At the end/beginning of every year I spend some time musing through the journals that I have kept the previous 365 days. My scroll down memory lane inevitably leads me to prior journals to compare and contrast the experiences and emotions that have engulfed me in earlier times. What has struck me over the years is that my resolutions and goals, my patterns and habits are remarkably consistent. Regardless of the cast of characters or the plot twists that ensued, the things that I did – the way I responded to different scenarios was for the most part the same, day after day, year after year.
I suppose there is something to be said for consistency, but at some point you have to take a good long look at yourself and decide if what you’ve got is really what you want.
I was fortunate in the fourth quarter of this year to meet someone who has become a significant person in my life. During dinner one evening we had a very forthright conversation about what was important to us from a relationship standpoint. At one point, as the discussion was getting more intense and bordering on the downright emotionally uncomfortable, I could feel myself retreating to that familiar country of silence and complicity. I was afraid to say what I really thought because it could cost me the relationship, but something in me clicked and I realized that as important as this person was to me, the value of our connection truly lay in the ability to be not only honest with him, but with myself as well. So I tried something new – and I confess – very uncharacteristic and bold for me…I said what I really thought. I took a risk that what I said – my truth – could in fact drive him away. And guess what. It didn’t. If anything it drew us closer together and has served as a foundation on which to build a more meaningful connection.
I thought about this particular evening as I was compiling a list of resolutions for the new year. I further realized that if I was going to continue to interact with my Ex as I had for the past 20+ years that our relationship would always have the same dynamic. And that dynamic obviously wasn’t working for us or presumably we’d still be married. It had been troubling me that the way we communicated when we were married was the same way we were communicating now that we are divorced, and frankly, the whole situation really wasn’t doing either of us any favors.
Therefore, I resolved that this year I will take the same tack that I did that night in the restaurant that (may have) changed my life; I will be honest and forthright in the expression of my beliefs and sympathies. If something pisses me off, I’m going to make it known, not stuff it back into the cushion of latent hostility. If something is wrong or broken I’m going to bring attention to the fact that it needs to be fixed, not simmer with indolent anger that I am the only one who seems to notice that it is out of whack. I’m not going to let the patterns of the past map out the path of the future, and more importantly, I’m going to let go of all the negative baggage from previous relationships and stop letting my exes define even a part of who I am or who I choose to be going forward.
If I can manifest the courage to be the person I am with the person I am with, then surely I can take that same courage and redefine the parameters of relationships of the past that still are a part of my present. That seems like a pretty solid and attainable resolution.
Oh, and I’m going to floss every night and give up caffeine….