Healthy relationships grow and change constantly and they can be the hardest relationships to maintain. Healthy relationships require our constant attention and willingness to continue to put work into them. Without that willingness, relationships can easily become stagnant. Within the growth and change are also some key foundational aspects that may always stay the same. Sometimes this takes some investigating to find.
I lovingly refer to Brian and me as awkward introverts. We weren't taught by our parents how to be easily social and it's something that is extremely difficult for both of us. The easiest way for us to be social is if we are in charge of something (like our past running group) so that people seek us out to start a conversation. It's strange to us that most people like us, but we always have the same voice running through our heads telling us that no one will ever like us.
We love being together and it's easy for us to be together... we are at our best when we are together. We can be together and have deep conversations, silly conversations or no conversation at all. We have learned how to give each other a safe space to be exactly who we are. I mean, we live in 600 sq ft together and love every moment of it.
A few years ago we took a vacation to San Francisco. This is a place that most people love and we were told by many people the things that we HAD to see. As soon as we got off of the plane, we drove to the Golden Gate Bridge and forced ourselves to walk across it (because we were told it was something we HAD to do - all the while knowing we would hate it and just wanted to cross it off of our list). It was HORRIFYING. I had a huge panic attack the entire time we walked (looking back now, I realize we may have only made it a few hundred feet). I shamefully watched as little kids strolled across the bridge with seemingly no fear at all. San Francisco was not for us.
When we got back to our car, we looked at each other and said, "What are we doing? This isn't us. We're miserable." Brian suggested we find a laid-back restaurant off the beaten path and he found the perfect spot for us. From that moment on, we made the trip what we love... quiet; slow-pace; places with the least amount of people; wine tasting with strangers who shared their life stories with us; small towns; and strolling or hiking outside. After that, we had few set plans - we followed our hearts and went where they led us.
We find the more we try to plan something (or over-think it), the more things generally don't work out the way we want them to. If we follow what people tell us we HAVE to see, we're almost always miserable.
For 24 years we have talked about finding a place where we could see stars... I mean, tons of stars.
This past November, we decided to take a short vacation. Brian's mom had just passed away and we wanted to get away to a quiet and relaxing place. We started searching through rental places. When I first saw a listing for one place, I skipped over it a couple of times. I proceeded to look at different places, but one kept coming back to me. I finally looked and sent it to Brian - telling him that it may not be exactly what we thought we were looking for, but it said it had views of the stars. We were in!
When we pulled into the place, we knew it was our perfect place. It was surrounded by mountains, slow-paced, had hiking nearby (where it was only us and no other humans - our most favorite thing of all), animals and it was quiet. Just what we needed and what we had been looking for for years now.
Later that night, we lit a fire outside and cuddled up together. We shared a glass of wine and just sat back. We listened to the coyotes and dogs exchange warnings. And then it happened, the night sky fell and... oh my god... the stars! It was magical.
It can be extremely difficult (and scary) to turn away from what the world tells you that you have to do. It can be extremely frustrating in taking the time to figure out, "Who are we and what we do like to do?" The world will always be there to tell you what you must do. Every time that happens and you find yourself miserable or angry, it can be another opportunity for you to say, "We're ready! Let's do this! Let's figure out how to make OUR life happen!" Every frustration can be an opportunity to follow your own heart.
Music is often the way that is easiest for Brian and me to express ourselves. It's always been a shared love of ours.
Brian is an amazing artist. He loves to write, play and produce music. It's been helpful for his grieving process of his amazing mom. In celebration of our magical trip in November, Brian wrote this song, "Mermaids In the Mountains" and it's available for purchase. Enjoy!
Make your life happen!