The first ten days after completing my dating hiatus have been very busy, as most of my days are. It's almost time for school to start again (both for the kids - well, my boys, as my daughter graduated this year! - and for me) and that realization has me in a sudden flurry of worry and activity. There are school supplies to buy, courses to plan, schedules to arrange...lots of things that I have blissfully been ignoring during this summer will soon be back full-force. So I've been trying to get my life back on track and realizing that there is not a lot of summer left to enjoy. Why do they always go by so quickly? I want more travel and sun and fun in the water. Ah well...soon it will be Christmas again, I suppose. That's something to look forward to, right?
They say that the second year of nursing school is the hardest one, and judging from what I've heard of the Biology course - Pathophysiology, otherwise known as Everything That Can Go Wrong With Every Single Body System - that will be the course that has me in tears this year. It's very memorization-heavy, but I don't memorize things well without having a solid understanding of them, so I want to really get a grasp of all that I'm learning in order to apply it properly. That is, I suppose, a desirable quality in a nurse. I had planned to find out which text we will be studying from and use it to get a good idea of what we'll be learning this semester and next, but it didn't happen, and the summer has gotten away from me, so I'm going in fairly blind. Just thinking about how I am going to manage all the schedules (my school; the kids' school; my work; our meals; housecleaning; studying...aggghhhh) is enough to make me want to just run away back to California. Or even Mexico. Life is simpler there. But forge ahead I will.
Some of you have asked what's been happening with the Michelin Man. Of course you know that I told him a while back that I was no longer interested in further communication, but he hasn't been listening too well. The more I get to know him, the more I realize that he either a) never pays attention to anything but what he is thinking or feeling; b) is really kind of ignorant; or c) just thinks he can completely overturn my decisions and emotions simply by words. Occasionally he will send me a text message designed to make me melt and open up a whole new line of conversation with him. Sometimes I get photographs (and when he feels brave, they are not exactly appropriate photographs). I have told him and told him that he has to stop and that I am not interested, but he doesn't seem to get it. For a time it was entertaining, but it has become irritating and frustrating. I can tell him with the clearest of statements that I do not want to be with him and that he has to stop texting, and he ignores it. It's probably time to do something a bit more definite. I'm still working on figuring that out.
The good thing about this silly infatuation with Mitch is that I can go back and read everything I wrote and see exactly how I was doing all the things I used to do. I told myself in the beginning of my hiatus that I had to learn to recognize Red Flags and Dealbreakers, and when I "met" Mitch I even spelled out some of the Red Flags I saw in him, but immediately I began to do the same things that I've always done when it comes to men: I began to make excuses for him and to try to push through to do exactly what I wanted to do anyway, just because I wanted to do it. It doesn't matter how much the romantic in me hopes for these things to pan out; I need to pay attention to those things.
|I actually don't believe this across the board, but unfortunately it does have some truth to it.|
My friends were concerned and tried to warn me, but I pushed ahead regardless. And look how it turned out. I haven't even told you all - because I was so busy trying to gloss over my concerns about Mitch in the first place - but Mitch is married. He told me when we first started talking that he was separated, but as time went on I began to realize that there was something off. I questioned him; he either ignored, deflected, or half-answered my questions. After I told Mitch that I knew he couldn't give me what I needed and wanted - and deserved - in a relationship, he kept trying to pursue me and, although he said he didn't know what he would do if he ever lost me (which he already had), he still refused to give me straight answers. Finally, in frustration, I talked to a good friend of his about the situation, discovered that Mitch had kept my presence in his life a complete secret from anyone at home, that he has apparently send inappropriate photographs to other women, and that as far as this friend knows, Mitch is still quite happily married. That was when I told him I didn't even want to be friends anymore. I feel as though I completely dodged a bullet there...and to think that if I had paid attention to the Red Flags that I spotted right at the beginning - instead of being Miss Overly Romantic as per usual - I could have saved myself a whole lot of emotion and frustration. Lesson learned. Hard way? Sort of. But learned. FINALLY. That`s worth celebrating.
Reflecting on those things, and thinking about how I plan to face life now that my Hiatus is complete, I realize that there are still things I need to work on before I'm ready to be in a relationship with anyone (and yes, I am still enjoying the company of the man I believe I will eventually end up with - henceforth known as The Man - but there's no rush and we're nowhere near a romantic relationship yet). The Man deserves me at my best, and I want to get to the point where I have worked through more things than those I've attacked during the year off. So, although my year off from dating has ended, there's no end to the reflection that I need to do every single day.
I keep reminding myself that, although I thought I was ready for The Man when we were first seeing each other, the years between now and then - and especially this past year - have been invaluable in bringing me to a place where I now believe I could be a good partner and wife to someone. If I could do that much work on myself - if God could do that much work within me - in a few short years, then I should welcome the chance to do even more. Any time that is well spent on bringing me to a place where I am more ready for a relationship is well worth it. And The Man can probably use that time, as well.
I've learned there is value in taking time away from my regular, everyday routines and thought patterns. At this time last year, I found myself overly stressed and completely unprepared to face a completely new situation in starting Nursing School. This year, I've felt myself drawing closer to that point of exhaustion and being overwhelmed, so I'm taking some time for myself before school begins. The week before school starts on September 3rd, and for the first week of school, I am taking off from work in order to get rested, ready, and re-vamped before life completely changes again. Part of that time will involve getting supplies ready; back-to-school shopping; and more of my lists-upon-lists for financial things, menus and schedules, and part of that time will be set aside to make one more list: the things I need to do before I am ready for another relationship.
It`s no longer about finding the right man for me. It`s about being the best person that I can be, and taking whatever time I need in order to do that. Another Step One is about to happen.