The Next Stage

I’m a late bloomer I guess. My teens & 20s were all about having fun, exploring, trying everything at least once. Nothing was ever permanent. Nothing lasted. And really that’s the way I liked it. Even though there was a lot of drama, even though there was a lot of depression and many upsets … I was the girl who would quit her job on Tuesday and be on the train moving to Toronto by Thursday night. Snap! Next!

My 30s were all about finding myself and understanding who I am, what makes me tick, what I want and don’t want. I spent seven years totally single, no men at all, because it was all about me. I quit smoking. I got a job I love. I became spiritual. I accepted my parents for who they are. I eliminated a lot of negativity (and negative people) from my life. I accepted responsibility for my thoughts & feelings. I found an inner calm and I like to believe, a new wisdom. As volatile as the early years were, the years spent working it through were more difficult. It’s hard to be honest with yourself. It’s hard to be responsible.

And now I’m 40 and the next stage surprises even me. First I met J, online of all places, then I uprooted to be with him and now we’re getting married.

It was a strange weekend. Friday night we had our first real fight. I mean a “real” fight. With me speaking a little too loudly to him in the grocery store then going completely silent while I tried to hide my tears. With him throwing his dinner, plate and all, in the garbage. With me throwing not only plates but chairs as he just walked away and went outside. What was the fight about? Lots of things. Nothing. Just regular day to day living stuff. Trust me, it’s not as easy as one might think to go from a big 2-bedroom apartment with a huge view to a little 5th wheel with all the shades drawn. It’s not easy to go from having your own washer/dryer to a scuzzy sometimes scary laundromat. It’s not easy to feel comfortable in a new culture filled with racism and violence. So basically I blew up from stress that has been mounting bit by bit for weeks which needed to be finally released. The result–a knockdown drag out!

But after the initial eruption came communication. It always does. We’ve had little fights before. He knows enough to walk away, to go outside and give us a minute to cool down. He also knows enough not to leave the dooryard in a huff. We take a few minutes to calm and then we talk and figure it out. I’ve never had this before. I made a life built on relationships where everything was swept under the rug and never dealt with. We know how to work things through, and that is a good thing.

Saturday came with his work Xmas party and him pissed at people about something that happened Friday. He drank a little too much. I only had 3 glasses of wine from 5-9pm. I worried he’d say something to someone that he’d later regret. And I think he might have in a moment when he went to the bar without me. We mingled at cocktail hour. We sat through the speeches and prizes. We ate … and then we got the hell out of there! Our room was lovely with squirrels and birds in the trees surrounding our balcony that overlooked a lake with the rock, Stone Mountain, in the distance. Big screen tv. Down duvets. I could have slept forever, it was so comfortable. A full-sized bath that we took advantage of twice to shower together. We try to shower in ours but it’s too small, and last weekend he fell out and tore the curtain all to hell (not to mention nearly killed himself) when we suddenly got a burst of hot water and there was no place for him to go to get out of the stream.

Sunday morning we had our best morning ever. Why was it so good? We had coffee in bed and cuddled and kissed for hours. We wrapped ourselves in duvets and slipped in and out from the balcony while he smoked. We lingered until the last possible minute and then we drove. He can show me every place he’s ever laid pipe. And he does. And it’s a lot in the greater Atlanta area. We drive and he tells me stories from the jobs he remembers as we pass the places.

I thought we were going to the grocery store and then home to do laundry. But we ended up at the Stonecrest Mall. His favourite store, Victoria Secret, 3 pairs of panties for $30. I let him pick the colours. Going into the jewellery store almost seemed like a whim, but he had it in mind. We had looked at rings at KMart before though, so it didn’t seem to be such a big deal. But then just like that I had said that one is nice, a style I would like, and then it was out of the case and suddenly I was being measured and he was being measured and we were sending them out to be resized. Our rings. Ready for Thursday pick-up. They’ll call.

We walked out of there 15 minutes later, officially engaged. My stomach was flip flopping. He bought me a hot pretzel because I’d never had one before. We went to Target and got a new whisk. We’re getting married. I don’t know when and I don’t know where, but I know we are and I know it’s the right thing.

Maybe I’m a late bloomer or maybe I inadvertently lucked out by living the way I did because now I’m whole and I can be a good partner to someone. I dunno. But I know that I’m ready. I’m ready for this next stage and I’m excited about it.

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