Sunday, January 30, 2011

Re-Learning Curve

Since RJ got back into town, it has been great to spend some quality time with him. And I am going to stress the quality part, over quantity. I think that is important and goes along with the need for healthy space to cultivate a relationship. It might seem like common sense, but this is part of a re-learning curve for me.

I feel there are some unhealthy habits I am learning to undo from my past relationship with my ex. It is something I am becoming aware of because now I am in a more serious relationship. I am not sure how well I would be able to feel them or notice them without being in a relationship. Yep, I've got baggage (not like I didn't know that), and it is my task to sort it out. This relearning how to be in relationship is a healthy thing.

For example, one reason why I think my struggle with quality over quantity in a relationship is based in part on how time was so restricted and planned with my ex. Residency is brutal on a relationship. I found myself planning my life around his demanding work schedule so I could maximize my time with him, especially given how little time there was. It could be difficult not to do that when I knew that one dinner might be my last with him before heading into a month long stretch when I would not see him because of his schedule. For more than half of our marriage, there would be three months each year that I would literally not see him, barely a phone call. Then after one of those months of not seeing my ex, we found ourselves trying to overcompensate to reconnect. It was just so intense. There were times when I did not give into that pattern and chose to continue living my life, which would sometimes lead to conflict.

Then once the pattern was set into motion, it was difficult to break after residency. He just came to expect it. And the more I gave, the more he demanded. I was loosing myself and didn't see it. Then the infertility hit and everything began to become unglued and messy at warp speed. It all went so badly so fast. I was confused, depressed and hurt.

There were other unhealthy factors that contributed to the mess with my ex. But I don't feel like getting into that right now. What is important is to realize that my life does not have to be and should not be like that with RJ. Sometimes I think, "Oh, that is okay? This what it can be like?" My relationship with RJ is different and that is a very good thing.

We haven't "talked" directly about the stuff we talked about before his trip, but I don't feel that is needed right now. I did get to express how I don't want him to feel like I am relying on him and that I am my own individual person. So for now, live it one day at a time and see where it goes!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Crossroads and Poor Timing (Maybe) to get into all of this without getting too long? I've already written an unpublished post and talked ad nauseum with several friends about it--as per, I am a girl. I think I have a pretty good feel for the situation, but this post is about how to cope (See paragraph 5 and onward.).

So in short, a few weeks ago RJ called our relationship into question. He realizes that we are now in a serious relationship and feels a lot of pressure. He doesn't want to hurt me if we were to break up and feels the longer we are together, the more difficult that possible break up would be. When I asked him where he thought this was coming from, he told me about something he said a few weeks ago. He told a friend that he thinks he could see himself marrying me because he didn't think he could break up with me.

My reaction and response over a few conversations--I don't need another relationship where a guy stays with me just because he doesn't want to break up with me. I want RJ to be with me because he wants to be with me. I also shared that I see possibilities of marriage with him, but that there are a lot of little steps in between before getting to a place to decide that. I wouldn't be dating him this long if that wasn't a possibility. And I said that right now, I enjoy dating him. He said that he likes dating me, too. I finished by saying that right now, I am focused on finishing my master's degree.

So, I've given RJ some space and he was out of town last weekend. I am unsure about if this is a finished conversation and if we are on the same page or if he needs more time to sort out his thoughts and feelings. That is where I think time will tell and I will just have to see how things unfold.

But the hard part is that RJ is out of town, again! I am having a difficult time dealing with this because he is gone for a week. Even if our relationship was not so up in the air, I know it would be difficult for me (and I am trying really hard to be positive and supportive). Can you say, separation anxiety? And I feel like a looney toon for feeling that way. Part of it is from my past messy relationship. Part of it is because he is my first meaningful relationship in dating again. Part of it is because I wish he could have left on better grounding in our relationship. And part of it is because I just plain miss him.

This is not the first time that RJ has been out of town, as he has had several weekend trips during the course of our dating. What makes this more challenging is that he is out of the country and does not have cell phone access--no texting, no voicemail. I did not know this (and I am not entirely sure if he understood the ramifications of it all). RJ does have his laptop and called me with Skype. The tough part about this is that he can only call me. Sucks for him because if I don't pick up, I totally miss him and can't return his call. Sucks for me because I can't initiate a "just letting you know I'm thinking about you" message.

So, I sent him a cheesy email. I'm not even sure if he is checking his email. And sure I want to give him his space, but a gal wants to let her man know that she is missing him and send him wishes of having fun.

Although, as I am typing this I am realizing that I have no idea where he is staying. What does that mean?! (And cue: a billion other questions that flood my mind. But we'll keep that crazy to ourselves.)


(Okay, breathe. Don't get ahead of yourself. Let go of any expectations or worries.)

I know RJ could really use a break from work and a trip to some place sunny will do him some good. And this gives our relationship some more space, which might be what it needs.

But regardless, Wednesday cannot come fast enough... :(

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On the Eve of My First Interview

Tomorrow is my first interview for my summer internship for my master's program. It will be a phone interview, hopefully followed with one that will be in person in a few weeks. I have a phone interview with another hospital on Thursday (for an awesome location--the pipe dream was actually the first to call me to set up an interview). I hope I do well with my interviews and that more are to follow. By the end of February, I should know where I will be for the summer. I am not sure where that will be, as I have yet to get through a round of interviews and then hope for some offers.

But still, it has me thinking. There are times when I get excited about the possibility of doing my internship in a new city. And then there are times that I hope to get an offer from a sensible and strong program that will best align me for a great job when I am done with my studies. And where will that job be? I don't know. That feels like a long ways off, but I am not ready to make a decision just yet. And right now, I don't. A lot can happen between now and when I plan to graduate in December.

I am trying very hard not to get ahead of myself and to stay focused on living in the present. I have to pay attention to the now, remember to breathe and go with the flow. And when I talk about going with the flow, I don't mean that mindless, waiting for life to happen. I'm talking about not fighting what is not in my control right now and seeing how life unfolds before I need to take action. I do believe that things happen for a reason, but I also feel that we have some influence on the direction our lives take. It is a matter of knowing the timing--when to push and when to pull back.

And trust me, RJ is in the mix of my thoughts. I get lost in the daydreams of all of the possibilities. Do I pursue satisfaction and purpose in my career or follow the lure of love and relationship? I could end up with both. A lot can happen and time will tell.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Little Thoughts

I know that I was feeling a little sorry for myself over the weekend of Christmas. But I think I just needed to get it out of my system. I have felt the shift of my focus returning to the present and that is on school and ultimately my career. The important part is realizing my feelings and accepting them so that I can get back to the business of life--and enjoying it!

I had fun exploring the exercise facilities on campus with my friend, Karina. We also had a really nice dinner and lots of girl-talk. It helped me to feel energized. And that is exactly what I needed, a reminder of the confidence in myself that I have been building. And I need to remind myself to be appreciative of what I do have in my life right now.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Can't Help It!

RJ suggested we have a staring contest last night. It was a brief, but silly episode and it had us in a fit of laughter. It felt so good to laugh so hard. I loved every moment of it. And I hope there are more spontaneous, off the wall moments just like that. :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reflections on the Last of 2010 & Gearing Up for 2011

I kind of laugh to myself when I see that the last time that I posted was the first day of December. December was a busy month for me. And while it seemed like a long month, the time also feels like it just somehow slipped away.

My main focus has been finishing up the fall semester. Going to grad school full-time certainly keeps me busy! I had a bunch of papers and projects due at the end while also juggling a trip to Mexico with some friends. The trip was a bit of impulse, but I am glad that I was able to grab a bit of sunshine and to get away from the coldest days yet this winter with temperatures in the negatives. It was really nice to spend some time with my friends and just be silly. We went snorkeling, made friendship bracelets and sat around in a lukewarm tub talking and giggling.

Christmas was okay. That really does sum it up. In one of my classes, the discussion of death came up. It was said that sometimes the second year can be the hardest for families. And I think that can be related to divorce, as it is often compared to a death. For me, I wouldn't necessarily say that this Christmas was worse because it wasn't, but it was still tough. Last year was just so painful and miserable, but there was a certain amount of numbness to it. This year was hard because I think I am just more aware. It wasn't a soulful pain, but more of a lingering disappointment and frustrated kind of pain. It was more of that feeling of failure--the failure of my marriage and where I had hoped I would be in my life right now. And there is no escaping it, just waiting for more time to pass to make it less difficult. And while I know that my life is in a better place right now than it has been in a long time, I can't help but feel like a failure as a person sometimes.

As I stood in the gift shop on my trip in Mexico, I happened to see some Christmas ornaments. I used to find so much joy in searching and picking out an ornament from my travels. But all I felt was sadness. It reminded me of all the places I went with my ex and feeling like so much has been tainted. I didn't put up a tree this year. Part of me feels like blindly donating all of my Christmas stuff and just starting over. But then part of me thinks that maybe I would want to hold onto a few things--a few things that hold good memories for me that are not so connected to my ex. What I will probably do is go through the boxes and pare it down. And I think it was good that I did not try to do it during Christmastime.

I did send a short list of Christmas cards this year (on the 23rd). Baby steps, right?

Spending time with family was bittersweet. Christmas Day is usually spent with my dad's side of the family, but that fell apart this year over some family politics. It is sad to see the distance in my dad's side of the family. While there are close relationships among the family, there really isn't a solid cohesion with the family as a whole. It is a big family with a lot of history and sometimes I wish people could set aside differences and just be.

Christmas Eve is spent with my mom's side of the family. I love my cousins and watching the pride they have in being parents is something special. K and O were a delight to watch as they opened their presents. My brother's girlfriend said it best, watching as O was eating her candy cane, "I think that was just the most delicious bite of candy cane that I have ever seen!" And I got to hold two babies--so tiny and cute. The part that was surprisingly difficult was watching as my dad scooped up Little J who is one month old and my mom cooing over Baby K who is such a happy sweetheart. While I am thankful that my parents get to have a kind of grandparent experience, I am sad that I could not be the one to give that to them. And then I feel selfishly self-centered for even thinking it.

I was heartbroken and sad when I was going through IF, but now I have feelings of frustration in starting over and kind of feeling like certain parts of my life are on hold. It was the first time that I felt like the biological clock was ticking--which I have been trying very much to quell. I don't want to spend my time wishing for babies or to just end of up with some guy just to be married. I don't want to take for granted the wonderful opportunities and people in my life right now.

For example, I don't just want to rush through my grad school experience just to get it done. I need to remember to take it in and to make the most of it while I am in it. There is no sense in wishing away time, even if I really would like to be more settled in my life and have a professional job.

And I want to enjoy my relationship with RJ and to be present with him, not trying to force it to be something it is not. Things have been very good for us. I loved the Christmas presents he got for me--a card with a wonderful note and drawing supplies. About a month ago, I showed RJ some of my drawings from the classes I took in Atlanta. He showed a real interest and appreciation for my drawings. So, his gift felt really special. We also had a fun New Years Eve having dinner in with some of my friends. And I really like that RJ spends time with me and my friends and that I get to spend time with him and some of his friends. There is a balance there that I can really appreciate.

2010 was a good year and I hope that 2011 is even better! Wow, how so much can change in just a year. My life is in a place I would not have imagined at this time last year. I really didn't know what to think as everything just seemed so new again. Usually when I figure out that things are going well, that is the time that I start to over analyze and worry. No, not this time. So, I think my mantra for the beginning part of the year will be: Relax and breathe. Go with the flow and what will be, will be. Trust you will know what you need to do, when you know it.

Now I need to get cracking on the last bit of work with my summer internship applications. Those are due January 5th (i.e. back into the hole from which I came). Wish me luck and I hope I get some good interviews with some good results!!!

Wishing everyone a wonderful 2011 and may it bring you wonder and delight!