Monday, November 1, 2010

Facing Down Fear

Forever is a scary word. Like, really scary. Lately my mind has been a whirlwind of "I have to pick up the bathmat after him forever?" "I have to worry that he thinks I'm not thin enough forever?" "I have to try, unsuccessfully, to help him sort out his stats homework forever!?"

But being with A forever does not mean feeling like I do now forever. I'm a bit depressed--we just moved to the West Coast in January and I'm struggling to find my place here. So far my life here has revolved around A more than one should, since he's my only close friend who doesn't live a transcontinental flight away. I'm working on this, but it's slow, difficult, humbling process. In the meantime, I'm lonely, lack the perspective that friends can provide about such silly things as him forgetting to do the dishes, and it all makes me edgy and emotionally fragile.

This is not forever. Living in a new place is not forever. Being completely new to my job—to my career—is not forever. Having a horrendous, California-sized commute is not forever. A's PhD program is not forever. His semester (with the impossible stats class) is even shorter.

So yes, I will probably have to pick up the bathmat after him forever--or at least 'til death, but that's really my own personal forever. And many other household annoyances, I'm sure. But I'll learn to pick my battles and to remember that I'll be doing things that bug him just as much.

And he'll probably have his too-high standards for how thin is thin enough forever, but I'll relearn to be confident in my own body, to decide for myself what is healthy and what is worth sustaining, and to ignore the nagging worries about the judgments that he now knows to keep to himself.

There will be hard conversations, and we'll get better at having them. We'll learn to live together more comfortably. We'll grow with each other and become better distinguishers of which are the Big Deal Problems and which are the small annoyances best to ignore.

And the grad school will end; the new career and city will become the familiar career and city; there will even be more new careers and cities ahead. Things will get better, and they'll get worse. And we'll face these changes together, forever.

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