Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wallowing in Happiness

Sometimes, I just wallow……I have a bad day….a bad week….a bad year…. I open a bottle of wine……pour a pot of earl grey tea……devour a box of tagalongs….and cry on the shoulders of my girlfriends…..and they understand me… me…and support me. But sometimes I wonder……am I allowed to wallow in happiness?? Better yet….do I allow myself to wallow in happiness.

T.S. Eliot wrote in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, “I have measured my life with coffee spoons.” Do I do that with happiness?? Do I measure it out with a teaspoon?? Not too much…..just a small bit will do…..after all, I don’t want to be obnoxious….to brag….to set myself up for a fall.

Why is it that when I am happy, I downplay it all? Why do I hesitate to share it to the full extent? Will others accept my joy as much as they accept my pain? If I share my excitement for the future……will I look like a fool if it doesn’t work out??

I have found myself mulling over this a lot lately. I have noticed that I measure out my happiness….my success… joy. I am quick to point out my failings. When someone walks into my house, I make sure to point out how messy it is…..when someone compliments how I look, I am quick to acknowledge those few pounds I’ve gained. It’s not that I can’t accept a compliment with a simple, “thank you.” Oh, I can do that…but in my head, I tick off the things they didn’t notice….or that they just didn’t share.

So, I think I am going to practice the art of happiness……or better yet….the art of sharing my happiness. Truth is… this point in my life, I am happy…I have such hope for the future. My hope is not about a certain relationship (although that is going very, very well)….my hope is about where I am going….what I am planning….. For the first time in my life, I get to plan the life I have always wanted and it is exciting. At 40+ years old, I no longer care about the shoulds and want to focus on the coulds.

So for today…..instead of wallowing in the muck and the mire of a crazy life…..I choose to roll down hills of flowers…to lie on the warm earth… the clouds and dream of possibilities…..and best of all, learn to share….to share my success….to share my joy…and to share my hope of good things to come!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

THe Rebound Guy

Last week I had a two hour lunch with a girlfriend - - oh how I LOVE two hour lunches….especially those that include a nice bottle of wine!! These girlfriend lunches are times to share our hearts….our experiences…our hopes for the future.

On this lunching occasion, the conversation gravitated towards relationships (I know…shocker….girls…lunch…wine….talk of boys)….specifically of rebound relationships.

The rebound relationship is just that…..a rebound relationship….that relationship you have when you are not quite ready and quite healthy enough to have a long-term relationship. It is not necessarily a negative experience…..and sometimes it is even important.

Rebound relationships can tell us that we are likeable just as we are….that we are important….good enough to care about….beautiful….wonderful. Some would say that we should find these things on our own without involving another person. While that may be true….it may not be reality.

My rebound relationship was somewhat unexpected. I can remember countless conversations with my girlfriends about whether or not we were actually “dating” or just friends. I had not planned on being in a relationship - - I had been married for a bazillion years and the prospect of dating scared the bejeezus out of me. Our relationship taught me a lot - - mostly that I could communicate with a member of the male species without breaking dishes…..hanging up the phone….or slamming doors. The relationship taught me that I could breathe….if only for a moment….and enjoy life. It taught me that I could be liked for myself and not have to apologize for who I am.

In the end, the relationship was not to be long term……our lives were going in two different directions. Although we were compatible and had lots of fun, our differing expectations of life eventually drove us apart.

I can remember being so brokenhearted….so distraught….so determined that this relationship could work. Stepping back, I see my determination was more about being able to hold ANY relationship together than holding THIS relationship together. See….I was desperate to show to myself (and to my ex, if I am completely honest) that I am capable of having a healthy, happy relationship. That was of the utmost importance to me. I was determined this was not going to be the cliché rebound relationship……. In the end, if my rebound guy wouldn’t have been firm with the terms of our break-up, I would have walked on nails….swallowed my pride….tried to become someone I am not….simply because I wanted to stay together. Holy Cow….that was just like being married to my X…..

It was so difficult…..I thought I was going to be alone forever. My girlfriends consoled me….my guy friends took me out…they would tell me things about myself that I could not see….I became even more determined that I was not dating material…..that I had no interest in a dating relationship (see last year’s posts)…… I had to take some time to figure out what I wanted in life….to see who I am….to learn to make myself happy (and quite honestly, learn what makes me happy).

So as the holidays are approaching, I see many relationships turning to survival mode - - oh my goodness….I have been there…..”just give it until after the holidays….” “but we have plans for Thanksgiving at my parents so we can’t break up now…” “but I will never find someone who will do those things for me….” “but,,,,He might propose…” and on and on and on and on. Girlfriend (and guyfriend) don’t loose sight of yourself……don’t loose sight of the fact that some relationships are simply ones of transition. If you find yourself holding on to something that just isn’t working……let go. Loosen your grip on the relationship…..allow it to float away….see what it is that your need in a relationship AND what you bring to a relationship. Don’t hold on to something because of fear… fear is the opposite of love.

It’s a scary thing……realizing that you are in a rebound relationship…..but don’t let your pride…or your fear keep you from happiness…..