Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate Christmas! I don’t, I celebrate the Jewish Christmas – a movie and Thai food. True Grit was very good – I liked it.
Remember the other day I talked about my good friend who moved to the golf/tennis resort and was telling me about how great her life is – Tupperware, pot luck dinners, tennis, etc. I had sent her an email asking her three questions:
1. Are your friends nice? As in real, authentic, honest, trustworthy, can you open up to them, be yourself, share things?
2. Do you spend a lot of time with your husband?
3. What is the best thing about your relationship with your husband?
She very kindly answered these questions in great detail. And recommended that I read Eckhart Tolle’s books because they changed her life.
1). Are my friends trustworthy: some are and some are not. Therefore I trust my trustworthy friends (and yes, open up, share and be myself) and don’t expect trustworthiness from the ones who aren’t or who are not as close, for whatever reasons. They are still my friends however, just different. I don’t reveal too much. And friendships evolve.
2). Do I spend a lot of time with my husband. Yes and no. We spend most evenings together but hardly at all during the day. I go about my day and interests and he goes about his. I do a lot of things with girlfriends (or even guy friends) separate from him. In the evenings we have dinner and watch TV. Sometimes we don’t talk much (sometimes nothing meaningful, just functional stuff, for days) but that’s OK. Sometimes we do. And I always simply like being in his presence.
3). Best thing about my relationship with my husband: We have an easy acceptance (even joy) of each other’s different personalities and respect for our differences.
She then went on to say that he sometimes drives her crazy, and gave some examples. Then she asked me to answer the same questions. And I responded with all of my crap:
I have not read Tolle’s books, not a fan of his, but I have been reading about mindfulness, and I think it can be a good concept. I used to worry a lot about the future, I didn’t dwell much on the past. But there was always “what if”, and I don’t do that anymore. I can’t see a future so I don’t think about one.
I have been isolating myself from my friends for the past year or so. I still see them on occasion, and there is one friend who I see more often than the others. I started feeling like I couldn’t be myself with them, they didn’t understand me, and they were openly sarcastic and sometimes rude to me. I was enjoying my volunteer work, but recently resigned both of my positions – one was being a court appointed advocate for a foster child, and the other was working on the county crisis hotline and suicide hotline. Now I am working about 35 hours a week and have no time for volunteering.
Which is good financially, because husband seems to have a problem with compulsive gambling, and I don’t know what is going on with our finances, and he won’t tell me the truth. Our relationship is basically none, we have nothing in common now that our kids are grown, we don’t like the same things, and the things I was willing to put up with years ago I don’t feel like putting up with now. It doesn’t look like we can afford to get a divorce, because we can’t afford two residences, so I am trying to stash money so that maybe I can leave, or at least be prepared if more financial hardship hits.
I work mostly alone, so therefore spend most of my time alone. All my life I had something to look forward to if I was in a life stage that wasn’t so great. For the past 20 years my life basically revolved around raising my kids, and husband didn’t participate much in that at all, so it was mostly just me. Now they are grown, so I have to rethink things. I can’t see anything to look forward to, not just in the future, but even when I wake up in the morning and think about the day.
I took a writing class and really enjoyed it, although I had to drop out for a couple of weeks because it was too emotional. But someone in the class that I connected with convinced me to come back and I’m glad I did. It was only six weeks though, although now we meet once a month for a writing class reunion. I might sign up for another class.
Husband and I don’t spend any time together, and don’t say much to each other. He is downstairs all night watching tv and playing online poker, and I am upstairs in my office writing, or talking to my online friends, and trying not to drink too much.
I’ve been thinking about what I want from relationships, what exactly is a “connection”, what do I want from my relationship with husband, how can I find people who share my passions and don’t consider them “Harriet things” (as one friend called it), should I work on deepening my friendships with long term friends, or work on developing friendships with new people, like the ones I met when I went to Mississippi in April to work with Habitat for Humanity, or the people that I met in the writing class. On the one hand it is safe to be in my little cocoon, all by myself, no one can hurt me, but on the other hand I think one of the most important things in life is connecting with people, and I’m not doing that much at all lately.
So there you go. Aren’t you glad you asked?
And she responded with a very nice email telling me that she loves me and she wishes we lived closer (we haven’t lived near each other since 1985) and that people should have the courage to break free, but she knows it is hard, and I should take it one step at a time while I figure out why I think all of my avenues are closed, and that mindfulness is a huge part of finding oneself and realizing that it’s not other people, but ourselves where we find our happiness.
She again recommended Tolle’s books, that seeing and knowing and feeling and being the truth is the only way to true peace and happiness. Then she said, “I know you will figure out what the right thing is for you, and learn to not be defensive but loving/forgiving/wise/knowing instead.” Ouch, that kind of hurt. To think that I am not loving/forgiving/wise/knowing. OK, maybe I am not wise and knowing, but I am loving and I am forgiving. Or at least overlooking. Aren’t I?
She said she wanted to call me, but I told her I would get too emotional and with my husband taking the week off of work, and both kids home, I don’t think it would be a good time.
I am glad I opened up to a friend about all of this, even though it was through email. I don’t know what I expected exactly, or how she can help me. But I did it at least. I don’t plan to read any Eckhart Tolle though.