I haven’t posted anything in the “Life Weirdness” category for a while. But several episodes that happened to me recently make me want to come back and revisit some of these ideas.
Things with Whomever are going exceedingly well. This is the best possible relationship I could have hoped for or envisioned. And the reason why it works so well is that we are communicating extremely deeply, extremely thoroughly, about all major topics.
One of them being our relative energy levels. In fact, she gets the credit for the title of this piece. The meat of it is —
She’s not retired yet, and in fact just started a new assignment with her company, where she’s expecting to stay through at least the end of 2023. There’s a lot of new jargon, a totally new set of colleagues, and the politics of her new clients to figure out. As an additional complication, it’s only about 30-40% remote (here) and 60% on-site – a 4-hour’s flight from here. Further, she just moved into her (new to her as a personal residence) townhouse nearby; all her life’s possessions – all six tons of them (literally!) – have been delivered. Now, whenever she’s in town, she’s trying hard to unpack all of it, put it away, decide on the arrangement and use of all this stuff. She’s a busy woman!
Just being around, trying to help can exhaust me, psychologically if not physically.
Remember, I’ve already been (effectively) retired for about four and a half years. I’ve gotten used to doing all the cliché things retirees do – sleep in, schedule things whenever you want, take a nap in the afternoon if that’s what you like. Stay up late, too, if that’s what you like. (We agree that I need more sleep than Whomever does, but I’m not even certain she’s getting her true functional minimum, much less me.)
But one of the things I find attractive, nay intoxicating, about her is her vast energy level.
And one of the things she finds most appealing about me is (as she puts it) my “zen” – my “chill”, my ability to ‘be in the moment’. My long-term but sporadic study of various things esoteric, my intermittent practice of some very non-traditional religious rituals, my ability to meditate, even my current martial arts study – all of these contribute to my ability –
To get my head outside of the relentless progression of linear, unidirectional chronological time. And into the timeless moment of … whatever it is – a perfectly executed parry and riposte in a martial arts movement; a perfectly tuned and timed phrase sounded with your fellow musicians; the transcendence of achieving meditative unity with the Godhead, however briefly; or the oneness of the most awesome, most blissful lovemaking.
I know Whomever can do it too, and has done it – but I think it’s harder for her, has occurred less often for her.
So how do we reconcile this difference? She lifts me up, she ‘gives me spoons’ – but she can wear me out. She says that I give her a place of calm and strength to rest in. (I suspect I sometimes rankle her with my not keeping up, not seeming to bring aaaaaallll my enthusiasm.) Neither one wants the other to change, but we must somehow bridge this experiential gap between us.
At the instant I post this, we are many states apart. She will be back home in less than a week, for about 17 days. As much as we want to be in each other’s arms and domiciles during that brief time together, we mutually decided that we will have to spend a significant amount of that first week apart, dealing with family holidays and other previously scheduled important activities. It will actually be better for both of us if she deals with the chaos of her place by herself, with her intensely-focused ‘Zoom Zoom’ as she makes it into the nest she desires. Then, after all the holiday rushing around is through, she will be able to come to Toledo for a generous helping of ‘Zen’. (Or maybe her place will be sufficiently comfortable for the time being by then, that we can ‘engage chill mode’ there as well as here.)
We’ve also planned a couple of deliberate changes to our daily pace when we’re together, to see if we can end up in better equilibrium. It’s all fluid, experimental, and as all things between us, subject to Talking It Out where and when necessary.
Do many relationships founder on this issue, consciously or unconsciously? Or never get to a ‘serious enough’ level to make this an obvious problem? Learning about your and your potential partner’s pace through life is just one of the many small but vital details that should be taught in the curriculum of Learning To Love Well.