You know I ran across an old box of letters

(I guest blogged for Michaela again today, and this is some of the same thoughts taken in a slightly different direction.)

I’ve been told lately that my blog is reflecting that I am in a pretty content place in my life, that things seem settled and happy. I don’t think I am generally a very content person, sometimes to the point of worrying that I am creating drama (which is a form of creating drama, I suppose), but I think it’s true that I have very little to complain about these days.

There is a situation where some things have happened and some old wounds have been revealed to be less healed than I thought they were. It took me by surprise, the way these things have popped up again, and I spent a couple of days in some distress (which mostly just meant that I ate more chocolate than usual). In an effort to gain some perspective on the situation, I pulled out some old journals and tried to figure out how things got to where they are now. I couldn’t really find a journal from when it all began, and I’ve never been a consistent daily journaler, so most of the entries referred to the situation in an already-heated state and my attempts to handle it appropriately without very many details. I am glad to report that I am much less dramatic than I was four to six years ago, and even though I am dealing with some of the same things, I seem to be handling them better.

I didn’t get the insight I had hoped for, but I did notice something else: Most of the journals were from my college years and my early years of marriage, and I talked a lot about the struggles that Mike and I were going through in learning how to be together, learning to be one. I talked about my desire to go to grad school, and how I wasn’t sure how he felt about that decision. And I talked about this other situation, and how I wasn’t sure Mike really understood how much I was hurting. And I spent pages and pages talking about his relationship with his parents, and how I was hoping for reconciliation and how I was just beginning to learn that he didn’t want a relationship with them.

When we got married, everyone congratulated us on how great our communication was, and how we excelled in that area. But it’s clear to me, looking at those journals, that there were a lot of things we didn’t talk about, a lot of ways we hadn’t yet learned to work through hard things. I was writing about these things instead of talking about them. Lately I have been apologizing to Mike for some of the things I remember from those years, the drama queen I was, the poor way I handled things, the way I made things more complicated for him than they needed to be. And I could see glimpses of that in the things I was writing, too. I was passionate about some of the wrong things, not understanding Mike’s perspective, not being able to communicate mine.

I have been wanting to burn these journals for a while . . . there’s just a lot of stuff in them that I’d rather was never seen by anyone. But it was nice to be able to look at them and see how much better I handle things, how much better Mike and I communicate, how some issues have been put to rest (or are in remission). I used to think that one day, maybe in my 40s or 50s, that I’d have it all figured out. I thought I’d grow into the kind of life where I didn’t mess things up, that I’d learn how to do that. I remember how sad I was when I realized that life doesn’t work like that. But reading those old journals gave me hope that, even if I won’t have things all figured out, I will be a little farther along.

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