The 6 Month Shift

About 6 months ago the decision was made to end the relationship Rachel and I had been building. At the time it seemed to be about a lot of things that were really important, it had to be because we had given as much of ourselves to it and to each other as we could that walking away needed to feel more like running or escaping. I honestly don’t know if it would have ended in March if the issues hadn’t been so amplified to each of us.

Since then we have said very little to each other. The occasional e-mail to arrange an exchange of some of each others stuff that has been found, the border-line civil “hello” at GoodLife meetings and a phone call about RPM subbing. This is what I needed. I never asked Rachel if she wanted or needed to talk because I made the decision to look after me before engaging her or attempting to restore a friendship. It wasn’t easy because throughout all of it, Rachel remains bright, funny, articulate and can be very interesting to talk to. I’ve had a ton of athletic therapy questions and I trust her knowledge in this area more than anything else she knows. The relationship was over and gone was a vibrant resource and loyal mentor in the ways I had come to see her as one.

Gone too was my right to know about how she was doing in school and on her quest towards her second degree and athletic therapy certification and license. Not that these were my end goals, but a lot of the relationship had been shaped by our willingness to allow it to be shaped by these end goals. I hoped she had been successful but I didn’t ask.

The summer was what it was to me and my understanding of the world and when September started it was evident that I wasn’t feeling the same way about a lot of things in my life. With reference to Rachel and me, it was a relationship that didn’t work out and I realized that she hadn’t done anything wrong in it. She had done her best, as I had. The outcome had been sad for me because I had dreamed-up a future with her and that wasn’t going to happen. But the outcome was now also really beautiful. Due to my codependent tendencies, my personal development had stopped once I found myself in a relationship. My growth had begun again and if for no other reason that my life was improving because I had started to evolve my understanding of the world, this is a beautiful thing.

It took 6 months and some of these months were the lowest I’ve known in my 30’s.

Rachel called last week and we were both able to listen to each other in a way that hasn’t been possible for a long time. It was a call that I didn’t know I was waiting for until after I got off the phone. Life events are things again with us, they aren’t tools of emotional control. We understand and realize that we did the best we could during our time together, gave as much as we could and wanted the best for the other throughout all of it and still. It was the circumstances that made it impossible. It is very simple to see now that we’ve had the time to burn through the rage, anger, disappointment, etc….

I was smiling during most of the conversation. Rachel told me she graduated and passed the certification exam! She made it! She pushed through all of the challenges and was successful. She’s had some time to look at how she did it, the costs, the sacrifices, the life put on pause while she learned another modality. Her success here means a lot to me because I have wanted her to be successful since I met her. She has pushed forward with the single-minded determination to make her dream a reality. She ran herself into the ground to make it real.

I’m grateful that she called. I hadn’t been aware of how much of my mental functioning had been devoted to processing the open loop that things had become. Immediately I felt better, lighter and happy. The feeling grew quickly in the hours after the call as my brain began to reprocess the narrative memories that had been created to describe or justify what had happened. As the new information modified my past, mental processes just wound down then stopped and my emotional state returned to whatever normal means to me now. In a 5 minute conversation, a huge chunk of mental resources suddenly became available for something else. In the days following the conversation it became evident that my mind had been set free from the big piece of my past that I hadn’t fully accepted.

There is now, this is how things are. There is the future, this is how things can be, I can shape this. There is the past, it’s more stable now, and changes less; I’ve reconciled the dissonance between the physical and narrative memories so I don’t need to think about it anymore. Being able to focus more energy and effort on my present is going to be a lot of good in shaping my future.

Getting to here took 6 months and I’m glad it did!