By the time you read this, I’ll be in California.
I’m heading back to the West Coast – almost to the day – just as I was two years ago in the piece you’ll read below.
Only this time, I’m not dreading it. This time, I’m more confident in the direction Chris and I are headed.
Part of my sadness then was realizing I had taken a risk to sail around the world with this guy (at the time, we thought we might), and instead had to live on a boat in Bellingham, Washington for the harshest winter they had in ten years.
But it was more than that. I was mad at myself for not having the guts to ask his thoughts on our future. And, since our sailing adventure was postponed another year, I had all the time in the world to sit down and think.
Why didn’t I bring this up prior to the boat? Only a year into dating, I figured we were still in that gray area – was it too early to talk about the future?
I was afraid to ask for fear of *ahem* rocking the boat.
(Sorry, I had to.)
But now as I write this, What the hell was I thinking?
I was ready to sail around the world and put my life at risk with my boyfriend, but I was too afraid to ask if he pictured us saying ‘I do?’ What the actual fuck.
I think this shows that scary relationship conversations can be just that. SCARY. Scarier than hopping on a boat without sailing experience, only to pray to God for the best. That’s what I was doing with my relationship, too. Keeping my fingers crossed that we’d want the same for the time ahead.
Note to selves: if you’re in your thirties and a man asks you to go on a life altering adventure with him, or even move in with him, please be brave for yourself and ask him what he sees for your future. This will save LOTS of resentment on your end while you’re creating a cozy home and making sacrifices and compromises to build a life together. I promise.
That is, if marriage is what you want.
If you don’t want marriage, make sure he’s cool with that, too. Same with kids. The scary conversations are best had up front. And as much as I preached this to my friends, I had learn the hard way. (God speed if you work the same way I do.)
Without further ado, here’s the next installment of the series, Existential Crisis (Part 3). Just reading this piece brings me back to that place and my how things have changed! But it took a lot of hard work for us to get to this point. Trust me.
Have you ever been in a position like this? Can you relate? If so, please share in the comments below! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Life Goals Tested – Time To Figure Out What You Want
First Published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel, January 2017.
(The story took place in November 2016. Chris is known as “Jason” in the piece.)
It took a trip back home to notice how much my life has changed in the last two months.
I left my job, my bachelorette pad, I gave away the majority of my clothing, cut my hair (by 12 inches), said goodbye to friends, and left the comforts of traditional indoor plumbing among others.
And I was okay with it.
Moving to California and figuring out a way to pay the bills as a writer was at the top of my list of personal goals, and I thank the powers above that I was actually able to actually do it.
So when the opportunity arose to sail to Mexico with the love of my life, I felt fulfilled enough in those goals to take the risk.
I traded the little world I manifested for myself for an adventure of a lifetime.
But the adventure has been put on hold. The life I prepared for morphed into a life I never thought it would have.
As the French say, c’est la vie.
Plans changes, things happen.
Building A New Life
I was confident I could bounce back and figure out a way to get by.
This “la la la” mentality acted as a safety harness to make the big jump.
People do it all the time, I thought. I’ve built a life for myself and I can do it again.
So I took a deep breath and made an effort to acclimate to my surroundings.
I got a new license with my new address, settled into my new home (of about 18×6 feet of living space), and applied for jobs. So far, to a publishing company, a weed dispensary, as a personal assistant, and an Uber driver.
I’ve gotten used to the nuances of sailboat life – no refrigeration, no indoor shower, no closet, no extra space – and sought comfort in a new way to exist.
The Road Less Traveled Is A Bumpy One
But it has not been easy.
I struggle every day to keep positive, and I’ve discovered the culprit.
For the first time, I realize that I have no goal, no huge accomplishments to conquer.
I feel no real purpose for being in this new environment.
This gray area made me realize I hadn’t visualized life after the sailing.
I’ve never thought about what a future could look like with a partner.
So, I took a moment to check in.
I dug around beneath the mental noise and uncomfortable emotional situations, and I found bigger questions that needed answers:
What do I really want out of this relationship?
What am I not willing to give up?
In a weird way, I find comfort in this uncertain state – it’s okay to be bored, confused, and a little scared.
Because one day I’ll look back with compassion over these growing pains and admire the steps I took to make it through.
Maybe some of us need to trade in the familiar to understand what’s most important.
Maybe some of us need to learn the hard way.
Whew! That’s was heavy. Luckily, I’m at that point where I can look back with empathy at my former self. I would love to know, can you relate? If so, please share in the comments below! Just a reminder: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Catch up on the series!