Today is a great day. I am going to take a lunch. I cleaned my desk. I cleaned and organized the print station. I have time to work on long-term work tasks. The skies are cool blue. I have tomorrow off. I googled how many days until my wedding (24). I used the calculator to find out how old I am again (27). A pleasant surprise, since I've been walking around as a 28 year old lately. I still have 2 years and 3 months to knock off my "Before 30 Goals." It's fall, so of course I'm thinking about goals. I can't really remember any of my before 30 goals except to buy a house. Which I guess John already took care of for me? Not really sure if it counts. I don't feel the sense of accomplishment. But maybe that's part of it. It goes hand in hand with a lot I have been learning - or rather - am trying to learn. Like being less independent and overpowering. Learning to respond with "Perhaps, but here's why I'd rather not" rather than with "No" and an intense expression. Learning to be okay with not feeling that sense of accomplishment. Being okay with sometimes just needing someone else to help. Being okay with others needing help too.
We're reading through a marriage book right now and I found myself in the chapter entitled "Loving the Stranger." The author discusses the season in every new marriage when you lose the glasses and see all the flaws in your spouse. The "honeymoon" phase is over and you find yourself wondering "Who is this person? This isn't who I married." This will probably happen to John and I, and it will come as an absolute surprise, because right now we both really feel like we're pretty aware of each other's flaws. At least the little ones that tend to drive you mad about each other. And a lot of the big ones too. This didn't strike me much in the chapter, but what did was how the author talked about those changes. He said, you change. You are one person. Then you become another person. Marriage changes you. Babies change you. New careers change you.
It shouldn't be so shocking to me, but it was. For the past two years, I've been telling John how I just don't feel like myself. I even started a private blog where I began writing just for me, hoping to remember myself. It could sound humorous, but it's actually kind of a frightening feeling. Not feeling you for so long. At times it made me worry that I shouldn't be in this relationship - like maybe I couldn't "be me" - though I knew it wasn't anything John was doing. Never before have I had such an amazing friend who allowed me to be myself and encouraged and forgave and listened and loved. It couldn't be him. It had to be work. Or all the other changes. As I've likely said here before, we came to realize that in a matter of months, I'd moved out, changed jobs, entered my first committed relationship and grown a year older. It was a lot of change at once.
I've been waiting ever since for me to remember me, somehow fall back into stride with myself, or crawl my way back to that ease and internal sense of self. And that is what struck me yesterday as I read. I won't. I've changed. It's not about waiting or finding. I'm just the person I am now. I'm not as kind. I complain more. I'm really strong though, until I'm not. In fact, I'm much more strong and consistent, I don't let things shake my emotions. I don't work out a lot. I have a hard time waking up early, but when I do, I find I still love it. I like porters and not really blue moon. I sometimes drink my coffee black and actually like it. I order vanilla lattes. On hot summer days, I love to sip cold gin and often choose it over whiskey at a bar. If I have more than two drinks, I'll know it. I get angry if I spend a whole night with a group of friends and come home feeling as far if not further away from them. I don't keep my room clean. I love gardening. I can even put up with seeing a few spiders out in it without tossing in my gloves and going inside. I have chickens. I freaking love my chickens. I don't know if I want to be in marketing. I hate saying something I don't believe is true. If I do say something, I hate saying it weak or unconvincingly. I cuss sometimes. I rarely ever write.
This isn't who I was. But I just realized, it is who I am. I get to choose to change, but who I am right now is really who I am. And that will always be true.
Yesterday, I made a choice toward one single change. And I'm going to make it again today. And hopefully one day I won't complain much. And I'll be kinder. I'll be gentle again. I'll respond openly. I'll laugh more. I'll drop this new habit of cussing. I'll put my clothes away and not toss them on the floor.
Marriage is going to change me. Our tiny house will have to change me. And a dozen other things along the way will change me. I won't be the same person I am today. I will be a new me. And hopefully a better one.