Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Growing Pains of Wisdom

Day 103
262 Days Remaining
“I'm afraid that we all make mistakes. One of the things that defines our character is how we handle mistakes. If we lie about having made a mistake, then it can't be corrected and it festers. On the other hand, if we give up just because we made a mistake, even a big mistake, none of us would get far in life.” Terry Goodkind, Confessor
I suppose I was being a little hard on myself the other day, when I confessed to you all that I had allowed myself to act on my crush on Fig.  My biggest worry was that all the people who have been encouraging me throughout this dating hiatus would be disappointed in me, and although I've heard back from some people who have been more forgiving of me than I have of myself, it is the ones I haven't heard from that I suspect are sitting there shaking their heads at me.  Nonetheless, this attempt to go for a year without dating (or kissing, or anything else of the sort) is not yet over for me.  Despite the bump in the road, I will continue on my dating hiatus and if anything, I am more resolute to guard myself better from now on. William Jordan called mistakes "the growing pains of wisdom", and although I already feel I have heaps of mistakes to learn from, apparently I made the conscious choice to stick another one in my arsenal.  It's all right, though; just as it hasn't been the first mistake I've ever made - and certainly isn't the first time I've let myself down - I am sure it won't be the last.  And I am working to make sure that I learn how to protect myself from making those mistakes again; to recognize them before they happen and to rein myself in.

I was a bit nervous about talking to Fig about what happened between us.  He, as you may have realized, is my roommate, so aside from the issue of me being on a sabbatical from dating, there's the completely relevant fact that we live in the same house and hope to continue doing so - without weirdness and discomfort - for the foreseeable future.  He is an awesome roommate, and I'm not just saying that because I am attracted to him.  The same qualities that make him a great roommate and fantastic guy to have around are the qualities that attracted me to him in the first place: he's a sensitive guy (not like girly-sensitive, but easy to communicate with); he fathers his son extremely well; he is clean and neat and keeps the house amazingly tidy; he has a great sense of humor; and he can cook.  (Well, spaghetti, at least; I haven't tried anything else of his...but his spaghetti is delicious.)  We connected right from the start and have been easily able to communicate, and that led to an immediate sense of ease and comfort with each other.  It's easy to mistake that for intimacy, and although we've definitely developed an affection for each other in the time we've been sharing a house, we're nowhere near where I would want to be before heading down the road of physical affection with someone.

So, it's been a few days, and each day my resolve to talk with him has grown.  We had a busy weekend - all the kids were here, so we were each involved in our own parenting - and then I got very ill with bronchitis and a sinus infection, so between coughing my head off, my drippy nose, and being doped up with codeine (it's the best cough suppressant for me), it was not really conducive to having a serious chat.  Fig was so helpful during the last few days while I've been sick: making me tea and running to the store to get me cough medicine, and ordering me away from emptying the dishwasher, taking over and cleaning the kitchen when I was too weak to do it.  I worried that maybe he was taking things fairly seriously - in fact, there were a few times when it actually felt as though we were in a marriage - and that he was doing it because he mistakenly believed that we were in a relationship now, but upon reflection I recognized that for Fig, doing these things is just his way.  He is a caregiver, and it's been so nice to have someone taking care of me without expecting anything in return.

Tonight, with all the kids back at their respective other parents' houses and me feeling slightly better, Fig and I found ourselves facing the evening, and each other, without much else to do.  I made us each a cup of tea and Fig suggested we watch a movie or play on the Wii.  We made ourselves comfy on the couch, and I launched into it immediately, worried that I would lose my nerve if I didn't.

"So, do you think we should talk  I mean, what happened and what's going to happen and where we're going from here?"

Fig nodded.  "I think we should."

He urged me to go first, since I had brought it up.  "I think...we jumped the gun," I said, and he nodded.  The relief I felt as I began to explain my position was immense when I saw by his expression that he felt the same way.  I mentioned my dating hiatus, and told him that although I could have let it wreck the entire thing, I wasn't going to...I was going to see it as a small detour, but that I was planning to continue with it.  I knew that he wasn't sure whether he wanted a relationship or not, and when I said that neither of us is in the right place for it, he agreed.  And of course, there's that old saying that you don't sh*t where you eat...starting a romantic relationship when you already live together is just asking for trouble.

Fig agreed with it all, including sharing my worry that this "mistake" would ruin our roommate relationship, which neither of us wants.  We got it all out on the table, told each other everything that we were feeling, and concluded that we were both mature enough not to let this affect our growing friendship or our living together...and that neither of us knows what is in store for us down the road.  Who knows what the next nine months might hold?  We hugged, both relieved and thrilled that we were both on the same page, and then got down to the serious business of Wii bowling.  Where he proceeded to wipe up the lanes with me.

If I could just figure out how to stop doing that curve...

I feel blessed.  This whole thing could have gone so wrong: I could have allowed myself to completely give up on my dating sabbattical and throw myself into yet another relationship that I am not ready for and that I haven't given the proper chance to develop a strong, steady foundation.  I am grateful for the gift of having had a few days to really think things through before I approached Fig with my concerns, and for the lessons that I've learned in the past about how to look at my situation objectively and decide what's right about it and what's wrong about it.  I really don't feel this will affect our friendship; in fact, I believe it will strengthen in, because we've already learned how to be completely honest with each other.  I'm looking forward to seeing what Fig and I can build, with no expectations for anything beyond a sturdy, real friendship.

Now, on to the next 262 days.  I'm armed and ready for them.


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