I realized my life was full as it was. I didn’t need a partner to feel complete. And I definitely did not need the aggravation.
So of course when I was least expecting it, what do you think happened? I fell in love. Totally and completely head over heels in love to the point that I now doubt if I was ever really in love before. My boyfriend became not only my love, but my best friend. Being in love is wonderful. With it though, comes change and all of a sudden, my life changed yet again.
I had to learn to trust again, to think of someone besides myself on a daily basis again, and to shop with someone else while not going off on my own the whole time! One of the hardest things I had to learn though was how to lean on a partner. Don’t get me wrong; I have wonderful family and friends who I have been able to lean on often for support, but I have never had a partner who supports me the way my boyfriend does. I don’t always have to be the strong one in a crisis. I can cry. I can freak out. I can mourn. I can let him in. He won’t run away.
So where has this relationship brought me? I am now in the process of moving to his (OK “our”) home. Family and a few friends are surprised and I don’t blame them. We have only been dating for four months. If it was a friend of mine, I would probably tell them they are crazy. I would hate to tell them that we started talking about moving in together about six weeks into the relationship! But it is like they say, when you know, you know. The first time we discussed it, I wasn’t quite ready. I knew I would be eventually, but I wasn’t ready to give up my 2-3 nights/week home alone! As it was, I had to switch my “Friday night dance party” to a weeknight once my new love and I started spending the weekends together.
Yes, on a semi-regular basis (usually when I need to get some rest for the weekend and have to stay in), I crank up my IPOD on my stereo, open up a cold bottle of Blue Moon beer and dance/sing like an idiot with my dog in the living room. Then I open another Blue Moon and talk with friends on the phone or online. The dog loves it…she howls like a fool while I am dancing and singing away; quite a spectacle! But I digress…
About six weeks ago though, I knew I was ready to start sharing my precious living space. I realized that singing at the top of my lungs and dancing with my dog to very loud music would be more fun with my boyfriend. I was ready to give up my beloved apartment and work with him to make his home “ours” in whatever ways I needed to make it comfortable for me. More importantly, I also realized that he would give me the space I needed to keep my identity as a person, especially in terms of my other friendships. I wanted to share my life with him and not just a few nights a week and weekends. He wasn’t filling a void in my life, he was adding to the beauty of it.
I will admit, I am a little scared. Not of living with him. Although I am sure we will have our stumbling blocks, I am very secure in the knowledge that whatever difficulties we will encounter, we can work through them. At first I was concerned my “dark side” would send him packing but reality is, he is in it for the long haul ,as am I. Plus he has seen my dark side now and still has let me move stuff in!
No, the fear is that little voice in the back of my head that says this is too good to be true and moving in together is very symbolic of how serious our relationship is. Sometimes I just sit back and think “how did I get so lucky?” Not because I don’t think I deserve to be happy or deserve to with someone as wonderful as him; I do. But when you have experienced so much loss and heartbreak, it can make it difficult to sit back and accept that life does not always have to end up with loss and heartbreak. Sometimes life (and God) can bring two people together who were meant for each other and they can begin the journey of learning to live a new life…together.