I jokingly said that to a neighbor at my going-away dinner. We were talking about the impending move, and how I was actually excited (mostly), to get outta town. I’d been wading in immaturity for too long, and it was time to move on…
I thought about that today as I looked back at the changes I’ve fostered since I’ve been in PA: my drinking and smoking have dropped substantially, I’m exercising at a pre-graduate school level, and I’m eating pretty damn healthy. I’m engaged in my health at an unparalleled level. I joke with my friends that the culprit is ennui: I have nothing better to do! Not enough work, no friends here, what else but perfect my smoothie game and craft those abs I haven’t had since 22? (and! so far so good: I got into a pair of shorts that have been a liiiiiittle too tight for about 2 years… and gasp! This time, they *weren’t*! WOOT!)
I’m making an unprecedented effort at my mental health too. It helps that I’m not (as) bat-shit crazy, but beyond that milestone, I’ve thrust all those creative or self-fulfilling pursuits I’ve felt too busy to pursue – wanting to read more, to write more, to practice photography more, to (finally) learn another instrument – to the front of the priority line (second fiddle only to finding that second job). I still get a bit scatterbrained when the evening arrives, when I’ve exercised and eaten, and then… well… then what? I still have to take a breath, and remind myself that there is no rush to pick up one c(h)ord or another. I have nothing but time… at least for the time being… ha. I’ve become preoccupied with a self-betterment program (I literally just started calling it that, at this moment), because I realized I was neglecting those parts of myself for so long, mostly because I was trying to find that satisfaction in other people and things.
The exclamation recurred to me yet again while I was perusing my email this morning and came across a message from my lovely grad school wifey, V. She was forwarding me an article called, “How to Spot an Emotional Grown-up.” Her synopsis read thusly:
“Sometimes I read goop, even though it is often pointless and/or classist. But I like this article on emotional maturity in relationships. It made me think of relationship bingo and my upcoming blog post on tinder messaging.” (Coming soon, gentle readers).
I had some time to kill… literally, I was in a waiting room, so I took a gander. The hosting interface and the debate over it’s intrinsic value aside, this piece was well written, informative, and thoughtful. Naturally it gave me stuff to ponder, an additional level-up on the emotional health: it made me aware that I was very emotionally immature until just recently (I hope and pray). I spent too long agonizing over my breakups, picking them apart like carrion. I was a pendulum of extreme reactions. I would swing from a self-deprecating “it was all my fault” melancholy, to enraged, bitter, shoving all the blame onto them. They weren’t blameless, exactly, but neither was I. I participated in a level of behavior that I abhor in other people: refusing to acknowledge when you’re wrong. And, according to this article, “emotional grown ups own their shit.” So I’m trying to do that these days…
All in all, there were several components to this article that I had gleaned already: EGU’s use language thoughtfully (learned that one from watching my parents: they always fought fair. There was no name calling, no keeping score, no hitting below the belt), EGU’s have empathy for others (I seriously don’t understand people that can’t do this. It’s like, the first thing you learn in kindergarten, the golden fuckin’ rule, ya know?), and there were some nuggets that I needed reminding of, specifically, EGU’s love and care for themselves:
“In the end, people need to be responsible for their own well-being.” Historically I have been pretty selfless, and pretty needy in my romantic relationships. I blame it on a constantly wavering sense of self-worth and a fear of feeling lonely… I think I will always battle with those emotional landmines. I will always struggle a little bit, navigating my social needs with self-preservation, reminding myself that I am worthy of a committed relationship, that I deserve unconditional love. But one of the things that PA has done for me is forcing me to be independent again, and to be content with my own company. The journey began before I got here, but my routine has really solidified it lately. I have a hard time getting myself out there, not being reclusive. I’m not sure why. I like going out and doing shit. I think, sometimes going out and doing shit, though, amplifies the thought that I am alone, and that, right now, I have no one to share those experiences with. And that kind of sucks.
The silver lining, is these days the healthy mind and body changes keep me stable, and they keep things in perspective for me. I kind of look at it like, by devoting this time period to myself, I’m effectively distancing myself from those emotional immaturities. It’s like weening off an addiction; sometimes you gotta go cold turkey. Plus, (and I don’t think this belies my previous statement) I think of it as making myself that much better, that much more deserving, for the next relationship, whenever it comes about…. ‘Cause, ya know, I can’t have a healthy, adult relationship until… well… until I grow the fuck up.
On a lighter, warm and happy note, here’s a whimsical nugget of an article I came across the other day, that made my heart smile: “I Want to be Single – But With You,” by Isabelle Tessier. I felt like it was the heart to the previous article’s head approach to an emotionally healthy relationship. Love and logic, two sides of the same coin.
Current Jam: Still obsessed with new Death Cab: “No Room in Frame” (and still “Little Wanderer,” let’s be real).