It's no use, really, to try to update on a month's worth of activities, so I'm just going to jump right in with what's on my mind now. I continue to stew in my contentment and moments of discontentment (those continue to be mostly work-related). But the satisfaction of being where I am seems to be here to stay, and it's most welcome.
One of the last times I posted, I mused about my lifelong lack of long-term commitments. That theme has continued to be on my mind during my radio silence. As someone who married late-ish, then as someone whose spouse died, I've given my fair share of thought to the long-term commitment that is marriage. I have deep admiration for those who sustain a life-long partnership, to be sure, but also the realist's understanding that some of that longevity is circumstantial; if you meet someone later in life, biology prevents you from reaching the milestones that are within the realm of possibility for those who marry at a younger age. Wonderful partnerships meet untimely demises. Other marriages end more by choice or necessity. I proceed with caution in revering those with long marriages/partnerships as somehow inherently more worthy or generally better than those who have shorter partnerships, but understand all the while that to make any relationship work over years and years takes work and commitment and dedication.
It took me a long time to be ready to be in a long-term partnership, and I felt ever the more wronged by having that readiness mocked by the universe when John got his terminal diagnosis. Since John's death, my lack of long-term commitments has continued to grow, and I speak her not only of dating but of life choices in general. I moved out of our condo less than a year after John died, moved to Oregon months after that initial move, and have changed jobs twice in the 4.5 years since he died.
Making the commitment that John and I made to each other was the last time I felt the kind of settled contentment that I've been feeling over the past months. It's no surprise, I don't think, that the experience of John's death made me skittish. But here I am, 4.5 years later, getting it back again. Feeling settled enough to buy the house was certainly huge, and continues to be huge, and welcome, and wonderful. And my job is a commitment in a way, too; it's not perfect, but it's a long-haul kind of job that work every day to have peace with, and I make work decisions with the idea that I'll be there for the long haul, not with one foot out the door.
I'm getting there with the dating, too. I have a loooooong history—a lifetime, really, minus John—of dating Perfectly Fine but Wrong for Me people. To put a finer point on it, before John I dated either Smart, but Emotionally Unavailable or Dumb, but SO NICE! Then there was John who was smart, emotionally available, and nice: I finally got it all. Then he died, and since he died I have really dated Just for Fun. Which has been, uh, mostly fun. But I have found that Fun also gets Unfulfilling pretty quickly, so I've also dated Briefly. I've made nods at finding something real in the Fun, but nothing has been a natural fit to be sure.
But now I'm in this situation that is Fun, but also Real. Or that could be Real. This is a genuine person, not a career-focused guy who's about to move overseas or a bitter, recently divorced guy or a consultant in town short-term. No, this is a guy who like me saw the untimely demise of his partnership (although under different circumstances) and who understands how that feels, but also focuses on putting one foot in front of the other. He's ridiculously smart, incredibly generous, and funny to boot. Things are just meandering along in a lovely and happy way, slowly and sweetly. We are spending more and more time together, and talking about what that means, and musing about meeting kids. It's really great.
It's in fact great enough that I have been loathe to blog about it or talk about it much. I felt the same way about buying the house. I selfishly wanted all that goodness for me. Plus, I have that jinx-y feeling that comes from talking too much about a good thing and somehow thus causing it to implode. But it's what's on my mind lately, a lot. So I've said what I feel like I can say right now and hopefully it wasn't enough to hex it.
But just in case, I'll end by changing the subject. Halloween was awesome! Maddie was a Pegasus unicorn (thank you, eBay), Riley was a Jedi knight, and I was Princess Leia. Kindergarten has settled down and both kids seem quite content. Both of them are really into art projects now, Riley preferring to work in 3D and Maddie with a love of coloring/writing/drawing. We're going to Michigan on Saturday for our traditional Thanksgiving trip to see John's family; I always approach that with mixed emotions, but I'm always glad we go. We've been to the beach a bunch lately, and there's nothing but good about that. And then almost a month goes by, and we're still boringly happy and living our life or normalcy and about that, I have no complaints.