The one thing with too much free time is that it is also too much time to think. Thinking can obviously be a good thing. But too much brooding over things you can never ever change is not. Yet you do it.
So after that first lovely June week when I had some meetings, odd assignments and overall just relished not having to do the 9-5 thing again in an foreseeable future I have been doing a lot of thinking. I guess it hasn't been all brooding, there have been good thoughts and insights too, but still. Striped.
I've also realised that what I'm doing and have to do right now is redefine myself as a solo-traveler in life.
Because, those almost 27 years as a part of a duo in so many aspects of life are basically all my years as a grown up. And even if I have always been an independent thinker and doer, I think I would have been a very different person had I not grown up in this relationship. Perhaps better, perhaps not. But different, yes.
It's so easy to simply glide along in life, on the path of least resistance, play your convenient part in a relationship, rely on and take things for granted (noted, in both good and bad ways) without really talking about it. And with that sometimes being spoilt and petulant, annoyed and disappointed. Instead of talking things through, expectations, needs, plans, goals, highs and lows.
I'm not saying you should be completely self-sufficient in every little part of your life, there are things I would never be neither interested, comfortable nor able to do and there isn't anything wrong with asking for help or rely on your partner. Because there are always other things I'm good at instead, things I bring into the equation that the other one can rely on me doing. Life without ever relying on others would be a very unfullfilling one.
But you should always always talk about it, the whys and the hows. Communicate your inner feelings, dreams, worries, regrets and hopes. We weren't good at that, at least not these last few years.
Or rather, I wanted and I asked, many times, because that is who I am, but M was a very untalkative person, kept things inside, when it came to deep, emotional matters. A shudder and 'It is what it is. Things could be worse.' And even more so as time went by. Is it a guy thing? I hope not.
Grow together, not apart, share, care, discuss, figure out, plan, dream, don't just glide along since it's an easy, seemingly uncomplicated way forward. Because, trust me, that will turn complicated further down the path of life.
Yes, I'm thinking a lot about this. That I should have insisted. Talk. But in the end you are always responsible for your own life and choices, the only person you can change is yourself. You can help others grow, change, but to really actually do it they have to be open, interested and willing. If not, your willingness to help, to listen, doesn't mean a thing.
That said, I'm really grateful for our years together, of course I am. I've experienced so much, together and on my own, learnt, grown, loved. In so many ways it has turned me into the person I am today. I'm heartbroken it ended this way, it shouldn't have but it did. Sadness, anger, gratitude.
Certain days are still worse than others. There are some really good days in a row, a week even and then suddenly *bam*, here comes the sorrow. The thoughts overload sneaking up. And there's nothing you can do really but accepting, be in it but not letting it swallow you, then slowly, actively moving the thought process elsewhere.
And there is absolutely no meaning with brooding over regrets and should haves (yet you do it if it's one of those days...), but a difficult, obvious lesson learnt through all this is that I must not let myself glide along anymore, I must insist on talking, sharing, growing.
Now is the time to redefine the person that is I, as a singular, independent human only. And define what the grown-up I need and want for a fulfilling, meaningful, loving, happy life.
It will be a summer of many thoughts, of many lists. A summer of redefining myself. The me, myself and the new I.