I can picture us how we were last October: Sundays spent in bed, reading, napping, pizza bagels and goldfish before watching football downstairs on the couch.
I can picture us like this years from now, same scene, just a little older and with more love than we thought possible.
I can picture us this weekend, him teaching me how to hit a softball properly, and how to be more confident in catching the ball for my league and maybe some delicious horchatas to cool off with.
I can see this future we have talked about, a house with a bold blue door and books everywhere and love radiating out through every room.
What I can’t see is how we get from this weekend to that future. I’ve never been good at envisioning my future. I’ve never been good at saying, “Five years from now, this is where I want to be.” So instead, I make short term plans. I say, “One month from now, I will do this,” because it reassures me that I have a future. I say, “This holiday season, I would like to do that,” because it gives me something to look forward to.
But where we are now, this place of loving each other, wanting each other, but not ready for the bigger steps despite knowing where we want to go? It’s scary because I can’t reassure myself by making plans. I can only take it each week at a time, building a stronger foundation, one where his fears and my fears have subsided and have no cause or justification. It’s like we’re at the starting point of our journey, and we know where the end point is, but I have no idea how we’re getting there. And as a girl who really likes to know where things are going and wants everything right now, I struggle.
So we make small plans. We make small plans to accommodate my need for plans to ensure I have a visible future, and his need to not make big plans because he’s confident we will get there organically. If the Orioles are first choice wildcard picks, we will go to the game. Happy hours at the Central Library? We’ll try that too. Our favorite restaurant has $1 oysters and $.29 Natty Boh’s once a month? Let’s try that. Billy Elliot is coming to Baltimore? That sounds great, let’s see what the ticket prices are a bit closer to the holidays.
And with each week that we make small plans, I can see how things are changing for the better. How he grows more comfortable with expressing his emotions, how he holds me just as tenderly as he did, but with less of those fears that held him back before, how we address things more openly and honestly than we did before, and how even when I’m feeling absolutely crazy and anxious and stressed, I can talk to him about it, and he’ll tell me how much he likes me being able to share those feelings with him even if it scares me and makes me cry. I can see that the path we were on before is not the same path we are on now. And that’s a good thing.
Perhaps that’s the beauty of our dynamic: he sees things in ways I can’t. By allowing him to lead me, to consistently reassure me of our future together and our shared hopes and dreams, it helps change my patterns too. I don’t want to be who I was before, and I’m already seeing so many ways in which I’ve changed. I don’t want to fall back into those old habits that creep out in every relationship; I want to be better for me, so that I am the best version of me I can be for myself, my partner, my friends, and anyone else around me.
So I look for ways to absolve my anxiety over not having a clear path. I immerse myself in projects and activities that my new schedule allows me to do – yoga, softball, football, volunteer work, etc. I talk to him regularly and we chat about his cat, my cat, what’s been happening, what we’re looking forward to, what we want to do this weekend. And I strive to remember that above all else, he loves me, he wants to be with me, and he thinks the world of me. And even if I can’t see how we’re going to get from Point A to Point B, he can. And ultimately, that’s really all that matters.