Upgrading

This is the beginning of a post I started and found in my drafts folder:

Everyone who has ever used a computer (or at least a PC) has gotten that message that x software has an upgrade available.  I hate that message, and postpone upgrading as long as possible.  I wonder what the upgrade is going to offer me when I already have a perfectly functional piece of software.  I think it’s part of me being a Taurean and not liking change.

I approached relationships in the same way. When I got into a new one recently, I didn’t expect it to be that much different from the old one.  I mean, new face and hopefully good times, but same general pattern.  I was not aware that I was in for a serious upgrade.

The rest of the post was supposed to be about how much more awesome my new relationship was compared to my old one.  In brief: very much more.  My last relationship was full of drudgery and depression, and though I clung on with all my strength, there was very little to cling on to, and he just disengaged.  Needless to say, things are very different when you’re both in love.  Nobody disengages, and you’re a lot happier to be with each other.

I rather like the idea of this post–it is an interesting reflection on how far I’ve come and how much happier I am, and rather hopeful, I think, that things can get better.  I admit I didn’t think they would.  I thought what I experienced was simply how you get treated–not true!

But as I went back to add, I realized all the details I thought I would bring up, comparisons which were so fresh and specific in October, have faded away in February.  I also found another post where I was planning to write to my ex via the blogosphere and tell him all the angry stuff I never did because we tried to be friends for awhile after (and failed).  But again, I find myself stumped as to what I would say.  I’m simply not angry enough to write that letter anymore.

My last (and only other) relationship haunted me like a shadow for years.  It ended surprisingly and badly, and killed my confidence in a lot of ways.  I would constantly draw from it and think about it.  What went wrong?  What was wrong with me?  How could I stop that from happening again?  Why couldn’t he love me?  Why was the next girl he met ‘the one’?  I exorcised my feelings for the guy in a healthy amount of time, but there was so much unresolved, so little closure that I still felt it at the dawn of my new relationship.

Now, though, that time seems very far away indeed, a distant and irrelevant past.  I can’t recall why it made me upset.  If I think about it really hard, I can sort of remember some details.  But they don’t seem important anymore.  I’m happy.  I’m getting married.  Ten years ago no longer matters–I was a kid then anyway.

Surprisingly, I find myself in a place where all that heartache doesn’t matter anymore.  My ex pops up every so often under the ‘people you may know’ banner on Facebook.  I think to myself ‘Why yes, I do know him.’  I even find myself half curious about what he’s up to.  But in the end it doesn’t matter.  In one of my other favorite books, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Johnny Nolan breaks up with a girl by saying “You go your way, and I’ll go mine.”  That’s what we’ve done.  He’s somewhere, doing…something chemistry related.  I’m leading a good life.  We’re not part of each other anymore.

So in the end, I’ve gone beyond a software upgrade.  I’ve gone for a whole new operating system, and it’s so shiny and efficient that I forgot all the bugs of the old one, or even how it operated.  Does anyone even remember Windows 3.1?  Exactly.

And that, my friends, is what they call closure.

Castles on the Ground

Back in October I posted about all the daydreaming I was doing both to myself and aloud with the bf.  At the time I wondered if perhaps I was nuts, thinking about weddings and kids with him, but forging ahead all the same.

I did try to temper my language.  I added a couple of conditional ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’ into my conversation.  I tried not to count my chickens.  I had moved far too fast before, and I remember in that other life having several conversations where I created this pool metaphor that I had jumped into the deep end and the ex was still wading in the shallows.  Turns out he didn’t want to get wet at all.  But with the fiance, if I use the same metaphor, we held hands and held our noses and jumped right in together.  It turns out that while I was fantasizing about my future with the fiance even at the end of August, he was thinking of the same thing.  After the proposal, I asked him when he knew he wanted to ask me.  “Not to seem too freakish,” he said, “But by the end of August, I knew.  By September, I started planning how.”  So Velociraptor and Stormageddon weren’t jokes.  Hmm….

Nothing makes me feel safer or happier than to know he and I have always been on exactly the same page.  It is the dream of every single girl.  After all, SATC devoted multiple arcs to the fact that Carrie and Big were in different places. But it is weird to have a sudden change of mind.

I spent a lot of time fantasizing about the life that would be–what my wedding would be like, what my kids would be like, but the fantasies were very hazy edged, as if I was scared to come too close to them and find out they were only ghosts.  Suddenly I’m realizing that these things are no longer fantasies.  This *will* be my life.  And in it’s own way, that’s a bit alarming.

In Les Miserables, one of my favorite books, the abused and neglected Cosette stares in rapture at a doll for sale at a Christmas market.  When Jean Valjean enters onto the scene and gives it to her, she all but runs away from it.  That’s how I feel, I think.  I have wished for this thing but never thought I would get it.  Now that I have it, I’m not entirely sure what to do with it.  Now motherhood is not a vague, far-off dream but a reality that I may have to face earlier than I might choose in a relationship.  Now I can look at the computer screen and see, for sure, the face of the father of my children.  The man I’m going to spend the rest of my life with.   The man I’m going to through thick and thin with.  The fact that this is very real makes the whole thing feel very solemn.  Not sad or sober, but solemn–serious, though happy.

And then there’s a host of things I’m not ready for.  When you’re single, you see falling in love and engagement as the end of the road.  The journey’s over, the quest complete.  But now that that journey is in fact over, I see I’m starting a whole other one.  There is a new road before me, and it’s hard to see.  I see people on reality tv whose marriages have crumbled and I wonder–how does that happen?  How can I stop it?  I start to worry about what problems we’ll face–because I know there will be some.  We are having a very old fashioned marriage in that we won’t have lived together beforehand.  What is in store for us that first year, deemed by so many as the hardest?  I think what’s troubling is that I have no coping mechanisms for this.  I knew how to deal with being single, though I hated it.  Being married is a whole new ballgame.  I’ll love it, I know–I’ve always wanted to be married.  But it is an unfamiliar place to be.

So no more dreams–the life I always wanted is a reality, and that is awesome in both the sense of being really, really cool, but also inspiring awe in me, and a bit of fear.  But as Kant suggests with the theory of the sublime, we are drawn to the things we fear, because we like the thrill.  That is definitely true here.