last year i wrote about running. how i have worn out many a figurative sole by simply fleeing, removing myself from the life of whomever i was currently sharing it with.
i don’t think i’ll ever not feel the itch to just run, when things look funny in the light. but now i understand that i have been running from those future lives, the me that would form from being welded to a life incongruent with my … well, me.
the last two years have been nothing if not informative and validating. a slow confirmation that it’s okay, that i do not need anyone’s permission to be me, wholly and unapologetically. that my instinct to run has spared me many terrible lives.
“i’m sorry.” i used to say it 30 times a day. i’d bump into a chair and find myself apologizing to the inanimate object. it was my default. sorry.
all the 30-something years i’ve been on this earth and this is the first year that i have actively, deliberately stopped being sorry for things.
i remember it quite vividly. it was february 2017, i’d just celebrated my birthday and was part of a relationship that had gone stale. our love had been untended too long, forgotten and left to rot like old bread. there was mold on our edges, a foul odor of neglect if you bothered to delve in and really take a whiff.
i was sitting on one end of my favorite piece of furniture in our place; the long, gray leather sectional that in previous apartments would have eaten up 70% of the room. he sprawled on the opposite end. our careers and bank accounts had both grown, and our apartments with them. it was a lovely place, really. not the newest build, but we had a garage, real wood flooring, a proper dining room that i’d turned into a reading nook, two floors, 15 foot tall ceilings, two bathrooms, a patio even. a beautiful, tech filled, expensive silicon valley life, with big paychecks and a cute little dog to match.
but, something wasn’t right. we weren’t really an us. we were two people who pleasantly chatted, laughed occasionally, talked about our ambitions, and then said goodnight. i noticed us, our comfort being so far from one another. our un-touching. we were friends, we were roommates. our orbits never really collided. i knew then, that room, that handsome face, and our pleasantries would never be enough. it’d be fine, yes. it’d be just fine. i could see 10 years in the future, us with children, living in a bigger house, driving even more expensive cars, more gadgets that made our home so “smart,” still exchanging pleasantries. still un-touching.
it scared me. and i’m aware that relationships settle, the newness wears off and it’s no longer a shiny, exciting thing. this was not that.
so i made the decision, that day. i would never again settle for fine, in anything. i was too damn old to settle for just fine, and so was he. and further, i was not going to be sorry for it. i accepted myself then, my need for adventure, my tendency to leap. the need to feel safe in ways that i didn’t. the need to not just live life, but love it, hard. to rip the seams from my security and discover what truly excited me again.
and so i did. and so he did.
more than a year later, we are two people who chat pleasantly, laugh occasionally, encourage one another in our glow-up efforts. we have a calm, placid connection that happens when you share six years of history, when you know someone’s life and dreams intimately, and will always root for them, silently or loudly. aside from sharing an apartment, our relationship hasn’t changed much. for that i’m thankful.
we are friends. we both understand that though it wasn’t easy, going our separate ways probably saved both of our boring lives.