Friday, June 20, 2008

Living in the NOW

First of all, I've got big news. HUGE NEWS!!!

I finally got internet, cable and DVR at my apartment!!! I know, I know. Like the ATT guy told me at the store - shouldn't I be part of the generation that is always connected and really into technology? Well, I probably should be but I could never really get into it - getting it set up just seemed like a lot of confusing work for me. But, in the effort of becoming a real grown up, I bit the bullet and signed my life away to the internet company. I now have a laptop (earned through work, but a computer nonetheless) and wireless internet! I must admit, after it all got set up and my computer was sitting on my desk quietly humming away, I had visions of Carrie Bradshaw-esqe writing. You know, sitting at my desk in a quiet and serene apartment, looking out the window at the busy New York (okay maybe not that part) landscape contemplating life, love and relationships.

As those of you who know me, the last few weeks of teaching this year were rather rough. Just the stress of making kids study for exams who REALLY would rather not be studying combined with the monotony of actually monitoring kids studying and taking exams was exhausting enough. Factor that in with a boyfriend (yes - a real boyfriend for more than three months, more on that later) who in addition to his teaching position also has a hectic and demanding outside was just plain rough. But summer vacation has come and settled in. I have made a resolution each day to leave my apartment for some substantial amount of time. Whether it's going down to the pool to get some sun or running errands, I must leave my apartment so that I don't turn into a complete mushpot. It has worked out pretty well for me so far. My apartment is staying clean and the laundry is getting done. And I'm going to Florida next week for a little relaxation. Everything is pretty good.

Okay. This guy. We've been together since late February, and by my calculations that's almost four months. It feels like a lot longer, but not in the bad way. We've been very good friends for over a year and for a lot of it there were these strange back and forth flirtations and feelings...very much a yo yo. I knew I loved him as a friend, but could I love him in a romantical sense of the word? Could we actually form a functioning adult relationship without ruining our well built friendship?

I hemmed and hawed. I put off his advances and his confrontations about how he knew that we could be good together - why wouldn't I just give him a chance? For some reason, I still had those hesitations - I was stuck back in the college mindset. What would people think? He's ten years older than me and has a Rebel Without A Cause attitude when it comes to what other people think of him. He can be rough around the edges if you don't know him. He lives in Adidas t-shirts and gym shorts. But I knew there was something about him. The way he could make me laugh and that slighty cocky sparkle in his eyes when he worked a giggle out of me (most of the time, against my better judgment). The way he would cut through the crap that sometimes spews out of my mouth and force me to see the clear picture. Ordinarily, I would balk at someone calling me out like he can...but from him, I somehow appreciate it and rise to the challenge of being completely honest and true to myself and with myself. The way he is passionate about his work, his friends and his family. It was all there for me to take---I just had to get over my own insecurities.

So I worked on it. I saw myself separate from that girl I was in college. I realized that I shouldn't care about what those "Mean Girls" thought of me or my life, because I didn't want any part of their lifestyle either. I wanted realness. I wanted to be the type of woman Oprah preaches about. So I quit worrying about living my life to make everyone else happy and started doing things that made me happy. I gave up drinking for awhile and I hung out with him. As my best friend. Went to sporting events, saw movies...just hung out. And yet, I couldn't break that friendship barrier. Instead of worrying about what other people thought, I began wondering - would I be ruining another friendship with trying to make it fit into a relationship? I tried that with Justin and it took over a year to rekindle a basic friendship with him....

On February 20th, I was still contemplating these thoughts and flitting around in my brain were all the possible outcomes of a full blown relationship with this guy. And then I fell. And sprained my ankle. Like my knight in shining white Nike's, he took care of me, despite my pleas of "I can take care of myself." Have you ever tried to get up three flights of stairs on crutches? Yeah...I needed help. And without ever asking for anything in return, he jumped in head first to take care of me. Fixing my couch pillows, bringing me dinner and making sure I made it into bed okay. It was those moments that I knew. He truly loved me and cared about my overall sense of well being. Plus...he thinks I'm pretty funny (but he won't admit it). I guess the rest is history.

Yeah, the past four months haven't all been roses and sunshine...we're both pretty stubborn and hard headed. But I want him in my life because he makes me laugh. Not that girly little giggle, but the head back, mouth open, full on belly roar. He makes me want to be the best ME I can be. So, I'm learning to compromise. I'm learning to understand him, despite his lack of using words. I'm learning to stand up for what I want and need in a relationship without being...well...demanding and needy. I'm learning to relax and just enjoy sitting next to him on the couch watching tv. Not thinking about the future and not worrying about the past - but just enjoying being with him in the present.

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