Archives for posts with tag: my home my rules my way

Moving day gets closer every day. The boxes neatly stacked in the garage continue to multiply. Working together on move details is creating a fun distraction from the routine, and minimizing stress, for both of us, it seems. It’s certainly the easiest, and most pleasant, move I’ve undertaken in the past decade. 😀 I’m grateful to have the driveway space to park my car; using the garage to “stage” the move was an excellent idea (my Traveling Partner has had several great ideas upon which this move is built, and I’m grateful for that, too).

So many boxes, all neatly labeled and ready to move. There’s still more to pack.

We spend some time every day packing things, moving what we don’t use every day into a convenient position to move it to a truck, and from the truck into our home. Keys in hand, we’ll be standing in our own home this weekend! I smile every time I think about reaching this milestone, with my partner.

Yesterday I was grumpy as hell. Not moving related, just having a rough day, and dealing with a lot of pain. My Traveling Partner was patient with me, supportive, and good-natured. I crashed hard a little earlier than usual, and slept deeply through the night, waking once for a drink of water after a parching nightmare, and finally rising to begin a new day only moments before the alarm went off. So far, so good. 🙂 New day.

The kitchen is packed. All the books are packed. My studio is (mostly) packed. Our computers continue to entertain us, but the moment for packing those will be “now” quite soon. I’m impatient to move through the days. A couple more work shifts, and then… moving. Understanding more about how my PTSD and my TBI affect me as a whole human being (than I once did), I’ve planned to take enough time off to get entirely moved in, and also to get acclimated to new noises and new shadows, a new route to travel from bed to bathroom, a new view from new windows… everything new. I’ll no doubt “get lost” in the new house more than once before I have the “map” in my head right. My Traveling Partner assures me with much love that it won’t take long, and encourages me to return to work earlier, if I want to. 🙂 I don’t expect to sit around the house feeling bored, in any case – there’s so much to do! 😀

…I’m looking forward to coffee on the deck on a summer morning…

…And the squirrels. The squirrels are here on my deck. 🙂

Change can be so terrifying and disruptive, most especially when it is unexpected, or perceived as a challenge, limitation, or unpleasant whim of circumstance. This move could have felt much different… the limitations presented by the pandemic, on top of my landlord telling me he would be asking me to vacate as soon after pandemic restrictions on doing so were lifted (so he could, himself, move in to this duplex), on top of the realities of finite resources… it could have been incredibly scary. My move from #59 to this duplex felt rushed, forced, aggravating, and very stressful (even though I chose it). I was unhappy to have to leave, I would have been unhappy to stay, and I was very grateful to find this lovely alternative in a seemingly quiet neighborhood (turned out to be much noisier than my initial impression led me to believe). It’s been a good place to live, in general. This move, though? This feels like a great move, and the timing feels pretty good, too. 🙂 I sip my coffee feeling grateful and contented.

I listen to the traffic beyond the window. Busy street. I won’t miss that. Noisy house. I won’t miss that, either. Listening to my neighbors on the other side of the duplex wall? Not going to miss it. My Traveling Partner? I sure won’t have to miss him – we’re moving together (and into a home that is more suited to our shared needs). 😀 I sip my coffee. It’s gone cold, and I don’t mind; it’s a good cup of coffee. A pleasant Thursday morning, a routine work shift ahead of me, and one more tomorrow… then… moving day. It’s coming. There may be a break in the cadence of my writing, as I shift from one residence to another, new routines, new floor plan, new timing. I’ll get back to the routine with new inspiration. 😀

A gray dawn lights the room slowly. I finish this cup of coffee. It’s time to begin again.

 

I was sipping my coffee on a morning after my Traveling Partner had returned home from some trip or another. It was quiet in the room, and in our home, and even out on the street beyond. I woke ahead of the alarm by quite a bit, and there was no hint of dawn-to-come in the sky. Not at that point. My coffee was too hot to easily drink. Based on a couple hesitant, testing, sips, it was also not very good. I pondered the variables in a cup of coffee, mystified and still groggy; how is one cup so crappy, and another so sublime? Don’t I make them all the same way? Do the tiniest subtle differences in timing or process make that much difference? (Are the differences, perhaps, not with the coffee, itself, at all?)

I sighed quietly, a measured, careful, observed exhalation, slowly released following a deep breath. I felt my chest expand as I inhaled, contracting as I exhaled. A cough interrupted the quiet. Another sip of coffee. That moment was okay, and I remained with it, centered and calm, for a while.

(This particular moment was almost a year ago – a blog post written, never published. It finishes thusly…)

It was an okay homecoming. I knew, when I arrived home, that my partner was wholly exhausted, having driven 1800 miles straight on home, then on arriving, unable to actually sleep (coffee is an excellent tool to keep one awake for a long drive, and the risk to our sleep, later, is often one we find acceptable at the time), until much later – shortly before I went to bed, myself. I made dinner. We ate it. Shared a couple of anecdotes. Managed to be contentious and at odds with each other for a moment, and got over that. We are, unavoidably, quite different people, and also quite similar. Neither of those things is an assurance of always being comfortable together, or always being in genial shared space, or even holding the same opinion about literally anything. We’re individuals.

The evening passed gently after dinner. We entertained ourselves with conversation and videos. Eventually, he called it a night, and later so did I.

I woke easily, and well-rested. I’ve already forgotten some useful habits for shared space. lol I think about the commonplace usefulness of any basic tool, whether it is a screwdriver or a habit; lacking the most appropriate tool for any given task is likely to result in greater than average difficulty, increased task complexity, frustration, and time lost to struggling with pieces that don’t fit. In the same way a screwdriver isn’t the correct tool to fit a pipe, good self-care practices are not likely to also be good communication practices (although good communication is a part of good self-care, when it comes to boundaries and expectations). It has been a common (and way too real) experience on this healing path that my own wellness does not change the general state of wellness for any one other person – and they still live their life, and see things through the lens of, their own perspective on life, on circumstances – and on the relationship we share. We are each having our own experience – and we’re not all using the same tools to get any given job done. It’s pretty complicated stuff, and a lot of human beings are barely managing their own bullshit; it’s a lot to ask that people also be kind, compassionate, patient with one another, assuming positive intent… it starts to feel more like juggling than living, at some points. It’s still worth making that attempt, in my own experience.

…It also takes practice. As with using any unfamiliar tool, it definitely takes practice, and some basic knowledge. Your results may vary – particularly where relationship skills go! (You’re not doing that job alone, and even such things as “getting along” and “communicating” and “sharing” require practice, and a commitment to learning and growing, and you can only do your own.) It can be seriously frustrating, however familiar and commonplace a task seems, to grab that screwdriver, and once already frustrated, realize that the damned thing is a Phillips-head screwdriver not a flat-head. Well, shit. That got complicated fast. True in life, love, and home repairs. LOL

So… I guess I keep practicing. 🙂 Honestly, in every practical way, I only need to practice my own practices, and handle my own self-care. The relationship stuff works out much more easily when I give other people room to be themselves, care for themselves, and we’re open to both the differences, and the things we share – while still understanding that however close we are, or may become, we are nonetheless quite individual. I smile and drink my coffee; nothing new here. I struggle, mostly, when I forget to let go. Attachment to assumptions, expectations, or internal narrative can quickly sabotage an otherwise good time.

…Strangely timely as we two individuals prepare to move. I found it “by mistake” (or at least not looking for it) moments ago, as I considered writing something that, oddly, feels pretty well-covered by the draft I opened with an errant mouse-click. Helpful circumstance. One that puts me gently “back on the path” feeling I’ve understood myself just a bit better in this moment right here, right now… I settle myself into work, and begin again. 🙂

It’s a lovely drizzly Saturday in the Pacific Northwest. I ventured out for a walk along the bank of the Columbia, this morning. Lovely. First decently long walk at 57 years of age.

I’ve walked this path before, but may never walk it again. Somehow that makes the journey feel significant. 🙂

My birthday was yesterday. 57. Not a “fancy” sort of birthday, and it didn’t need to be at all. It was quite special without a lot of frills or elaborate plans. It was warm and intimate and joyful. I hung out at home with my Traveling Partner, who made his schedule work out specifically to be home with me to share the day. We talked about the upcoming move… Different community. Different views from new windows. Different view from a different deck. Different walks to be taken, down unexplored paths and unfamiliar streets. In 14 days we get the keys to a different house, we move to a different address. 🙂 I’m more excited than anxious, more eager than fretful. This is a change I’m delighted to embrace. A new home. Our home. At long last, a place that is truly ours (mortgage and all). It’s very exciting, and very busy. 🙂

…So much paperwork…

I look over my “to do list” for the weekend. I’ve committed to packing up the studio this weekend, and preparing the container garden on the deck for one more move. I’ve moved, now, 3 times in 5 years. 5 times in 9 years. Too much moving. lol. This move, coming up, though, amounts to “a promise kept” – to myself. I won’t need to move again for a long while, maybe not ever (although, change is, and one never knows where life’s path may lead). I hear my Traveling Partner’s voice in the other room, playing a video game online with his son. I smile. I enjoy the sound of his voice. I feel wrapped in love, and the promise of a shared future, together, feels safe and warm and full of fond conversation, affectionate teasing, and shared moments.

I think of the cynical 14-year-old young woman I once was and shake my head with a sad, tender, forgiving smile; she knew nothing of love, and could not have fathomed this feeling – or this moment. Her life was mostly about pain, and survival, and her bitter resentment was only exceeded by her impotent rage. There was little room for love to find a foothold in her wounded heart. I find myself wishing I could have “been there for her” then, as the woman I have become, now… She could have used some compassion, and empathy, some real concern, some reliable emotional support… from the woman staring back at her from her mirror. I’m still smiling; we enjoy this moment together. I’ve come a long fucking way from 14…

…57 feels very different indeed.

The shoreline has been lost to recent rains. Change is.

I walked along what was left of the riverbank. Most of the soft sandy beaches are lost to high water, after weeks of rain. I’m okay with that. Water levels rise and fall. Seasons change. Flowers bloom, then fade away. I walk, with my camera and my thoughts, enjoying a view I may never see quite this way again. I ponder how often that’s true, and I think about change.

I see blackberries blooming and think about the summer fruit that will result.

I smell the wild roses blooming on the bank, and wonder for a moment specifically which species they are, and whether they are native flora, or later arrivals, brought by travelers.

I sit for a few minutes on a damp log at the top of the bank, watching a passing barge.

I took time for me, to breathe, to reflect, to consider changes to come, and the relative value of preparedness (in moving, and in life). Nothing complicated, although there were verbs involved (and choices). Safely home once more, showered, and dressed in soft comfy clothes, I sit smiling with my thoughts and pictures. It’s enough. 🙂

 

Boundaries are funny things. Relationships are fraught with things to do with boundaries: tested boundaries, inadvertently violated boundaries, well-intended willful transgressions of boundaries, and failures to set and manage boundaries with care (or skill). I have, more than once, been situations such that I’ve set a boundary, unsuccessfully reinforced that boundary, and later found myself in violation of my own boundary/limitations! I’ve received firm “push back” regarding a thing I did/said or did not do/say that seemed, in the moment, unreasonable to me, because I’d been letting that person “off the hook” on something very similar that mattered to me, and subsequently feeling a lot of resentment when they undertake to set that boundary, themselves. Instant drama. I mean, for real – this is a major shortcut to conflict, strife, and unhappy discourse. It can develop into a serious see-saw of repeatedly broken “rules” in a relationship, and result in resentment building up over time, even though in some cases it would certainly appear that all concerned want the same basic outcome, and are setting a same/similar boundary on a single clear concern. 0_o

…Humans being human…

I reminded myself, yesterday, to “get off the see-saw” when my partner approached me courteously and set a clear simple boundary (that I had, myself, set at some previous time, under other circumstances). I felt my annoyance flair up. Didn’t I say… I stop myself. Here’s the thing; my Traveling Partner was only asking of me something that I myself want to see be our shared routine. So… what’s with the aggravation? Isn’t a cheerful “sure thing!” more appropriate? If something matters to us both, enough to set boundaries to support it, aren’t we in agreement on the value/importance of that thing or practice? It would seem so. Do I really need to “have my moment” on it? Isn’t it enough to appreciate that we’ve had a meeting of the minds on the topic? Do I actually also need to have “credit” for “coming up with it”? For real?

…Why do I care who gets “credit” for a quality-of-life-improving idea, within the context of a healthy partnership?

Clinging to our righteous position on some detail or another (particularly something as facile who suggested what first) when all seem to be in agreement on the basics of what has value and what is to be done about that, well – it’s just stirring up drama. lol I don’t much care for pointless drama. I really don’t. So, I took a breath, offered my enthusiastic agreement to the requested boundary, and moved on with my day. Why would I choose any differently? 🙂 In relationships in which people have shared values, similar (or the same) ideas, and yes, even boundaries, are highly likely. Staying focused on the outcome instead of the request (or suggestion) makes so much more sense than fussing over being asked to do what we, ourselves, would ideally like to see done. lol

I smile to myself over my coffee. Sure, sure, changing a habit, and building a new practice is a lot of repetition. Being responsible, accountable, and aware of my actions is routine stuff (and yeah, sometimes challenging) – ideally, I catch my own mistakes and correct those, and move on. No fuss, no bother, no nagging, no turmoil. 🙂 Practices need practice. I’ve got time for practicing. The same is true of my Traveling Partner. We’re both equally human. My TBI doesn’t make me more (or less) human – it just requires me to be mindful, to need a few reminders, a bit of patience, and a lot of practice. 🙂 We have time for that.

I listen to birds seeing beyond the window, and let my thoughts wander to mornings at the new address… what will those be like? What birds will be seeing? Will there be squirrels on the deck there? I was out there yesterday, briefly, tape measure in hand. The neighborhood is quiet. I could hear birdsong and breezes. It’s exciting to contemplate this move… another beginning. 🙂

…I like beginnings…

 

I sat for a long while, this morning, quietly watching the fish swim in the aquarium. Shrimp, small fish, a couple of snails, and lush green plants, shifting in the gentle current created by the filter pump, presenting a tiny living world to my delighted eyes. It was a pleasantly timeless moment of contentment, joy, and solitude. Still and quiet. Calm. Satisfying. Emotionally nourishing. 🙂

They don’t vote, and aren’t worried about the latest virus.

…The world is a fairly scary mess right now. Corruption. Pandemic. Greed. Deceit. It is at times quite horrifying. Other times, it seems awkwardly tedious with the weight of lessons we never seem to learn, as a global society. We’re too connected to view world culture any other way. Our survival as a species is so obviously linked with each other in this age of connectivity. It is, too often, very hard to watch. So… I take a moment for me, and watch the fish swim. 🙂

Better than television. Reliably more truthful.

More often than not, there is nothing in the news that is truly urgent or new. Most of what we see, read, and hear, is in some way a repeat of something we’ve seen, read, or heard before. I remind myself, regularly, to let all of that go, in favor of walking in the sunshine, enjoying the garden on the deck, or watching the fish swim. These are by far better quality moments of existence, and life is already so very finite… better to enjoy more of these gentle pleasant moments that to become mired in what is not so very news-worthy after all. 🙂

I smile contentedly into the empty cup that was once my morning coffee. Seems like a good time to begin again.