Watching someone unfold is a curious thing.
When you start a new relationship everyone tells you that you have blinders on, are looking through rose-colored glasses and are in the honeymoon stage. They sit back and knowingly watch while layer after layer of mystery and fairy dust are lifted off their new love. This is a well-known time of change and adjustment. It’s feared, welcomed, ignored or embraced.
So what’s the catch? The catch is that this occurrence is not limited to the partner you chose to share your very intimate life moments and mortgage payments with. This phenomenon happens with every budding friendship, new coworker, new job, new house, and really any other new and sparkly relationship you form with a person, place or thing.
People, regardless of the part they will play in the future of your life, are generally on their best behavior the first few trips around the block. Your new boss isn’t going to throw you under the bus on your first day, your new friend isn’t going to borrow $5 and not pay you back before getting to know you a little better (and get to know your salary), the new route to work isn’t going to seem tedious the first few times you do it and your new house isn’t going to be a mental, physical and financial drain the first week of occupancy.
These relationships, realizations and transformations take time. Everything has a layer of sparkle to it when it’s new. I believe there is always a period of settling in that happens during these transitions. Followed by a sharp sense of loss. What happened to the sparkle? Why is your cube-neighbor’s voice now the most shrill thing you’ve ever heard? Why does the new route to work now cause your fingers to cramp up from the effort of not flipping off fellow commuters (and possible coworkers, bosses, etc)? – I’ve cut off coworkers before. It’s way less satisfying when they come over and let you know they spilled something, had kids in the car, or almost got rear ended because you decided to shoot the gap and cross three lanes to reach the exit with the starbucks at the last minute.
Why is it that your house will welcome rain drops, little bug roommates and hidden appliance damage 2.7 days after the warranty expires on them? How does it know? What did you do to it?
Transitioning in all these other areas of life have the same cycle as your intimate relationship does. Except for 1 really, really important factor. When looking at a relationship, you are growing something. You are cultivating a relationship that will stand the test of time, politics and broken air conditioners in the summer. You know there will be ups, downs, sideways and sometimes deep black holes of nothingness… followed immediately by vodka and a renewed flair for your partner.
That is not the case for the other areas of your life. You can in fact decide that the unveiling of a coworker, friend, job, house is so hideous that you don’t want it anymore. Now, this might happen in relationships too… but you generally give it more time. You are in it for the long haul after-all. A job? You can find another. Unless you have found your calling as a master cake baker and just got your job at the best bakery in the whole wide world where they let you bring your dog Fluffy and girlfriend Lola to work with you… you can and should leave it if it sucks out your soul.
If your house is taking you for a ride, put it up for sell. Rent it to someone else. Fake your own death and move to the Caribbean. You have options! Don’t be that neighbor that hates his house, doesn’t mow his lawn, is constantly “remodeling” something. Your house will be toilet papered. Dogs will poop in your yard. Things will go downhill. Dandelions will thrive and with every new bloom of fluffy white seeds of Dandi… your spirit will crack.
I think in most instances we are hanging around too long waiting for all the fairy dust to fall away. Here is a note to yourself. Fairy dust and awesomeness do not fall away to reveal fairy prince’s (generally). No, no… they start as fairy prince’s and end as toads. When you first start something, someone or sometime… generally the moment you find it… the bar will be at its highest. You are seeing them with all their glamour, good behavior, fake friends and fake tans. If they aren’t utterly spectacular to start with, forget about it. It’s only going to go downhill.
You know the saying… shoot for the moon, at least you will land among the stars? Same applies here. Shoot really high with your expectations because 9.7 times out of 10 your expectations were far higher than reality and reality can be a real bummer.
As a side note:
I was lucky enough to find a prince who remained a prince once the fog lifted and the clouds cleared. He might not wear shiny armor or ride a pretty pony around, but that would be kind of weird anyways. He does wear lots of Miller High Life, Harley Davidson and Fire Fighting Shirts… which are all similar to shiny armor in a “Wisconsin” kind of way. He sends me sweet poems in the form of song lyrics, most recently some Bon Jovi and Uncle Cracker were serenading me by text message.
Most importantly he tells me I’m still just as nice, sweet and beautiful as the day we met. So, you know what that means… he is obviously delusional. I burp, complain about how cold it is in the house, I can’t seem to put my bra’s where they belong and perpetually “forget” to feed the fish (the fish food smells icky). I know I’m not perfect, I know my fairy dust wore off a long time ago… probably one of the days I blog posted about something embarrassing regarding him, his son, his dog or something else and he realized his life would never be private.
So, maybe the 9.7 out of 10 is a little bit of a “glass-half-empty” kind of statistic on my part. But as usual it helped make it a good story, so I went with it. As is my way with storytelling;the bigger, wilder, sparklier and more full of wild arm gestures… the better.
Photo courtesy of: http://www.etsy.com/listing/71435151/happily-ever-after-print