Last Friday, Chris and I watched the sunrise over the lake (which some may even call “Great”) and while I was never more happy to be in that moment with him watching the colors turn from grey to pink to orange to blue, I reflected on this past summer.
For the last 8 weeks, my motto has been “Just be”. Meaning, I wanted to stay in that moment right then and there. My summer vacation has been rejuvenating in more than one sense and I think that mind set played a major role in that. The last 8 weeks have been particularly fulfilling in that we moved back to our chosen home (Milwaukee) to a quaint & cozy one-bedroom apartment, I taught physics for an Upward Bound program with some incredible people, and reconnected with old friends and built stronger friendships with long distance ones. But one of the most important lessons I learned this summer was how to be independent and self-sufficient. You see, Chris was in Michigan for most of the summer leaving both of us in a new place (both literally and figuratively). I learned a lot about myself as a person, professional, and partner. And he learned a lot of paleography and wrote a (very) large chunk of his dissertation.
Being solo for most of the summer was an interesting experience. In the first third of his absence, I realized that I depend on Chris to keep me on a schedule. More than once, I realized I had wiled away hours watching Real Housewives of New Jersey (keeping it classy, y’all) or surfing the internet. I was also pretty lonely in that I didn’t have a built-in hang-out session every morning and in the evening. But, this forced me to set alarms on my phone and schedule myself throughout the day and reach out to old friends that I hadn’t seen in years.
During the last two thirds of his absence, Chris and I worked on our LDR communication by increasing the amount of texting we did during the day – something we never really needed to do otherwise. This made me realize that even when he’s home, we need to make conscious efforts to communicate and just be with each other when we can.
While I learned a lot about myself and Chris’ role in our marriage, Chris had a similar learning experience while he was living with a random roommate in Michigan. Without sounding trivial, anything I cook for a while is going to be “the best dinner ever”. Now, do I think that living apart from my spouse for 6 weeks (with 2 visits in between) made our relationship stronger? Yes, I do. Would I do it again? Probably not. I think it depends on the circumstances (i.e.: if Chris gets a job where travel is necessary) and it certainly makes me more empathetic (not that I wasn’t previously) for those couples who must spend months or years apart.
I took 2 months off of writing because I wanted to be in the moment and it also became the “summer of yes”. Yes to yoga, coffee, dinner, walks, runs, bike rides, and road trips to Chicago & Iowa. I wanted to be present for all of those things and not worried about how I was going to relate it in a blog post. But, while I definitely wasn’t writing, I was still keeping up with Bloglovin’ and I realized what kind of blogger I want to be. So this year, one of my goals is to be true to myself – whether that’s writing deeper, more heartfelt posts like this one or sharing what outfit I’m wearing, I want to be truer to my content. I know I’m not going to make all the readers happy and I have to be OK with that. Nothing is more irritating that opening up Bloglovin’ and seeing 15 posts all “sponsored” by the product. There are some times when I have 100+ unread posts and I only really want to read 5-6 of them. But, that is a rant for another day…
Have you ever been separated from your partner for a long period of time?
Did you learn anything about yourself or your relationship?
How do you stay “true” to yourself?