"I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” - Haim G. Ginott
I copied this quote a few years ago from Gretchin Rubin's Happiness Project blog. I've read it over at least two dozen times since then. It's pretty profound... and also, god awfully hard to accept. But it's true and I think it might (finally) have actually changed me.
Look, I like excuses. No one wants to admit that, but we all do. We need them to preserve the image we create for ourselves. I'm not disorganized; other people throw too much crap at me. I'm not chronically late; traffic and kids and last-minute work requests keep delaying me. I'm not a difficult person; I'm simply reacting to the idiots around me. I'm no drama queen; the people in my life cause me problems. And so on. I can play this game all day.
Now back to where we left off. I was sad about breaking up with P, remembering all the good times. Shortly after that post, I got hit on by a 19-year-old, and in a roundabout way, it made me see that I can't see myself with anyone other than P. With all his faults and all mine, he still is more interesting and challenging and fun than anyone else I've ever known. At our best, he makes me better; at our worst, well, you've seen what happens.
So we patched things up, as well as you can from halfway around the world, then fought again and then something totally weird happened. Sometime in mid-August, I just was done with the drama. Sure, I've felt this way before but this time, it stuck. And nearly three months later, we're still drama-free.
I can't really explain it other than to say that the quote above just finally clicked. I realized that, while P has issues, I was the one making myself crazy. So I stopped. I stopped stressing about what he was doing and how he was feeling and how often he IM'd me. Within a few weeks, I was genuinely happy for the first time this year. I still talked to him often, but it was no longer the center of my life. Sometimes I even forgot to check to see if he'd sent me a message.
Since then, things have been good all around. P, on his own, decided to come out to visit for our last month in Australia. He arrives next week. I'm excited to see him but I've already warned him that I'm pretty busy and he should expect to be alone a lot. He's good with that. I've enjoyed my friends here more, took the kids on a nice trip to the Great Barrier Reef, and just generally have been happy. That's not to say there haven't been challenges and I am bleeding money like you wouldn't believe, but realizing that I actually do have some control to how I react to challenges that come up has been pretty life-changing.
In my quest to be drama-free, I also stopped blogging. I feel the blog has become kinda whiny lately and I just don't want to indulge that anymore. I am thinking this will be my last post. I want to focus on other writing now -- fiction and journalism -- and once I return to the US, I plan to restart my decorating blog (Amateur Decorator), which has been totally neglected for a few years, but which I think has some real potential once I put some time into posting regularly and upgrading the design. Come by and visit!
Thank you to all of you who have read this blog over the years. See you around!