Journeys are funny things. The twists and turns they take. How we end up where we are only to take another step and head somewhere else. I like observing the journey, both my own and other people's. I'm not always a fan of just living in the middle of it not knowing what will happen next but as an Open Theist I believe there is an infinite range of possibilities of what could happen. God is there guiding, hoping and helping us, but the choices are ours. For sure our life will not just be impacted by our own choices; an often unfortunate fact is that other people's choices wildly impact our life as well. Sometimes we rage and stomp our feet that this is so and other times we're so thankful that someone made the choice they did.
My journey has been convoluted, a mixed bag of good and bad choices. Blessing and curse. Some of the good choices were mine and some of the bad ones were as well. And sometimes other people's bad choices really negatively affected my journey. It's very difficult to come to terms with that, peace is hard won in those situations. It takes work to forgive. (there's a whole lesson here in forgiveness that it's work and not a light switch) But different times someone else's good choices really positively affected my journey, in ways that I totally have not deserved.
Shortly after my marriage ended I swore off remarriage completely. I decided f this; I got life. On my own. No more men fucking up my journey. I got this. (You don't have to be married for other people to affect your journey, it took me a bit to figure that out.) I got this. I softened eventually and was okay with dating, but still held this core belief that dating was it for me. Ever going beyond that just wasn't happening. I could never trust someone enough to let them affect my life that profoundly again. It was not worth the risk. I dated, I learned a lot about myself and about other people. I really haven't shared anything about that part of my life here except a casual reference because frankly the world is full of judgers; I don't need more critics in my life I have quite enough.
Time passes and things change. I met an amazing man, fell in love and we made.... wait for it ---plans for our shared future together. Gasp, shock. This was not in my cards. Because as my belief system states the cards were in my hands and I had not planned on a future joined with anyone else permanently. But I thought he was awesome and I fell into safety and security. Perhaps exactly what I needed at that time. More time passes, more things change, more things that you want to change don't. That relationship ended. It was heartbreaking and devastating. I was angry and hurt and confused. I raged quite a bit at God. Because after all, I wasn't going to let this happen in the first place. Why would He let me fall in love only to have my heart broken so completely? I don't have a lot of answers to those questions except to say the cards were always in my hands. I may have made decisions based on what another person said or did but they were still my choices. I participated in my own heartbreak by sharing my heart with another.
Isn't that exactly what we do every time we share our heart with another person? We participate in risk and our own possible heartbreak. We let someone in and they can hurt us. The power to wound is immense. We are often not careful enough with our words, and actions and commitments when we hold a piece of another person's heart. I'm not referring to someone else here folks. Me! I'm not careful enough! Hearts are fragile beautiful wonderful imperfect things and we should feel tremendous honor when another person shares even a piece of theirs with us. I confess I also wish I felt more honored when I share mine.
Time passes again. My journey twists some more. I find myself viewing my future, viewing myself in a different yet vaguely familiar light. I confess, I still see myself as perpetually single. It's hard for me to revert back to the idea of joining my life with another person permanently. But now I have come to the place where I see my inability to do that in a positive light. Because I'm not sitting here planning out a future with a man, instead what I'm doing is sitting here working toward my own future. Because I don't sit around a daydream about babies or weddings or rings or whatever (all fantastic things please don't get me wrong) I have time to daydream about one day publishing my book. I love babies. Weddings are beautiful and I'm a woman, seriously? Jewelry rocks. But not having an idealistic notion of a future that includes a person that may or may not want to be a part of my future is freeing for me.
Instead of that I have taken a different approach, a far from perfect, probably a little jaded approach. I also believe it's a healthy approach for me. My approach is this now - I'm Shannon, here's my life and here's where I'm heading with it. If you want to join in on my journey that's great but that's not going to change or distract me from where I'm heading. I have found for me that future planning can be such an extreme handicap to relationships. However conversely I have found that avoiding future planning in your life is also an extreme handicap.
So I'm planning my future. I'm working toward it now. There are people who I love and care about that are present in this part of my journey. I am so thankful they're here. But they all know very clearly that relationships stay in the moment and the future I'm planning is my own. Perhaps I'll be doomed to perpetual singleness because of this self first approach to my life. But I'd like to think instead I'll be respected as a woman who knows what she wants and works for it. It's not selfish to have goals and not want them to be derailed, however it is codependent to make another person your goal. Life is sweeter when shared with people. It's also more complicated, but to have someone to laugh with and cry with is a huge blessing. But having a person be your goal puts too much pressure on them and too much pressure on you to adapt to them. Make your own goals, your own future, your own life and if someone wants to join in with you on that, that's fantastic for both of you. If however they can't hang, that's their loss. It's okay to prioritize yourself. By doing that the journey becomes a lot more enjoyable, whether perpetually single or madly in love.