I have been here before. In a physical sense, on this couch and in front of this iBook G4, many times - often, regularly and recently. Wanting to… no, needing to write something and not just anything. Oh, yes… again often, regularly and recently. And of course, at the same time, not wanting to do the kind of writing I must complete before this semester ends. This is nothing new. Even that acute sense of urgency that is growing by the day is a re-run of sorts. And although my immediate (not long-term) emotional status has taken a turn for the worse, it, too, is not unfamiliar ground. But at least in this last respect, the often, regular and recent qualifiers can be dropped.
The nearly five-month relationship I have been involved in has come to an end. I don’t want to get into the “he said/she said” of it all, but I was the one who broke it off. I don’t want to write about it; I was trying not to, but this is where the words are leading me. It had to do with a difference of perception and it has become abundantly apparent to me that the chasm is too wide and too deep to be bridged. It has been an underlying issue from the beginning and although successfully ignored for periods of time, it never went away. Love might make the world go around, but it is not enough to maintain a successful relationship.
I have been here before, but this time it’s different. Time has passed, experience has been acquired, wisdom has been gained. The right way is often not the easy way while the easy way becomes so much harder – eventually. I am almost 46 – maybe I have finally started to grow up. Perhaps this is one of those lessons in life that has eluded me all of these years. Is it possible that I have finally learned to sacrifice instant gratification for a long-term serenity? I don’t presume to know the answer, but I can say that in the moment, this very moment, it is not easy.
But lots of things aren’t easy. In fact, I have spent the last five years doing things that are not easy. True, the emotional element might not have been as pronounced, but the resolve to do what is right in the face of what is easy has become the norm rather than the exception. I am now at a crossroads in my education. Getting accepted to grad school was hard, being a grad student is even harder. With just about four weeks to go and two very large research papers still to write, it is more than crunch-time; it is life or death scholastically. There are no second chances - failure will be a permanent condition; grad school was “Plan B,” I don’t have a “Plan C.”
Will I make it? My network of friends and my family are convinced I will. I wish I were as confident. I have become accustomed to doing what it takes for long-term results, sacrificing instant gratification for the lasting rewards of persistent effort. Although it might seem odd to apply the same paradigm to interpersonal relationships, the parallels are there and moreover, the different facets of life - of my life – are inseparable. It took a long time to learn one of life's basic lessons - not only is it not easy, it’s not supposed to be.
And right now it's not easy, but I’ve been here before. This time I have the fortitude it takes to let go, move on and be grateful for all that was and all that will be.
To paraphrase William Shakespeare:
Discretion is the better part of valor.