Today I celebrate a one year anniversary with my boy. Today we went out to buy tuna for lunch, and we ended up cooking chicken soup.
This two things might not seem related, but they are.
Some things I´ve learned over the last year:
Laughter is important. Laughter can turn a bad situation into a gentle one, laughter can paint your routine mornings into wonderful sing-a-long episodes. Laughter can dissipate bad moods, frowns and heavy moments. If you have someone to make you laugh, if you can make someone laugh, it´s golden.
Arguments need not to be wars. An argument can still be held with kindness, full of honeys, darlings, and hugs. In the beginning we had some major explosions. I discovered that this was the way I had learned to behave when an argument arose, with fight, with resistance, with agressiveness. Somehow, we turned them into kind conversations delivering our truths with less emphasis on hurting the other, and more emphasis on communicating.
It´s ok to pause. Following the previous point, I discovered that it is ok to pause when tension arises. It works for us, at least. When we start bumping heads, one or the other goes for a walk, heads out for a smoke, our pauses in a way. Later on, the the ocean calm, it´s easier to deliver the message.
Love is an everyday choice. When I was in my twenties I used to believe in that love, the fairy tale love, the love that sweeps you up your feet and always runs on its own. Now, even though our beginning was the most wonderful feet sweeping experience, I choose everyday to love and give. Being with him is a preference. Because we are just so cool together.
My time is not the only time. In a relationship, there are two brains, two hearts, two bodies, two personalities, two bundles of experience, two ideas, two of everything. My timing and will is not the only one that counts in this relationship. Both count, both matter, and even though for many things the timing comes easy, for some other things it is important to find a pace, to respect each other´s timing and needs, and to arrive to middle ground.
Say what you want... what you really, really want. I am not paraphrasing spice girls here. Saying what we want is the basic step to actually getting what we want. Unless you are dating or married to a telepath, your partner doesn´t have the responsibility to guess what you want.
What a blessing it is to be with someone to be yourself with. I used to want to date someone who I felt as comfortable being my weird self as I am with my best friend. It´s such a relief. It´s such a blessing. You can say weird things, say your deepest, strangest thoughts, pretend to be a goose, whatever you want and you still feel at ease. Oh, relief.
We don´t have anything for certain. It has been so important for me to constantly let go of my ideas, my thoughts, my expectations, my set in stone plans. The more I hold on to them, the more bumpy it becomes trying to match reality in a box of my will. The more I let them go, the more I discover that reality is great on its own and I am constantly surprised with different solutions. There is no "I" and "my" in a relationship. It has a life of its own and one needs to respect it and allow it.
Your relationship is not special. Hold on. It is. It is precious. But sometimes we tend to think that the things we live, or the challenges we encounter are unique. They are not. Most couples live it. If you are lucky enough to have good friends, good couples around you. Use them. Ask for help. You might notice, a lot of things are not as big as they seem in your tiny little world.
Be grateful. Everyday. My partner has taught me to be grateful for the most simple things. He is grateful if I make the bed, he is grateful if I kiss him, he is grateful for every single meal I cook. He says thank you, from the heart, like 400 times a day. And what has he gotten in return? Daily gratefulness, it´s so special.
Real trumps ideal. If you know me from long time ago, you should know I used to live in fantasy land. Always comparing what was in front of me with what was in my head. Always saying: yes, this food is great...if only it had just a tiny bit of that. Always searching for a life in my head. Now I am happy to report that real trumps idea. Real is so much better. Why? Because real is real. It´s in front of you. It´s happening and if you have one eye on ideal, you will miss how perfect real is. And most often than not, real exceeds ideal. If you are attentive enough.
Peace is more important than anything. That will never change. Your inner peace is more important than anything, including the relationship. One time, when I was going through a bump in this relationship, a great friend of mine told me: Make your peace in this moment more important than the future of your relationship. Magic. When you choose peace in this moment, everything else sorts itself out.
Courage is required. John Wayne wrote it perfectly: "Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." I am not one of those people that everything is easy breeze. I am intense, nervous, and feel everything right up to my bones. Sometimes I hate it. 34 years later, I can´t change it. But courage IS required. Saddling up is required.
As for the chicken soup? Well, I think it´s such a great analogy. One plans for tuna, takes actions for tuna, and somehow, in the middle of the road, the perfect solution for a tummy ache appeared, with the ingredients right in your own home: chicken freaking soup.
I am a lucky gal.
See you in year two!