I think in many ways I’m truly naive. Sometimes I do things in my interactions with others that I’m clearly not intending any offense or hurt towards them, and I don’t foresee that my actions will produce certain reactions from other. I know many people, have close relationships with a few, and friendships with less than many and more than a few. One of the important components to any relationship, but certainly in a close relationship and friendship, is “putting yourself out there”. There’s a catch to this, however. It’s called vulnerability. How do you get around the vulnerability that comes with extending yourself to someone? I don’t believe you can circumvent it. I think vulnerability comes with the package. In order to receive the good things a relationship offers you, you have to be able to deal with the “bad” that comes with it. I often find myself caught in the emotional crossfire of caring so much that I’m vulnerable and therefore very affected when something goes wrong. I’ve had this paradigm most of my life..and that is, if I keep myself vulnerable, if I keep extending what I can in a relationship, I’ll always get good things coming my way. This is not true. I’ve found many times that I’ll inadvertently do something which prompts the other person to react in a retaliatory way which will hurt me and I’m asking myself what happened, going over everything I did to try and figure out what I could have done differently..and feeling terrible that I hurt someone that I care about..and yet not knowing just exactly what to do about it. So, I often come to see that I ultimately have two choices. One, close myself off, in essence, retaliate back or…. Two, just hurt inside. Sometimes hurt and hurt..and then sort and sort as what I could possibly do to “make it better”, feel bad about myself that I did something stupid or thoughtless that hurt someone else..and struggle with the reality that I have no forum to have any resolution to the situation. I have several relationships that have been like this for me..and I’m nonplussed as what to do. The only conclusion I arrive at each time I sort through the situation in my mind is to say to myself,”I love this person. I have no right to have unreasonable expectations of this relationship. I can only remain with my heart open to them when/if they decide they want to rekindle any kind of association with me. And really, the bottom line is, I love this person.” When you love someone, you love them. It just is..good, bad, or indifferent. So, I really don’t have the ultimate answer or surety of a better outcome but just try to do the best I know. It’s a difficult situation to deal with..and today, I’m just feeling sad for the loss of friendship that I still miss and have great value for. But, after all, it’s people I’m talking about here, and there’s so much complexity and variables to deal with, it seem to me it’s a miracle that out of the billions of people alive on this planet that some actually experience strong, lasting relationships.
I’m facing my mortality more lately than I ever have. I guess it’s being 40+, having two babies in my 40’s after almost a decade of thinking I was done with that part of life, and then breaking my leg this past year along with losing two old friends from highschool days, watching one of my aunts who has been like a mother to me slowly dying of cancer, and having one of our sons here at home diagnosed with partial blindness in one eye out of the blue. It makes you stop, stand up straight, and listen a bit more to the lessons life is tryng to teach you. So, lately, I’ve had these moments of almost complete panic over the uncertainty of what the future holds for me. Panic over not knowing what health complications are going to come my way as I age. Panic over realizing, once more, that I have very little control over what life can and does throw at me.
I don’t like these moments. They’re terribly uncomfortable and disconcerting. So of course, my mind immediately begins to try to rationalize and think through the emotions. So, I’m thinking…”well, I have at least another 10 ‘good’ years left in me”. And then I think, “what?! only 10 years? That’s bullshit. I’m determined to have another 40 – 50 ‘good’ years left in me!” Hahaha. And so, moment of “disaster” adverted in the realization that even though I have very little control of what life brings, I have the ultimate control over how I respond to those circumstances. And the realization that even though I’m not invincible when it comes to aging, I can embrace the journey with dignity, humor, love for others, and the courage and will to live each day to it’s fullness.