March 10, 2013

What Condition My Condition Was In

Last time, I said that I was going to take some time to step away from this whole thing. And for the most part, I was true to my vow. I took the week off — I tried to stop worrying, tried to stop obsessing  tried to distract myself. And happily, it has seemed to work.

I’ve been using water metaphors pretty consistently, so here’s another one: the tide has ebbed. No, that doesn’t mean the water is gone (I’m typing this with red-tipped fingers), just that it’s stopped rushing up the beach. It’s pulled back, leaving the land wet but visible. Some things have been exposed in the sand, while some new things have been left there by the rushing waters. I’ve been examining them all. Some things have been water-damaged, to be sure; a few things might even be ruined; but the rest of it will dry out in time. A few things even appear to have been waterproof.

Despite the conversation we had last weekend, my relationship with my wife continues to be better than it had been through thirteen years of marriage. We talk more; we share more; I notice things about her that I’d overlooked before (or deliberately ignored), and I try to show her that I appreciate her for those things. Saturday night we curled up on the couch with a couple of beers and some bad television, and ended up falling asleep in each other’s arms. It still crushes my heart that I may lose her in order to be myself, but in the meantime I’m going to appreciate this weird but pleasant limbo our marriage has landed in.

I have heard the advice “This is a marathon, not a sprint” from so many people that I should probably have it on a t-shirt. But this week has proved them all right. Frankly, until my first t-centered therapeutic encounter on Tuesday night, there’s NOTHING that fretting was going to do to help me. Luckily, I was able to distract myself for long enough this week to understand that.

The fret and worry won’t be going away. It’s not in my nature. But I think I’ve finally stopped trying to sprint. Slow and steady wins the race.

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