Sometimes, to get from where we are to where we want to be, we have to be willing to be in-between. It can feel like being lost in the woods.
One of the hardest things we have to do as we grow and change is let go of what is old and familiar, what we don’t want and be willing to stand there empty-handed and wait for something new to appear. As human beings with brilliant minds, we long for meaning when standing in the dark.
Being in-between might mean being without work, or not having a love relationship. We ache from it, long for it, need it, deserve it, want it and yet, the time is not right. We have to clear out a place in us before we can receive the next best thing.
Letting go of the familiar is frightening even when people, places, things and ways of coping have not gotten us even a smidgen closer to what we want and deserve. That is exactly why we often keep settling.
We ask ourselves when our gut is churning, or we feel a subtle but persistent restlessness whether or not we need to just accept things as they are. The choir in our heads tells us that we are “unrealistic”, that we expect too much, or that we are acting like a child and need to just grow up. We all know what being grown up means… giving up the joy that only children are allowed. The choir members are never our own authentic voices. They are onion-layered chatter of well-meaning people who contributed to our being lost in the woods in the first place.
So we stand here without answers, directions or even the sun to guide us out. We can hardly stand it! And we must stand there and wait. By surrendering, we can make our time in the woods shorter by simply quieting our minds and thanking those voices of fear that served a useful purpose in the past by keeping us safe. Then, we stop fighting. Like falling into a rushing river, the way we stay alive is not by thrashing and gasping for air. We must allow the river to support us and trust it. Float for a while, notice the beauty of the woods, breathe in the night sky and trust that when you have made room in your heart and you are open to the unexpected and no longer afraid of letting go of the used-up familiar, you will have your answers.
Friends can be a really important source of honest feedback when we want it or when we don’t. They can see things we might miss and they can project their unfinished business on our lives and a burgeoning new relationship we’ve just begun to explore.
First of all, friends take many forms and we need to know which friends to ask when we want some guidance. You see, each of us has our gifts and talents in the scheme of life. Some of our friends are great when we need encouragement to take risks. They cheer us on when we say, “I gotta get out of this job!” Another friend may not be a risk taker and the very thought of you saying you are going to start a new venture terrifies them. To reduce THEIR anxiety, those friends will try to squash that idea before it even comes out of your mouth. Be sure, however to go to them when you are trying to decide which microwave is the best value!
When you meet a new person and your lives begin to merge in wonderful ways, friends, yours and theirs, will be part of that mix. It’s important however that you and your new sweetheart take time to get to know each other before those intros begin.
It’s an odd thing, but in my experience men seem to have some need to introduce you to their old girlfriends. Unlike women, they often stay in touch with them over time. I’m not sure about the reasons for this interesting gender difference, but it can be strange and unnerving to me if that happens even before he knows my favorite restaurant, or that I have a shellfish allergy. Your new relationship really needs a more firm foundation before you add intros to your old flames. Better yet, perhaps the question is whether those intros needs to happen at all
At some point, it’s important to meet each other’s friends. They can give you valuable information about him or her. But spend enough time as a new couple experiencing both joyful and more stressful situations so that as my BFF says, ” you can see how he behaves when a tire goes flat.” Develop your own feelings and opinions and continue to keep your eyes wide open early in your relationship so that friends can add to what you already know or feel. They may see things you haven’t yet seen and those observations might turn out to be really valuable when your own head comes out of the pink cloud. Trust yourself first, then you will be able to listen with an open mind to what others who love you feel about your new-found love.
Living in a traffic-congested area can give new meaning to “long-distance dating”. I live a stone’s throw from the most congested traffic merging zone in the entire state of California and can watch the crawl on the “80’s” when I’m having trouble sleeping at night. It’s bad! So, when single folks are looking for love and live in an area where traffic controls their lives, dating someone across the bridge can be as challenging as if they lived across the country.
Fortunately, most people don’t have traffic crazies most of the time, so the choices about how far someone lives from them isn’t as much an issue. Some people live in isolated areas, however. Sweet small towns where people know your business before you do. There is not an endless supply of “fresh flesh” coming into town, so what do you do about that?? And, believe it or not, some people have more than one home, so how do you find love when you are on the move? I’m suddenly feeling like that traffic thing isn’t so bad after all.
Here are a few things to think about when you are deciding how far you can go (no, not that!).
- How far are you willing to drive should that person you meet for coffee turn out to be someone you’d swim the Amazon to see again? It can happen.
- How flexible is your life that might enable you to travel during off-peak traffic jam hours?
- If that person lives in a city where you’ve always said, “I’d never live there!”, consider what you would do if he/she wasn’t able or willing to move
- Living on an island or peninsula is fabulous, but limiting. How open are you to meeting people outside your immediate surrounds? Once again…if it is “the one”, are you flexible about moving or is he/she? And, how do you find that out when you begin to date without sounding like a desperate person who is asking about that wayyyyyy too early?
- What if you see in someone’s profile that they live and work in a city and they state they are looking for someone within 5 miles of their address, but you REALLLY want to meet them? Do you contact them anyway?
These questions come up often when we are dating online. The answer is a very personal one, but there are a few things that I think apply to us all…
- If you know you are going to be carried out feet first from the house or space where you currently live, honor it and look for someone who might like to join you right where you are.
- Open to adventure? The world is your oyster and you can have fun meeting people all over the country, the world or perhaps even someone who plans to be on Elon Musk’s first passenger shuttle to Mars.
- Closer to home, but traffic is an issue? Be sure that both people are realistic and willing to do the drive and figure it out. If you feel resistance at the early stages such as, “Good Lord, I’m not gonna do that again!” be a realist and enjoy your coffee before you say “good luck in finding someone.
It’s up to you to decide how flexible or committed you are to living here, there or anywhere. If you are certain about that issue, don’t waste your time or another person’s time getting to know them. If on the other hand, some part of you says, “I want love and will stay open to finding it wherever it is.”Then keep looking for love and imagine that the person you are seeking feels the same. See what happens. Sometimes we end up in places we never ever thought we’d be. It keeps us young and vibrant to embrace change and love is most always worth it.