January has been a bit of a challenge so far. I’ve been a little down and also experienced an underlying feeling of anxiety which is not something I have ever had to really deal with before. To be honest, when people talk about being depressed or being anxious, although I am empathetic, it is not something I have ever been able to relate to. I have always thought that Dave and I were lucky in that our natural threshold for happiness is pretty high. So no matter how crappy things got, we couldn’t stay in that place for too long before we rebounded back to our natural places. It hasn’t been a paralyzing depression or a permeating anxiety more like a nagging feeling that won’t completely go away. Perhaps it is post-holiday let down or the cold, grey weather which is in stark contrast to being in Orlando over Christmas. It is not really the emotions themselves but more the duration of their presence.
We are hunkering down getting ready for a “historic” blizzard. I am definitely wishing that Dave was here. He could make anything fun and funny, even three feet of snow. The kids and I have provisioned and done all the recommended preparations so now we are just waiting. Too much time for me generally means that I get lost in my head and contemplate and likely over think ideas or situations. Lately I have been thinking a lot about marriage and relationships and what I learned throughout this process.
I have said it before but one of the most important lessons I have learned is that people are doing the best that they can. That doesn’t mean that we don’t wish they could do something better or differently, but we cannot change what others do, we can only change how we respond or interact with them. Dave used to say that I held on to past wrongdoings. I never saw myself that way, but there must have been some things that I did that caused him to believe that. I am a big dumper of information – “I am so annoyed that so-and-so did such-and-such.” I hope that by venting I am able to let go of most things. It isn’t a perfect science though and there are definitely still some areas for growth.
I have learned that it is better to be kind than to be right. When I think back to challenging times in my marriage, I wonder how much faster we might have moved through them if I had had this insight. When both people are fighting for their point of view or decision, it is easy to stop hearing what the other person is saying. My sister-in-law used to jokingly call me “Wife Yes” because often times when Dave had something he really wanted, I would just go along with it. Honestly, I wish I had always said yes. Many of the times when I put my foot down or dug in my heels over an issue, I realize weren’t worth the heartache. That is not to say that I think my opinions or ideas aren’t valuable. It is more that I believe you have your best chance at being heard if you listen first.
I have learned to be more generous. Generous with actions. Generous with words and kindnesses. If I was angry at Dave, I wouldn’t be quick to tell him that I loved him or that I appreciated him. I regret every single time that happened. He knew, of course, but who doesn’t want to hear that they are loved as often as possible. I am learning that every word that comes out of your mouth, or that is stifled within, matters.
Lately, it seems that more people have started to ask me about dating and encouraging me to consider it. I definitely don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone, but I don’t think that I am quite ready yet. If I had a wish list though “must be able to laugh together” would definitely be at the top.