Monday, December 17, 2012
I've lived a life surrounded by many strong women. My mother, grandmothers, sister, aunts, friends, professors--women who live full careers, pursue dreams, and maintain healthy, happy families. They smile and carry on, even as they wear themselves out meeting the demands of the nine-to-five work schedule and the 24-7 mommy schedule. And all of them have, at some point, shared advice with me. Advice on how to live for others while maintaining yourself.
But you know the sage snippet that has stayed with me the longest? Don't rely on your work, your family, or your husband to be your only source of happiness. Be your own source of happiness. Or, as my mom often puts it, "You have to be your own happy."
In these first few months of marriage, I have felt completely absorbed by this new life: moving, finding a job, decorating the condo, learning how to run a little home and manage a budget. Then, add in the rush of holidays and travel. And all these things sometimes feel in the way-- because what I really want to do every day is so simple: be with Mark. Just hang out with him, goof around, laugh, and have fun. I guess you could say we are already like a little old couple--because we already have our routine. Work, workout, supper, movie/xbox/game, bed. That's pretty much the basic order of things in the Hobbs household. Throughout that entire routine, we're pretty much side by side.
And that is something I've had to get used to. Mark and I lived hundreds of miles apart while dating. Our visits felt so rushed--Friday and Sunday being spent mostly in driving back home. I felt like I had to soak up every moment with him. Every second, because soon we would be apart again for two or three weeks at a time. Texts and phonecalls only.
But now, now that we get to be around each other constantly...it's hard to switch my brain out of that desperate he's-going-to-be-leaving-tomorrow mode. He will still be there in the morning; he will come home at night. I don't have to be completely devoted to and absorbed in every moment--dreading the approaching time when the will hop in his truck and head back north on 85. Because that moment isn't coming anymore. I can actually relax. If I want to sit on the couch and knit while he plays a videogame... I can. If I want to run get groceries while he runs on the treadmill at the gym...I can. We'll be home together that evening.
(I'm getting to my point, folks. I promise.)
I had a lesson in this shifting of mood this weekend. Mark's boss invited him to go along with him and some other employees to a scenario paintball game here in town. Mark's an avid paint-baller, even starting his own team with his cousins. So, of course, the opportunity sounded great. But here I am-- still slightly in desperate he's-going-to-be-leaving mode. At first, I felt completely opposed. No! We both work all week--I didn't want to be apart on Saturday! We could hike or something, at least. Not to mention, I was feeling blue and homesick. My puppy had just been put to sleep and, even worse, a good family friend had passed away and long distance made traveling to his funeral an impossibility. The last thing I wanted to do was sit around the condo again, all alone, all day, missing home and feeling blue. Sitting is something I do enough of. Trust me, me and this red couch have a close enough relationship--since it serves as my official desk for this CSR work-from-home business.
I'm not going to lie; I felt pretty upset and sad. But at the same time, I wanted Mark to go and have fun--knowing how much he loves the sport. I felt selfish asking him to stay home; I felt sad telling him to go ahead.
So. I bit the bullet; he went. Luckily for me, I was able to spend the day with a lady from our church. She's become a good friend here in Frederick; always quick to have us over and very easy to talk to and laugh with. We had lunch, stopped by a home decor store, found some items for her recently redecorated master bedroom, then just sat and had coffee and talked in her living room. And you know what? I had fun. I wasn't lonely or sad or blue anymore. I know part of that was due to good company-- but still. I feel even if I had stayed home and worked on my Etsy inventory or creative writing... I would have been okay.
Sure, I missed my husband all day. It felt so odd not to be right by him. But when he came home that evening, covered in paint chips and beaming-- I remembered that phrase: Be your own happy. I can't just be absorbed in Mark and our little home--putting all my store and energy in that and expecting him to carry the burden of being the only thing that makes me happy. No, that's not fair or healthy. We each need the unique things in our life that make us happy. Me--a good job, my creative projects, my writing, my painting. Him--the challenges of sports, being outdoors, working with his hands. We are two multi-faceted, unique individuals--we fulfill each other, but we are not solely absorbed in each other.
Being apart for a few hours, to do our own thing, made being together so much better. And its so great-- no more dread or fear of being separate, because in the end, supper will be on the table that night, and we'll be together.
So. That's my lesson this weekend.
Sorry for the longwinded-ness!