Posted in Love and Loss

Saying Yes: Then and Now

I once ended my relationship with the man who would become my ex-husband  a year before we got engaged. (Let’s just go ahead and start calling him S. for efficiency purposes.) A moment of clarity, perhaps. I was living in rural New York working as a camp counselor. He was interning in the U.S. Senate in Washington.  He’d never really taught me anything aside from why he wanted to be a lobbyist, to always double check his travel arrangements, and the power of James Taylor lyrics (he wasn’t ALL bad).

So, I fell in love with a boy who taught me real things, like: how to waltz, that my smile was valuable and what it felt like to be adored. Everything he introduced to my life was just outside my comfort zone, and for the first time in my life, I was game. He pursued me shamelessly with respect and on my last night in the state took me to dinner at Windows on the World on the top floor of World Trade Center I. {Oh, I wish I knew where he is today!} I said yes to new experiences that summer.

But we all know that summers are short. The real world smacked me in the face hard when I returned to Iowa. But I was determined to start over during my senior year of college and move on with my life.

S. and I remained friends; we worked out together at the student rec center. It was after one of those gym visits that we watched the horror of September 11, 2001 happen together by way of Good Morning America (exactly 2 weeks after my dinner at the WTC). I was convinced of the frivolity of a summer fling, and yearned for something more meaningful, familiar, safe. Neither of us wanted to be alone, and few weeks later, we resumed a relationship. He’d propose, and I’d say yes to a marriage that I believe would crush both of our spirits.

When I said yes to his marriage proposal, adventure was the least valuable thing I considered. Eleven years later, it’s all I want. And I find myself in the position to say yes once again. This time to freedom rather than a safe commitment.

My Start Experiment task for today is to outline the things I need to quit that are standing in the way of living the life I dream of. Saying yes to the comfortable option is going to be first. I want the challenging, I want that which will make me question my intention. And in setting a path of mindfulness, I have faith that I will find comfort… just not the easy kind.


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