My sponsor recently suggested that when I’m feeling snarky about work – driving in on a snowy day, staff conflict, the whole 40 hour a week thing – I remind myself that, soon, these will simply be memories of my work life. I’m remembering that for the good experiences too – I won’t likely hear as many “Fantistic's!” for cleaning the house!
This goes back to the idea that all of life is merely experience, and will be over before I know it. I think of those I love who’ve passed, timely or too soon, and what I wouldn’t give to spend even a little more time with each of them – one more conversation, a few more questions to ask, laughing together. If I can stay in the here and now, vs the here and next week, I’m more likely to be paying attention to the person or situation I’m actually with instead of being off in the ozone of the future, which can mean fewer regrets over what might've been left unsaid.
All of life is merely experience. I assign value or emotion depending on my perspective, which is impacted by time. My 1st husband and I split up in 1978 in what I will simply describe as not my most shining moment(s). Decades later, we've now connected as good friends, as family, as two people who essentially grew up together. After our monthly dinner date last night, on a whim, I stopped at my brother's. The expression on the two of their faces, after having not seen each other for literally 40 years, was priceless - incredibly sweet and funny and bursting with their younger selves. It is so nice to see that we've all crested the wave of past hurts and poor intentions.
In showing my ex around the house, pointing out the changes my brother made after mom passed, I couldn't help but mention, "Here is where the back door used to be, but you usually left by climbing out the upstairs window!" We enjoyed a good laugh over the memory, as only old people can do when remembering the antics of their youth.
I've often thought that one of the hardest parts of breaking up is losing family. It's not simply the partner, but their parents or siblings or cousins. Soon after my long-term ex (in sobriety) and I split, his father died in a tragic accident. I was crushed not to be included in the trip home, though why would I be when he'd decided to move on? Each past relationship left a wound of the "forever" dream, but also the hole remaining from birthday and Christmas celebrations, traveling to visit, watching the kids grow up. It is important to me, during times of transition, to acknowledge the totality of a loss and all the various components that will need re-calibration.
Of course, I am a sticker, a connector. When I first met my dear spouse I said, "Just so you know, if I didn't have ex's I wouldn't have friends," only partly in jest. The way I figure, once family, always family.
What does this have to do with recovery? Maybe not much. Or maybe everything. Walking the 12 Step path has provided the avenues for repairing relationships. As I sometimes say in my shares, I can't un-cheat, or un-steal, but I can live in such a way that I never hurt anyone in the way that I hurt those I loved in the past. That means that I'm, at the very least, on cordial terms with those I've loved, and in several instances, we are good and important friends. I say "thank you, HP" for every lesson learned and amend lived.
Who do you count among your closest and dearest? Do they know that?