Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Small Stuff

I never read the book, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, but I have always liked that title and love the concept.  And you know, I use to think that I lived by that concept ... that I really did not sweat the small stuff.   I'm starting to see that maybe I did get caught up in sweating all that small stuff ... and maybe some of this has actually changed ... and maybe this is a really good thing!

Being in this new relationship is such an eye opening experience and sheds new light in dark corners.  At 55 years old I certainly never thought I'd be starting over ... but it's wonderful and has me noticing some big changes that have occurred in my being.  Of course these changes probably came about during the eighteen months of caring for Jim.  As so many of you know, my house and life were turned up-side-down and inside out at this time.  There were friends who had volunteered to do whatever needed doing  coming and going in the house seven days/week.  One friend once asked me "how do you live with all these people in your house all the time?"  I remember looking at him and saying "I need these people here helping me.  How could I live without them?"

OK, it wasn't always easy.  There were Post-It notes all over the house: dishes in the dishwasher are clean, here's how to work the woodstove, please remember to leave this door unlocked, Jim's medicine and supplement schedule today is ...., don't use this light switch ...  and on and on.  My house was no longer my own but had turned into a very public, open house.  Trust me, I never minded this!  I truly didn't.  Life was so incredibly thrown into the air and all the pieces of the original puzzle were landing and strewn all over our world;  this public arena of a house was now the norm for us.  It was just how our life's puzzled pieces were landing and we lived with it.

And of course things got misplaced, things got broken, things didn't get put away .... for months! ... house cleaning didn't happen, things got spilled and semi-cleaned up.  And none of this mattered.  Not one tiny bit.  This was really, really small stuff in my world at that time.

So here I am with this new guy who comes with his own history and we're feeling things out.  Dave is treading softly around the house at times.  He broke a coffee mug and felt badly about it.   My response?  "I'd rather have you in my kitchen than that mug."  He spilled a glass of wine while he was cooking dinner for us and apologized profusely.  Since he was at a crucial moment in the dinner prep I cleaned the mess up and asked him why he felt the need to apologize so much?  Because in his history this would have made his partner at the time very, very angry.  OH!  I get it.   And as I thought on this I remembered years back getting really pissed at Jim for not paying attention and breaking a dish, spilling the wine, folding the towels wrong, not doing a task I had asked him to do immediately!  All of this ... all these old patterns of frustration and ways to get pissed off and .... sweating the small stuff .... have become, for me, just this ...  really small stuff that I no longer bother with.

You know what?  I find this very liberating.  I really LIKE this new part of me who doesn't care how the towels are folded, is delighted to have someone cook me dinner and could give a rats-ass about the spilled wine.  I no longer care if my napkins for a dinner party match or not ... I want to see my friends who are coming to dinner, and assume this is how they feel about me, and nobody cares whether the table is set for Martha Stewart or not.   I truly mean it when I say there is not one piece of stuff in this house that holds any kind of value when compared to this man who is here now.  Nothing is more valuable to me than this guy who is radiating warmth into the dark, cold corners of this house and bringing love and joy to my home again.

You see, that wine gets cleaned up and the glass refilled.  Those towels end up fitting into the closet regardless of how they got folded.  That coffee mug can be replaced ... but this guy bringing me the coffee in the morning can not be replaced.  That guy who got brain cancer and left me far too early can never be replaced.

Yup, I can honestly say, I do not sweat the small stuff anymore.

Loving you all back,