I try to live my life by the idea that happiness is a decision you make, not something you wait to happen to you. With that in mind, I’ve made all sorts of decisions that, apparently, are difficult for many people. Moving across the country to get a PhD in something I’d basically never heard of. Starting a relationship/sex blog. Most recently, quitting my job as a teaching assistant at the U and moving to another city to live with my boyfriend–without even having a job.
My best friend often says that my ability to pursue the path I think is right for me regardless of whether it’s easy or not is one of the qualities she admires the most about me. However, I have to admit that this move has been fucking tough. I could really relate when I read Holly Hoffman’s post on Introducing a New Person Into Your Life, but I couldn’t help but think–what about when you’re the new person? Because although we’ve been together over two years, I haven’t been trying to incorporate my man into an existing routine. I’ve completely changed everything about my life and have been trying to build a new routine–in some ways an easier thing, but in other ways much harder.
When I lived in Flagstaff, I had a totally cute apartment walking distance from practically everything. I had a great group of women friends who met for brunch every Sunday. I had job security (if you can call $12K a year secure) with supportive colleagues and supervisors. Now admittedly since I started the 260mi/week commute in September (that’s roundtrip, thank goodness) I had to give up some of those things. I worked only 3 days/week so that I could spend 4 days in Phoenix, so I had less contact with my colleagues. In spending the weekends in Phoenix I had to give up Sunday brunches, so I didn’t spend much time with my friends. But still, overall I was spending 3 days a week living on my own (without even my cats, which had moved to Phoenix when the BF did), walking over 2 miles on each of those days and eating fresh salads and dinners from an independent grocery store 2 blocks from my house. Then I moved to Phoenix. Full-time.
Phoenix is HUGE, and while freeways certainly beat surface streets, it’s been a tough switch for someone who was used to walking everywhere. Plus it’s WAY hotter in Phoenix than Flagstaff (108 isn’t unusual here) so even driving somewhere I have to steel myself to get into the car. I’ve been alone at my house applying to jobs all day and so don’t see anyone. It’s very lonely, which has made it difficult to be sympathetic to the BF’s desire to go upstairs, play with the dog, and decompress from his day at work (spent around tons of busy professionals) before hanging out with me each night.
When I was single I was never clingy around a new guy (ha! the opposite), and in fact despised those girls whose self-worth depended upon being in a relationship and who were clingy to the point of annoying when they were with a guy. And while I intellectually understood that moving to a place where I didn’t have a job and didn’t know anyone but him were part and parcel of the decisions I needed to make to move our relationship forward, I didn’t realize at first how much this was going to affect me–and thus, our relationship–in a negative way. Not only was I depending on him for entertainment and intellectual validation (since looking for a job provides neither of those things), I was becoming possessive, needy, and moody. What to do?
1.) Working out. We’d joined LA Fitness together in January but hadn’t been going very regularly. And, to be honest, the gym had kind of become one of the sites of my neediness–doing all the same machines whenever we went and making excuses for not going if he wasn’t with me. So I kicked that in the butt and started going to some cardio classes. The Latin Dance class was a bust, but the Cardio Kickboxing was awesome, and they offer that class 4x/week. I’m definitely the sort of person who needs company to exercise, but I’m realizing that there was no reason to put that need on him.
2.) Networking. My sorority alum club (go Kappa Delta!) has movie nights every couple of weeks over the summer while the club is on hiatus. I’ve already met some women and seen The Happening (horrible movie–do not see!) and have plans for Wanted next week. Usually the BF has to drag me to movies (I’m a tv girl) so he’s been kinda jealous that I’ve been making plans without him to see movies that HE was interested in. Nice! Beats him coming home and feeling sorry for me.
3.) Blogging. Lance and I have been brainstorming ways to move the site forward, keep a great experience for you all, and keep challenging ourselves. Plus I love the virtual community we have going on. Ironically, it’s a faster way to meet people I have a lot in common with than any in-person way.
4.) Otherwise getting out of the house. I had a job interview last Thursday that went well (I have a second round interview last week) and getting out of the house improved my mood so much that I have tried to run some errands every day that lead to me getting out of the house. Whether it’s running to the bank to drop off my stimulus check, picking up the dry cleaning, or buying a new purse, anything that gets me showered and out of my pajamas is a good thing.
5.) Lowering my expectations. It’s one thing to have high expectations for his intellect, sense of humor, professional ambition, and talent in the sack. It’s another thing entirely to expect him to acquiesce to my every whim, never do anything without me, and respond to my every story and statement in exactly the way that I wish he would. I’ve been making an active effort to do things on my own and reach out to other friends for some things so that the burden isn’t all on him.
Perhaps it was the jump start I got when I finally had a job interview last week, but I’ve been happier, busier, and more independent in the last 6 days than I had been in the previous 6 weeks. Lately I’d forgotten to decide to be happy, but now I have high hopes about what’s to come.