I am constantly amazed at how much my life has changed over the past few years. Especially when I get together with people that were part of my life during the “crazy” years, and we can reminisce together (A.K.A. bitch about) all the insanity that we all use to deal with.
I was in a terrible relationship or “situation” for nearly seven years. I constantly look back and wonder if I was temporarily insane to have stayed in it for so long. Then I have to politely remind myself that temporary insanity can’t last for seven loooooong years. That basically throws my excuse out of the window.
Fancying myself a fairly decent judge of character, I’m left with trying to not necessarily find an “excuse” for my complacency but possibly a root cause as to how I went from a person of action to a person of inaction for several years. Was I just young and naive? Did my mother’s sudden death catapult me into some version of an early mid-life crisis? Did I feel trapped by finances? Because if that’s the case, then what is the price of our happiness?
So now I have to look at my personal values. Historically, I can definitely say that I’m a fixer. I’m a woman that has a 12 year old pair of boots and instead of buying new ones, I take them to a boot repair shop and just keep fixing them over and over. I refuse to let them go. That alone is an indication of how I rule my life and relationships. Can that be applied to ALL relationships though? Jobs? I use to think yes, but now I know better.
I think a lot of us are conditioned to believe that the grass always seems greener on the other side but never actually is. Even from childhood there is a natural tendency to want to explore the other side of things as we dig into our mom’s dinner with our fork somehow knowing that she has the more interesting, spicy food. We want to try it – even if we hate it and spit it out! We follow that format through our teen years and early adulthood. When things don’t go our way we hear the proverbial “I told you so” from family members, friends and teachers. Naturally this is part of the learning experience, and we are supposed to make mistakes. Tons of them. But at what point do we finally give up and say, “Okay. Okay. This is what it is, and I should just deal with it?” This is the moment where I think things can get sticky.
While many of us know the difference between being responsible and irresponsible, this also leaves us with a very empty gray area in between. We think it’s our lot in life to be unhappy and completely bored with our lives. It’s as if some of us believe being stuck in a crappy job and terrible relationship is actually a dysfunctional right of passage into true adulthood. After all, we know plenty of people that are miserable but claim to be happy because they “stick it out” because it’s the right thing to do, and they are celebrated for their adulty-ness.
Well I’m here to tell you that it’s most definitely dysfunctional, but it’s absolutely NOT a right of passage. It’s a rut. I was in a rut and like most other people I thought this was a normal sign of being a “responsible adult”.
After I finally left the relationship which also included me quitting my job because we worked together, my life improved significantly. I don’t mean over a period of time either. I’m talking within days. I had been living in the center of a shit storm and didn’t know it because I was too busy fixing things. This included trying to fix myself because I had been constantly brainwashed by my partner that everything was always my fault.
I went from a place of being unhappy with no hope for years, to being in the best relationship of my life with my new partner who thinks I’m perfect exactly as I am. I can’t even begin to describe the amount of joy and hope I have in my life now. I have fun where I used to have stress. I do things I never did before such as dance, sing around the house and plan fun weekend get-aways. I have the most amazing clients that respect me both personally and professionally. I also have the privilege of having the same people in my life from those years who were enduring shit storms of their very own (with the same person), and they are truly happy now because they also let go!
I am certainly not endorsing jumping from job-to-job or person-to-person. I am saying that if you’re unhappy – truly unhappy – and are holding yourself back from taking action because you are afraid that the other side isn’t going to be as great as you think it is, then ask yourself this: Can anything feel worse than the way you feel right now? Can even the slightest improvement be worth the jump? Because I can definitely say that although we’ve convinced ourselves that the grass isn’t always greener – it sometimes is – and it’s amazing over here.
As for the boots, I’m keeping them and will continue to fix them until the end of time. 😉 Certain things are worth fixing. It’s knowing the difference that matters the most.