Simply Solo Spotlight: What Is Love?
I’m really excited about today’s guest post. To be fair, I’m pretty much always excited about my Simply Solo Spotlights, but today is extra special for me. My dear friend and colleague Becky has graciously penned today’s guest post. Becky has been a huge supporter of Simply Solo since the very beginning (even using it as reading material as she was nursing her beautiful baby girl, Hannah, who, coincidentally, is Chef’s god-daughter). Becky was the first person I ever saw experience an entire pregnancy; her baby is the first of whom I’ve ever changed the diaper; and seeing Becky and her husband with Hannah makes my uterus hurt. They remind me why I want children and the kind of life I want in the future.
Without further ado or ridiculously flattering language, here’s today’s guest post. I hope you enjoy.
Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at: email@example.com.
What Is Love?
A few months ago, Catherine penned a beautiful and poignant post about how Life Gets in the Way of…Well, Life. It brought tears to my eyes and an incredible amount of perspective to the things we can so easily take for granted. But most of all, it seemed to reiterate something that I’ve experienced all too often. Life is unpredictable. And the second you think you’ve got it figured out – you realize that what you thought was, wasn’t; what you wanted wasn’t what you want; and that in the end, you’re better off enjoying the ride than trying to figure out where you are headed.
Let me tell you a little about where I am coming from. That post Catherine wrote? In it she referenced her friend Becky, who was in a terrible and frightening car accident. That’s me. I’m the crash-test dummy. Good news is, the car I was driving proved top-notch in safety. Bad news? Well, take your pick. Doctors’ bills, lawyers’ bills, insurance settlement headaches. Plus the toll it’s all taken on my family – financially, emotionally, physically. It’s been a nightmare. But it’s uncanny the gossamer threads of that nightmare that have glimmered with the truth of a different reality.
Here’s the thing. I am sitting here today, writing this blog post, and well folks – I’m not quite sure I should be. By all accounts – the police, the firemen, people who saw the scene – it wasn’t expected that I’d survive. And yet here I am – a few scratches on me and a bit traumatized, but otherwise unscathed. It’s made we wonder, to say the least. The truth is, it could just as well have been my time to go as it was apparently my time to stay. And that realization has made me take a good hard look at some things, and think about what the hell I’m supposed to take away from this whole thing.
Catherine wrote about “seeing the pure love, worry and fear” in my husband’s eyes after the accident. I had family members telling me after the fact what a rock he had been for everyone and how wonderful a husband he was. Let me tell you, it sure made it hard to distinguish why, for the past several months, we’d been fighting more and more and the distance had been growing between us. I know there were factors that seemed pertinent at the time, but it’s sure become difficult to realize their importance.
The fact is, I wasn’t doing a good job of prioritizing when it came to what’s really important. I just wasn’t. My focus on achievement and success was shifting the balance of our family and making me forget those things about my husband that I’d fallen in love with in the first place: his ability to make me laugh – not giggle but really laugh – and find amusement in the most uncanny things; his laser-focus and steadfast determination when it came to accomplishing something he set his mind to; his compassion; his intelligence; his beliefs about the things that are important in life.
Over the past several years, I’ve been struggling to come to terms with the path my life has taken – specifically, the difference between where I imagined myself to be and where I am standing now, at this moment and in this place: married, with a house in the suburbs, a dog, a nearly-two-year-old daughter and a part-time career. Don’t get me wrong – all of these things make me very happy. But they weren’t necessarily what I expected, say 10 years ago, when I imagined my future. And while in recent years I’ve happily lived the life that was defined by all these things, I haven’t been 100% behind it. Or satisfied with it. Or certain that I ought to have taken the paths I did to end up here.
I always expected I’d go to grad school, maybe law school, and live in some high-rise in a major city – complete with über modern, minimalist décor. I’d be career-driven, successful – and lucrative. I’d travel the world, have adventures and maybe settle down and get married in my 30s; kids would come later and there’d be few. In general, I would be my own boss – fiercely independent as I’d always been. If a man wanted to tag along – fine. Could be fun. But I was fine on my own and I’d make my own way.
Enter the epitome of everything I thought I never wanted. His name was John. Add a healthy dash of other people’s skepticism (an obvious challenge) and what do you get? Why, marriage of course. And the rest is history. But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. I really think, now, that the way things ended up are the way they were truly supposed to be.
Love doesn’t always turn out like we imagine. Catherine’s story is a perfect example of that. But you know what? Life doesn’t either. So don’t believe that love or life is an ideal. It’s only as ideal as you make it. My accident put me out of work for 2 months and scarred me both physically and mentally forever. But it also showed me the incredible strength, fortitude and compassion of the human spirit. It showed me what’s important in life. My husband and I are closer than ever, because we realized that it’s not about what happens in our lives – it’s about how we move forward from it all.
What’s the biggest twist your life’s taken, and how did it change your course – or keep you on the straight and narrow? How do you typically handle change – do you welcome or resist it? I’d love to hear from others who might have had similar experiences of contemplation or confusion …