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Posts Tagged ‘Relationships’

Well the proposal really began well before the actual date the question was ‘popped’.  We hiked the Westcoast Trail on Vancouver Island in August/2012. This particular hiking trip was one I have always wanted to do and had never known anyone interested or experienced in doing a long multi-night trip.

In DF I met the one person I trusted enough for a week on the trail.  It was intense (more so because we rushed through the trip rather than going slow and enjoying the hikes -next time we are doing it over many more nights!).  At the end of the trip, we both got sick with “Tsusiat’s Revenge”. DF had it worse than I did, but we both felt like death.  On our last morning (after a very rough night) we had an easy 12k hike out. This end of the trail was flat, was well defined and comfortable.  I would liken it to the trails around Stanley Park.  As we were hiking, I realized how sick DF was, and became worried that he would need more medical attention than I could give on the trail.  I started urging him to go faster so we’d be able to get out, get the bus, get back to our car so I could take him to the Doctor.  Sadly, he made it to the 6k marker and couldn’t go on as he was doubled over sick.  Thankfully, I’m a runner, so I dropped my pack beside him, grabbed my (no longer Tsusiat-Falls-Contaminated) water bottle and started sprinting.  A challenge in hiking boots.

Normally the 12k we did that day should take about 4hrs to complete, and I was so worried about DF that I did the last 6k in 1hr (which shocked the Park’s employee once I found her).  Every time I passed a person on the trail I asked them to give Dan an update on where I was.  We ended up having Parks Canada people go in to where DF was huddled in his bright orange sleeping bag, carry our packs, and help him out to a boat that was waiting on a beach ~1.5km away.  We met in the town of Bamfield and went to the clinic so DF could get fixed up.  We ended up spending one more night in Bamfield so I could nurse him back to health before the crazy bus trip back to our car.

That night I went digging through DF’s Pack to see if he had any clean clothes left. I gave up pretty quickly as I recalled that he hadn’t packed any extras.  Little did I know that I was within inches of discovering something surprising and sparkly hidden in his clothing.

All in all, we had many discussions about getting married, but I wasn’t really expecting a proposal just yet, so it came as a complete surprise…

Suffice it to say the engagement happened immediately after we got home (and slept a bit). It was hilarious, special and I will never forget that moment.

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Last week I went on another date with a guy from an online dating site. He wanted to surprise me, so we met at a nearby Starbucks. The plan was to go for the best pie in this city. I was perplexed as we were no where near a place that I know of that has great pie… But he took me to a local department store with the comment that “there are many silver haired people here with time to complain thus it must be the best”. Let me tell you… The crust was terrible and the filling was from a box. On a bad pie day my pies are better.

This guy was very smart, but also very aggressive. We spent the better part of the date discussing health-related issues where I was forced to take a position because he wanted to argue against it. I’ve never felt so tied Into knots during a first date -and I don’t mean from first date jitters!

I think I managed to shake him off, through my “I’m not interested” vibes (I suspect I’m too good at that part of things, in fact…).

Edited to add: It is REALLY difficult to type a blog post on an iphone, particularly with a cat who insists on attention… Excuse any typos…

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It’s after midnight. December 23rd.  And like last year, I am awake and pausing to reflect on where this year has taken me.  Last year, I was dealing with things collapsing around me regarding my ex-friend, I was grieving being single at my age and facing the reality of not having kids — maybe never getting married, finding that partnership that we all seek and that person with whom I’d want to have kids.

I was pretty sad — I was in the beginning stages of what was a difficult beginning to this year.  This guy was one who I thought was a best friend, who surprised me by changing the status of our relationship. Who then didn’t follow through, lied about me to those around me, apologized, and when I’d forgiven him and reached out when I needed it most he betrayed me. Now, most of this happened at the start of the year, but it began late last year and I was in the middle of this on my birthday last year.

It was a poignant reminder that I am single and have been for a very long time.  Last year I felt like I was on the same path that I’d always been on, that nothing really had changed ever.  I felt frustrated and inhibited by my life and felt like I was making no significant contribution.  It was a very difficult birthday.

But how am I this year? I’m okay. I don’t love birthdays. I do find them difficult.  It’s another year where I’m single (as always), no prospects and facing another year with that major path the same as always hurts. I don’t like it.  But it’s a very different year.

This year my grandma passed away, I dealt with the loss of someone I thought was a friend. It was a year partly of grief. It also was a year of major decisions and life changing choices.    I ended up choosing to obtain my original birth registration and my adoption file it was a profound experience to consider ideas of identity, self, life.  I haven’t finalized this exploration or this path.  But for now, I need to set it aside. I’m not ready to open the door to a reunion, though I suspect I may have found (through the wonders of social media) my biological family.  Will I walk that path one day? Maybe.  Right now I need to concentrate on another path.

As regular readers of this blog (if any are still checking in after my long period of being AWOL!) will know, I’m in nursing school. Making the decision to go back to school was difficult.  I did not want to give up a regular paycheque and the stability of the ‘known’.  But I felt trapped, useless. I was in a job that I was trained to do, but couldn’t see any growth potential. I have things that excite me but nothing in the job that would directly take me to a place where I wanted to go.  Plus, with the instability in biotech I felt like I was trapped in a low paying job with no recourse to building anything better.

So I took the leap and decided to go back to school — nursing school.  So, now, I’m back in an undergraduate program, have little work and no money.  But, I have peace. I know that I’m doing something radical, yet it’s necessary.  It will bring me to a place that will let me make a difference in people’s lives. It may be on a small, individual, scale and being able to affect people’s lives is what matters to me. It’s why I went into research — to make a difference, yet now I have a chance to do it directly.  It’s a major change to my world, but it’s one that’s finally ‘right’.

I spent the early part of the year trying to run and dance as much as I can, though in recent days that’s tapered off.  I’m going to go to Portland for a dance weekend over New Years, and it’s possible that this will be a tapering off of my dancing for the time being.  I LOVE dancing when I’m in other cities, but don’t always love it here.  So I’m trying to plan my time carefully. With so little free time the question becomes ‘how do I want to spend it?’ As one friend has commented — the live music is often better — with those with whom we most enjoy dancing.  So, if I can manage the time, I’m going to try that — I want to make sure that I’m going to have fun in my free time as much as I can and if I can focus on the venues that are open and fun.

And running.  Running is something that’s kept me sane this year. I ran a second marathon. One that stressed me out much less than the first one — I was too busy stressing over school! But, I did it! My second marathon. My life in the fall was intense — I trained for a marathon, worked ~10 hours/week, and was a full time nursing student (in an accelerated program).

So, although my ‘big issue’ — that of relationship and family — hasn’t changed. I can easily say, I’m not the same person I was this time last year. I’m not thrilled about my birthday, but I’m at peace. I’ve made changes that will lead to better things, better days in a mere 16 months.

So I wonder, where will I be this time next year? Will I still be single or will that path take a turn too? This time next year I will have finished most of my courses and will be facing only one more term — my clinical major and my practicum.  I will have started to work as an employed student nurse and will hopefully have clearer steps about what will happen after my program is done (will I leave Vancouver as I hope, or will I decide to stay? What area of practice will I choose?).

This year has been profound, full of transitions. Some transitions I hope continue and I hope for a year of more joyful times in my life. For now, I’m going to stop, enjoy my birthday, finish preparing for Christmas (one more gift to buy and I’ve been sick so need to brave the stores on my birthday… ugh!), and will work on a post of some thoughts and goals about 2010.

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Sometimes I sell myself short, and I’m hard on myself.  The lessons I am learning on a day to day basis are this: Not to sell myself short, to speak — out loud — positive words about myself (even when alone), to recognize when others are speaking falsely and to not own those false words — also, to not speak or think false words about myself.  The challenge to all of this is that when those false words come from someone who I love a lot, whose approval I badly desire, who I want to be proud of me and to see me for who I really am — it has the potential to be damaging. It has damaged.

But, I am learning that my self confidence comes from within, and cannot be dependent on others, even someone I love deeply.  We all look at the world and others through the lens of our own past and experience. I am not the person I was 5 years ago. I’m not the person I was 1 year ago. For that I am thankful.  But what this means is that when I am viewed through a lens that is so clouded that they cannot see me for who I am, I cannot, should  not, let them affect my self confidence.  Indeed, my self confidence should not come from any other person, and for many years I have sought the approval of those most important to me — and allowed these people to dictate my level of self confidence.  I touched on this topic briefly in my epic 445-hits-in-one-hour blog post from a few months ago “Processing Adoption Questions”.  In that post I wrote:

I don’t know where I would fall in that opposition, perhaps growing up my parents would say that I fell into the testing out side of things. But now I am quite sure that I am more responding with ‘acquiescence, compliance and withdrawal’. This is definitely how I now respond to those ripping wounds when I realize that I am rejected by those I care about, the difficulty I have in trusting after that trust has been broken.

And I do believe it’s true – and I’ve learned that it’s not likely due to being adopted that is causing this. But those feelings, they are like ripping wounds when someone who I’ve been trying to please, to make proud of me, on one level to make them love me for who I really am, speaks such damaging, false, words to me.  My natural response has been to hide, to build up walls, to doubt myself. I become nervous about making myself vulnerable and I doubt myself in certain situations (particularly when it comes to relationships).

I am fighting this battle right now after the Challenging Day of a few weeks ago. A good friend of mine called me on it tonight (we were chatting about guys, of course), and she’s right, I was selling myself short, doubting myself. And I’m faced with a choice: I could just hide, not say anything, take the easy way out (and, I’d probably have fun, because the choices I’m faced with in this situation: both are good options).  But if I open myself up, be vulnerable, take the risk I could end up with an amazing option. But if I take the easy road out, I am re-building that wall of ‘safety’ that I’ve been working so hard to take down. I don’t want to do that.  So, I owe it to myself to take the risk: to make the choice to be vulnerable because in the end I think I need to do that, for myself, to be a whole, self confident woman who knows what she wants and how to get it.

And really, in this particular situation where I have a choice to make, and need to risk being vulnerable, it’s a fairly ‘safe’ situation. It’s not the damaging, stressful, “Challenging Day” situation, it’s a good situation, perhaps one of the safest I could find to take the chance to be vulnerable — I’m sure I’m missed.  But I wasn’t ready tonight. I knew I needed to do more thinking first: maybe tomorrow I’ll be ready. But I’m glad for good friends, who recognize when I’m selling myself short and will say ‘enough’. So thanks. 🙂

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I woke up this morning at 5:30am.  The volume on my clock radio was so low it was almost off, but it was loud enough that it registered with me when it turned on and I immediately started thinking again about much of what’s been on my mind this past week.  I slowly got up and got ready to go to the cabin. On my way there, after dealing with the non-contact lens errand (see my earlier post for that story) I made my way to the border where I got stuck in a 2.5 hour long line up. The message board was wrong – there’s a board on Highway 99 that gives the expected border wait times, and it was listed as less than an hour but that was way off.

Needless to say, I was grumpy and hungry and tired.  But I made it to the cabin eventually. I was so tired that I was ready for bed by 5pm. Fortunately being at the cabin means I can relax and do very little, so I had a bath and then dinner. This evening I’m just relaxing and thinking. Processing what’s gone on this last little while. Things are shifting in my life.  I wanted to write ‘I could be wrong…’ but in reality I know that I’m right.  Friendships are shifting and regardless of what directions they each shift I know that they will never be the way they were and, I can also safely say, they wont be as they are right this moment.

I see shifts in several areas of my life. Some things are not directly related to me and others are more personal.  I’ve mentioned several times recently that I find the unknown challenging.  I’ve often said in the past that I don’t like changes but that’s not true.  I am potentially pretty happy about some changes that could be on the horizon – those for myself and those less connect to me that I see arising.  But what I do realize is that while I may be happy with the changes that are on the horizon, I don’t enjoy the unknown.

In some ways today has been a day of a tiny bit of grieving.  The changes may be good, but what was, will never be again and because the future is not known I don’t yet know if those changes will be better than the past.  Because it’s unknown I’ve been going through a range of emotions: excitement, happiness, joy, confidence, sadness, anger, frustration and confusion.

So this weekend at the cabin is very needed.  It’s a time for me to process, relax, and find my joy so I’m ready for fun next weekend.  What I am starting to realize is that these feelings are normal in this uncertain time; it doesn’t mean that I’m really angry at the situation or at any particular person, and some of the feeling I have are not even directly related to these changes.  What it does mean is that I need to make sure to maintain my self confidence in this uncertain time, find that joy that I know is important and be courageous to take some risks.

One of the things on my mind lately also relates to church.  Most of those who know me who read this blog know that, though I don’t talk about church much here, it’s been a major part of my life for many years – with the exception of this past year.  I’m not going to go into the story of this past year – at least at the moment – but part of what I’m thinking about and part of the emotions of this past week involves this side of my life. I’ve missed it but haven’t felt ready to go back to my church (where I’m known). Right now, I’m still not sure I’m ready but being that I’m at the cabin, I do feel ready to visit a church that I don’t normally go to. No one there knows me, and I don’t have to explain things.  So tomorrow, part of this weekend of processing, I will go to a small chapel that’s here at the cabin.  I don’t know what it’ll bring but it’s a step that I am ready to take.  Maybe it will mean it’s time to go back to my church, but I need this ‘invisible’ church first before I know what’s next.

So for now those many emotions are swirling around and for right this second I’m going to set aside the harder emotions and smile with a positive outlook at the potential for the future. And with that on my mind I am going to go to sleep so that I can get up early for the first Sunday in a very long time.

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Have you ever felt like you know that life is changing? Things in my life are in flux. There’s nothing obviously different, but as a friend said to me (about my life) in an email today “I have been feeling like everything is massively shifting”. I have started to feel like my life is really shifting. I don’t know how it’s going to be different but I feel as though my life in 2009 will look very different than it does right now.

I often use the analogy of a path when thinking of my life, but right now I feel like I’ve entered a room. I’m just at the entrance and there are multiple exit doors. The room is pretty big and the doors are far enough away that I can’t tell which doors are real, which doors are just painted frescoes, which doors are real but locked and which door is real and unlocked.

I hate this place. I am fine dealing with what is known, good or bad, I find it stressful not knowing where things are at. Things feel like nothing is actually different, but I’m at that phase that is about to shift. What’s frustrating is that I don’t have control over much of this change. When it involves other people, I guess I have to learn to release control.

I was talking with a friend last night and I was pretty vague about what the changes were, this friend knows me, and may even read this blog (not sure though), but we were talking about life and I mentioned some gossip about friends in Seattle that eventually may mean we wont be able to stay there as often. It made me think, too, about my life. One door could take me much more frequently to Seattle – but this door may be locked, or a fresco. Another door could keep me in Vancouver with a reduction in my trips to Seattle. This door is the one that I hope is the unlocked door — if I can be patient enough to wait for it to be presented to me. But it might be locked.  Yet another door could keep me here but could lead to me being a student again.  This door is separate from the others I have been referring to, and is unlocked, I just can’t see beyond it, so I don’t know if it’s one I should walk through it — or not.  Another door was presented to me today that could take me away from this area altogether.

This last door is related to the test I took last June and I’ve received information that could lead to a job and all the cities are well far away from here. The other doors were more personal or my work-related doors don’t affect the personal doors. This door would transform my life entirely.

So do I know what 2009 looks like? No. I have guesses what the doors are, but I suspect that there also could be another door or a combination of the doors that will really be the ones that open. But I have a hard time being patient. I have no choice, though.

So this frustrating week has ended, and I’m going to keep going with my usual intent of choosing to do each day what I need to be happy. And tonight, I’m going to go with my continuous backup plan — and I will enjoy it because it’s a good start to a very long weekend. Hopefully this time of flux will come to an end before too long and I will try to find the enjoyment in this season. I haven’t found it yet, but it must be here, right?

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