And it feels...totally normal.
Right now I don't feel all riled up and ready to go out looking for a man. It isn't time to start "(rude verb)-ing my way across Canada", as one friend referred to the impending end of my sabbatical. I don't want to start emailing random guys to see if they want to go for coffee, or suddenly re-open my Plenty of Fish profile for speculative viewing of potential mates. I'm not even interested in seeing whether my text message inbox "starts to explode", as suggested by another friend. As trite as it may sound, and as much of an anticlimax it may be, I just am grateful for the lessons that I've learned in this year. The whole idea behind the dating hiatus was that I had spent too many years looking to be completed in the wrong way: I was searching for that "missing piece" in my life by trying to find a man who would fulfill the emptiness that was left and would make me feel right and whole. I needed to learn to be happy with myself and to be able to realize that if I didn't end up with someone special, I would still be completely happy and whole on my own. I think I've accomplished that task.
Of course, I still have a longing deep down for a partner in life. There are times when I listen to my clients talk about their deceased husbands with such fondness and gratitude for all the years they spent together, and I still feel that same pang of envy that they were able to have that and I won't. I mean, even if I got married tomorrow, it's unlikely that I will live long enough to be married for fifty or sixty years (well, maybe fifty - but would he survive being with me for that long?? Ha!). The difference is that before, I would listen to them talk about their marriages and feel self-pity, or loneliness, or desperation...or even jealousy. Now, instead of thinking "This lucky woman had someone love her for all those years, and I never will", I find myself thinking how very blessed they were to have had each other, and instead of regretting the fact that I don't now have it, I`m looking forward with hope to the time that I will. I believe that God does have someone in mind for me, and for the first time in my life, I am actually falling back on that in faith, and believing that it will happen when it is supposed to happen. However many years we do end up having together, I am sure we will make them happy ones. In the meantime, I will wait.
It's so incredible to me when I look back at all of the things I have talked about during the course of this blog. I've reflected on past relationships and told stories of these men who helped shape my romantic history, as well as taken the time to really think through why those relationships didn't work out, and hopefully used those experiences as lessons on how to learn to choose better the next time. I've talked about priorities; goals; mistakes; the benefits of being single; the difficulties of sticking to decisions; and the importance of loving yourself just the way you are. I've explored the characteristics of Women Who Love Too Much and recognized many of those tendencies in myself. I've faced the holidays - one birthday, one Christmas, and one Valentine's Day - alone, but with a very different viewpoint from the ones I've endured in the past. I've found ways to celebrate the joys of friendship and tried a few different ways to lift up people in my life who are important to me. I've fallen down; I've kicked myself; but I have gotten back up wiser...and the bruises faded quickly. And quite aside from what I've written about is what I've accomplished - I started the nursing program after years of working toward it. I have traveled on my own. I kicked the habit of an old flame, and I learned to recognize rather quickly (hey, it`s all relative) when someone who was interested in me was absolutely not right for me. And it would appear that I've been able to let go of worry, stress, and panic, and trust my life - and even my relationships - to my God.
So. The big question now, from many of you and from my close family and friends, is: What now?
|So many directions, so many possibilities...|
Am I going to stop writing? No. The blog will obviously have to change, as I'm no longer focusing on a break from dating, but I am sure its effects will continue on as I move into a different stage in my life. I may not write all the time, but I have come to really enjoy keeping a blog. And I know you will want to know when developments happen!
Am I dating this man I mentioned in my past post? No, we are not dating at this point. He is a consistent presence in my life and I love the time we spend together, but we're not at that stage. However, I know that I am now patient enough to wait and see what happens between us. I thought I was ready when we first were seeing each other, but looking back, I'm glad I've had that time to grow. If it takes another two, or five, or ten years (and I'm not above saying Please God, don't let it be ten years!!!), I know that time will be well spent and I will be even better prepared for a life together. I'm excited to see where the road takes us. In the meantime, our friendship is comfortable, full of both laughs and serious discussions, and is forming a great basis for wherever our relationship eventually goes.
Will I accept a date if someone asks me? That's actually a tricky one. On the one hand, I feel like I shouldn't because I do believe that I have already met the right man for me. On the other hand, we are not together, so would a date or two be so bad? I guess it wouldn't, but really, what would be the point? The realization that I am having now, as I write this, is that I just am not interested in accepting a date with anyone else. My focus isn't on "dating" as a concept, because "dating" implies searching around for the person who you will end up with in life. Dating seems pointless when you've already met that person. I have other things to spend my time on. My life is filled with good friends, school, children, work, and plans for future travel and mission work. I know now that I want to learn Spanish - I know I had mentioned it before as one of the things I want to do, but now that I've been to Mexico again and have had the opportunity to be in relationship with native Spanish speakers, I feel a real need to be able to communicate properly with them the next time I go down. So really, even if I wanted to date, I wouldn't have time! The only real difference between being on my dating hiatus and having completed it is that now, when this man is ready for me, I'll be able to say yes without hesitation.
And so concludes this year of abstinence and reflection. Despite the setbacks and the moments of panic, I do believe I have indeed accomplished my goals, including ones that I didn't even realize that I had. Life now moves on, and I follow my path with anticipation and confidence. Thanks for having come on this journey with me; it has been great to have your support and encouragement along the way. I look forward to sharing with you the changes that will happen in the future.
Cut; scene; print it...That's a wrap.