the perils of moving forward…

What is that saying, “Time waits for no one,”? It’s true isn’t it? Life goes on.  Almost a year has passed since the first proverbial domino tipped over in my life. This time last year I was blissfully happy, unaware of what was going on in the background. I had no feelings of impending doom.  It’s funny, I do remember thinking one day last fall that life was good, too good, and I prayed it wouldn’t change.  It did more than change, though,  I mean, my life completely unwound. I’ve made it through the crisis, even if it was by the skin of my teeth.  The time has come to think about moving forward and learning to live again.  I’m ready to do more than just survive.  My biggest fear is, what if I haven’t learned from my mistakes? Am I doomed to repeat them again? It’s scary friends. So much so, at times I’m paralyzed with fear and indecision.

My senior picture.  Hard to believe I was a brat.

My senior picture. Hard to believe I was a brat.

I have disappointed myself, my kids, my parents and nearly everyone I love as a direct result of my poor choices.  I was impulsive in my youth which lead to a lot of fun but, like everything in life there were consequences. I was irresponsible with money for years.  It wasn’t just money I was bad with either. I was a horrible manager in all aspects of my life. I flunked out in my first year at college because, I partied. Thankfully my partying only involved hanging with my friends, drinking and a lot of late night dancing in clubs. (Seriously, I could have been so much worse.) I wanted what I wanted and to hell with everything else. I was so unfocused it is still amazing to me that I ever made it through college. (I sat out a semester and went back.) I owe that small miracle to my Mom and #1.  The two of them helped me rein it in, and I graduated becoming an RN.   My impulsiveness although curbed, continued into adulthood but only in my personal life. I was married the first time at twenty-three, and I loved him dearly, but we constantly butted heads.  He was controlling, and I was of the mind I didn’t need a warden.  The marriage lasted through two kids and twelve years. By contrast, in my professional life I strived to be controlled, efficient and responsible.  It’s that whole Yen and Yang thing- one balanced out the other. My professional life took off when I was in my late 20’s, and I have had some pretty good gigs.  I even became the youngest Med/Sug/ICU Director the hospital I worked for had ever hired.  I had a great mentor, and she is still a close friend today.  I’m not bragging so don’t think that.  I’m sharing this to show how big a difference there was in my personal vs. professional life.

Fear of my very special brand of personal chaos has me consumed at the moment.  I’ve been practicing amazing self-control with only a few slips since establishing my independence (again) in April and it being followed up by my home burning in July.  Now my house isn’t just clean it’s super clean and organized which is a first. Having less stuff is liberating in many ways.  I can’t handle clutter these days. Also,  I’m working out with regularity and adhering to a pretty sensible diet. My therapist is right about the gym helping me work out my frustrations. One thing I’ve got to get a handle on is,  I keep forgetting to eat which is new, but I think that is telling of my mental state more than anything.  My relationship with my kids is wonderful. My time with them is totally about them. We as a family are doing better than just surviving.  We are healing.   I’m adjusting to my new surroundings, and I’m socializing with my girlfriends a lot. Finally…I’m managing my money decently. This is huge, well, for me it is. (Dear friends, you just have no idea.) So what has me all tied up in knots? It’s a simple answer, going forward and thinking about dating.

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I think I’ve mentioned before I’ve always been a serial monogamist which sounds totally safe, right? Not so much in my case.  I choose the word chaos for a reason.  I am that girl who leaps into relationships without looking first  This is never a good policy in dating or when cliff jumping. I don’t cliff jump anymore but when I did, I spent more time thinking about where I wanted to hit the water to avoid getting hurt than I ever spent pondering what getting involved with someone could potentially do to my life. I’ve learned over the years that although I’m not a true adrenaline junkie, but I do love a good rush. I’m going to put the blame on my brothers for this one.  Early on I learned to appreciate fast cars, crazy heights and testing my boundaries.  When I was younger, it was a personal mission of mine never to be outdone by the men in my life, namely my brothers.  This need ebbed after I became a mother, but it was resurrected when I divorced the first time with skiing trips, outings to the lake, ATV’s and owning one car that really did corner like it was on rails. As a result of these pursuits I’ve had a blown out knee, resulting in surgery, a cracked a rib which freaking hurt and a broken tail bone which took over a year to heal.  Also, I’m pretty sure I had a mild concussion once, but only sissies go to the hospital according to my brothers and of course I survived. Lastly, I got stopped for speeding something like thirteen times in just over a year while I owned my Mercedes.  Thankfully this stupidity resulted in only two speeding tickets, and neither went on my driving record. I am much calmer now, thank God.  I still love and crave the rush sometimes. However, these days I’ve been doing my best to satisify this need in the gym.  The results are mixed. It’s hard to change.

So that leads me back to the whole dating thing. You know the rush you get when you are attracted to a new person? I don’t crave this feeling but when it happens it’s awesome.  I love feeling my heart race, feeling my breath catch and swearing my stomach has turned inside when I’m truly into to a guy.  Call me weird. I don’t mind (and I won’t hear you).  Here’s the deal:  I feel alive when that happens, and I don’t have to jump or repel off anything to experience it.  There’s a another obvious bonus too. My bones and other body structures are safe, right? It just so happens this scenario terrifies my heart.  I can’t go through the emotions of the last year again.  How in the world am I going to trust someone with my heart or anything else for that matter?

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I know what I have to do.  I have to look before I leap into a relationship.  I have to get to know the person really well first.  I have to take it slow.  Dear reader, I don’t know if I’m ready for this. I do know this much.  If I’d been paying attention instead of being so wrapped up with being swept off my feet, I would have seen the red flags last time before it was too late.  I also know, we aren’t solitary creatures.  God didn’t make us that way. We want companionship and maybe a little romance. I’ll start to date again when I’m ready, but man do I feel sorry for that guy.  He will need the patience of Job.

Daisies, Coffee, and Chocolates,

holly

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