19 December 2014

Compromise vs Settling

Recently, over dinner (and a few glasses of wine) my cousin and I discussed the concept of compromise versus settling when it comes to allowing new people in to your life.  Both of us now re-entering the dating world after marriage, we often come across this dilemma when meeting someone new. I think perhaps one can't fully understand this concept unless you have dated later in life but I will do my best to elaborate.  

Dating in your 30's & 40's isn't simple - for the sheer fact that we all, at this point in our lives, have some sort of issues and/or baggage.  We are also adults who are relatively set in our ways. Finding someone to be in your life - either as a friend or as love - is more challenging because of this.  It's not a matter of finding the "perfect" someone as perhaps we once envisioned due to the acknowledgement that indeed none of us are perfect.  

I fully realize that I am not perfect.  The experiences that I have gone through in my life have rendered me this way and I honestly embrace that imperfection as it makes me who I am.  I come with scars and tender parts that have healed but are sensitive.  I have faltered & fallen but I've also grown and learned from every moment - from every new location I have lived in, from every happiness and from every heartache.  All of these experiences are what makes me "me".  I can only hope that people will see these imperfections and love me in spite of them and because of them.  

I don't expect perfection - I think that it's not an honest quality.  We are all human and we have quirks or issues.  We have parts of our lives that give us pause.  We suffer from memories & moments of great sadness where we have experienced loss.  We are eternally flawed and that is ok.  It's unrealistic to expect perfection - perhaps it is actually in our flaws & our scars that we find the qualities to relate to each other.

I find what people "want" for me is actually quite different than what I would like for myself which is another struggling point.  Sometimes getting people to understand that isn't easy.  Loved ones and friends still harbour quite a bit of anger and hatred toward my divorce which is frustrating to me.  Not to say that this isn't their experience, because I do think that everyone affected by these kinds of life changes needs to grieve it and deal with it.  That said, I did my fair share of therapy, soul searching and personal growth to get through that time in my life and I have come out of it a stronger, healthier version of myself.  To see those I love who refuse to let go saddens me because they harbour regret where I do not.  

Back to the topic at hand, I do think that there is a difference between compromise and settling.  For example,
there are certain things that I will no longer stand for - in any relationship - because I know that they aren't fair or respectful.  Being mean, being untruthful, living in a negative mindset - these are all things I cannot overlook.  But there are always areas that may not be perfect in the other where they can still grow or where we can be more accepting which by definition is compromise.  Settling would be knowing that you deserve more and deserve better but that you will accept it because you think it is better than nothing.  THAT is no way to live.

So often, people ask me what it is that I am looking for in a partner and are often surprised by the simplicity of my response.  There are lots of things that would be a "bonus" such as a beautiful home, nice car or a cottage on the lake but those are certainly not items I am searching for.  To me it's easy - I want someone who is nice.  Someone who asks me how my day was or who sends a simple text to let me know I was on their mind.  I want someone to go on adventures with and who makes me laugh.  I want someone who holds me a bit closer when I wake up from a nightmare and who wishes me sweet dreams before bed.  I want someone who is honest with their imperfections and are ok with them.  Someone who can see me for who I really am - quirks & scars and all and love me because of them.  Because they make me this pretty awesome (most of the time) person who is fair and loving and honest.  That is who I want to share my adventures with - someone who's imperfections fit perfectly with mine.

18 December 2014

the journey....

Meeting new people along their journey tends to make me feel introspective.  Or possibly it is simply the season that invokes my urge to reflect on how much has changed over the past few years.    The girl that returned to Canada just about 4 years ago was a completely different person than the woman I am now.  I am definitely a better, stronger version of my younger self and even with every bit of heartache I wouldn't change my path for a second.  

After all, now I know much more about how I want to spend each precious moment that I've been blessed with.  I know how I want to love and be loved.  I am confident in myself in ways that I would never have been without this experience. I am stronger because I have fallen & picked myself up. I am more whole because I was once broken. 

I meet people who are struggling with the part of moving on that is "letting go" and allowing others in. I once read that it's not the the grief of the situation but of letting go of the idea we have in our heads for how our lives should be that is hardest of all.  To admit defeat in the way of a relationship not working out or a job change or a move back home is difficult.  It's humbling in a way that, until you experience it, you simply can't appreciate it.   I remember that first god-awful date that I went on when I had to admit that I was "divorced" and how scared I always was to say that word to someone coming into my life.  They would know that I failed.  Would they question why? Was I a horrible wife? Would they want to be with me? What was "wrong" with me? 

But getting that word out was simply another step on the journey.  I've come to learn and accept that I am not "divorced".  I am single.  I was previously married.  But being divorced is not who I am.  This is what I struggled with most of all - how I defined myself now that I was starting over.  Certain life events do not "make" us - how we move on after those events are truly how we are defined.  It is simply about the journey.  

I know what I want out of life more so because I now know what I do not want. I feel like I am better at loving because of the fact that I have loved and lost.  I am more accepting of others and their journeys because I know that life isn't perfect and it doesn't always work out as we plan.  I'm more forgiving of people's faults because I have seen them in myself. 

It's interesting how certain experiences in our life make us appreciate that we all have our own challenges and our crosses to bear. All we can do as we walk this path is be kind to those around us, hold the hand of those who are struggling and accept that we are all on this journey together.