Sometimes people say something and their comment pisses you off. A few years later they say the same thing and you just nod and agree with their wisdom. My dad is a lot like that. He’s said some crappy things over the years only to have them reveal themselves as lessons a few years later.
My favorite has been the evolution of his view on how I interact and behave in relationships.
“You shouldn’t take things too seriously” was what he used to say. It bothered me. I wanted to be in love with a beautiful girl and I wanted to be in a relationship with her. My view was that these things were the best way to find happiness and fulfillment. He didn’t say that I was wrong, he just said that I shouldn’t take things too seriously. I didn’t agree and did what I wanted.
The most recent iteration of this thought, “relationships ruin you” was greeted with my nod and agreement, and a lot of laughing. It’s me, I’m just not very good at them. They’ve all ended. 4 of them lasting a few years longer than they should have – 8 to 10 years spend with people I don’t talk to anymore, in relationships that were challenging experiences for everyone. A decade of my life spend, well, living and experiencing whatever it was that my father was trying to help me avoid.
He was right all along. I take things too seriously and being in a relationship has been WAY too important to me for all of my adult life since I started my first serious relationship 20 years ago this September. I would give-up my identify, my dreams and goals to focus on the other person and “us”. I think it bothered him to see me waste my time and my potential because he appreciates the shortness of life in a way someone my age didn’t want to.
He never said it, but I can imagine it being rather disappointing to watch one of your two children squander their opportunity to make a life they are proud to live and share with others. Dad doesn’t really interfere with my affairs and he’s been a big supporter of anything that I’ve done on my own. He never suggested that I give-up on a relationship and work on myself, he doesn’t tell me what to do, but he’s been there each time to pick me up when things end.
I completely understand and realize what he was saying. And I agree with him, Relationships ruin me. It is no one elses fault but my own. I’ve been doing this all of my adult life and it’s time I stopped it.
Relationships, per-say, are not the problem. It has been my desire to be in a relationship at all costs vs. being happy, build a career or business, being charitable, whatever, that has been the problem. I’ve been making the decision to table everything. A shift in my primary focus is what I need now that I realize what my dad was saying.
Thankfully it didn’t take 20 years to sink in.