I think it’s fair to say that most of us have had some rocky relationships. For me, there’s been forgettable ones, a horrific one that scarred me for life and, finally, the one I waited my whole life for.
This month, I’m lucky to be celebrating eight years of marriage. Eight years with a man who I love more today than I did when we first met. But, I spent many long years alone or in relationships that weren’t great, wondering if I’d ever find the so-called one. What I did know is that after a few shitty relationships and one absolutely horror relationship, is that I wouldn’t settle than less than I deserved. And, at 40-plus I knew I needed to be true and kind to myself whether it was finding the right person or accepting fate and becoming a crazy cat-lady.
There’s more to life than meeting Mr. Right.
There was a point in my life when I really wanted to find Mr. Right. I was frustrated and sad that I had so much to give but couldn’t find the person to share my heart with. Then, I accepted perhaps this wasn’t to be what life had in store for me. I stopped focusing on the absence of a partner in my life and refocused on all the good things in my life. I realised I was happy.
Then, it happened. I’d just had a hugely demanding couple of weeks at work with lots of events. A friend asked me to support her event and I won’t deny that it was a little begrudgingly, I said yes. But we support our friends, right? As it turned out, this turned out to be the best decision of my life because it was the night I met Jamie.
Jamie likes to say that I paid to meet him. This is true. He was the guest speaker at my friend’s event and friends support friends by paying for the goods and services their business offers. So, yes Jamie – it is true I paid to meet you.
Jamie was an excellent speaker that night. I was genuinely interested in his topic and the way he presented it. But there was something just a little bit more. It seemed we both felt that way, as 127 days after meeting we eloped. Though, this is not a story about our elopement. Perhaps, I’ll share that another time. This is a story about staying true to who you are.
What is love? Part 1.
I’m not going to go all Carrie Bradshaw on this topic. I don’t really know what love means to others. What I do know now, is what love means to me.
It starts with self love. Understanding who you are as a person.
Life throws a whole bunch of stuff of us. A lot of this stuff is complicated and difficult to process. It’s emotional and leaves us with battle scars. It fatigues us and makes some days difficult. There’s joyous moments which make your heart sing and go to the core of who you are. Self love, for me, has been about understanding on a very deep level what is important to me.
Embrace what makes you, you.
I’ve always known I’m a bit quirky. Some might say a black sheep. As I’ve aged, I’ve understood things I’ve loved from an early age (like animals) and what makes me tick – like questioning the status quo, being strong-willed but also kind of heart are all things who have shaped who I am. Embracing these traits and accepting they are central to who I am has made me a much happier and balanced person.
It ain’t all champagne and roses.
Finding love doesn’t mean life is no longer difficult. In fact, I’d have to say seven of the past eight years have been extremely difficult.
I gave up a corporate job to work with Jamie. To build a business together.
We’ve sold homes and tried to figure out where we want to live, what sort of home we want and what that home might look like.
We’ve not agreed on artwork, furniture, what to do on weekends, who’s turn it is to get up an open the back door for Tidda for the 18th time that night.
In the early years we could’ve had some ripper arguments. But in eight years we’ve probably only had three or four nasty disagreements. We learned very early on to laugh – at ourselves and each other. We’ve figured out all the really important stuff in our relationship because we worked at it from the beginning.
What is love? Part 2.
Love is in the everyday. It’s not the grand gestures. It’s substance and grit.
For me, that’s the man who after driving for fourteen hours sat at the vet all night when our cat needed emergency surgery. Who said we’re not putting our kitty down and will do whatever it takes to get her better. Then lovingly helped with her rehabilitation for almost five months. And, many years later said no for a second time to the ‘easy’ option when our dog became paralysed.
It’s the man who drives me to the middle of no-where to be with animals. Who hugs me when I’m overwhelmed with the cruelty I see on a daily basis.
The man who stacks tons of firewood as he knows I have a somewhat unnatural obsession with our fireplace.
He’s the man who is a mighty fine tennis player. The one who goes above and beyond for his clients and though they might not realise it, feels their hurt, frustration and pain at times.
It’s the guy who tells me when I’m being a dick about something. The guy who makes me snort laugh, doesn’t care if I wear make-up and +/- kilos, whether my hair is brown, blue or blonde.
It’s the man who I want to be with every day and if we’re apart for more than a few hours, I start to miss. Because for all the things he does for me, I do for him. Because that, for me, is what love is.
We’ve had some hard times, this guy and I. But we’ve also built a mighty fine life for ourselves.
Sail that ship!
When someone said to Jamie eight years ago my ship had sailed, they were right. What they didn’t understand is that I wasn’t waiting for a partner to define me, it’s just that I had decided to Captain my own ship. I’m just so very lucky I found the perfect Co-Captain.