A few weeks ago, before the leaves changed colors and fell (cause it's Fall) I had the privilege of hiking on the Appalachian Trail with Benjamin. I say privilege because with every step, I felt lucky - lucky that I found him, lucky that I had the opportunity and ability to hike up to a beautiful vista with him and share this experience. I was relaxed and very happy. Everything just felt right.
By now you know that I have a set of purported rules that are supposed to prevent me from making impulsive decisions And by now, you probably also know that I have been breaking these rules with some regularity. It's a vicious cycle.
However, I have discovered that I am not actually impulsive. Rather, I am instinctual. I tend to act with my gut rather than my logical brain. I analyze, but I don't overanalyze, initially anyway. Often, I make a decision with very little information because my gut tells me it's the right thing to do. And often, after I learn more information, my instinct is correct. I don't always trust my gut or listen to my instincts, but then I have a moment where down the line, I realize I should have. We probably have all had a similar moment. "I knew there was something weird about her..."
Malcolm Gladwell told us in his book, Blink, that people make decisions about others in essentially the blink of an eye. In seconds, they have decided whether they like you or not, whether they trust you, whether you're smart, and who you are as a person. I suppose this is why we're told first impressions are everything. People draw upon their past experiences to pass judgment on a person in seconds. And that first "blink," whether 100% accurate or not, can be a person's lasting opinion of you.
Of course, that concept is a little disconcerting if you're the kind of person who needs to warm up among new people. I raise this idea because I believe that I have seen my future in one of these "blinks." Sounds nuts, I know. (have you met me? Maybe not, but you're reading this, so you know me a little anyway.) And this is where my instinct v. impulse comes into play. I'll explain.
If I was truly impulsive, I would be living for the present moment. All my decisions would concern what is in front of me right now, more or less. I wouldn't care so much about what comes tomorrow and I am a planner as most people know. I try to live in the moment and enjoy the moment, but at the end of the day, I am looking into my future. And to do that, I'm drawing on my gut feelings, past experiences and current desires.
Now, here comes the rule breaking. My rules set time limits for certain important relationship milestones. And without getting overly specific, I can report that because my gut feeling is so incredibly strong in an incredibly good way...well...I might as well not have any rules at all. I just want to slap myself in the face! Or make myself sit in the time out chair and think about what I'm doing.
But that's just it; I have thought about what I'm doing. Over and over and over again, which is why my gut and my instincts are allowing me to give in to what the Universe is offering. And what am I waiting for? Because I had created some arbitrary rule when I was 28 years old, I have to work along some "reasonable," arbitrary time line? My gut is saying, "this is all good, let go and trust me. You're fine. This is right." And despite all the best logic in my brain, despite every good reason to pull the emergency brake, I'm following my gut. For the first time in a long time, I think my gut got it right.
Terrifying! Absolutely terrifying! But at the same time exhilarating. I've glimpsed my future and it looks glorious. When I consider my options, and I do have a lot of options ultimately, there is no place I'd rather be than where I am. So as terrifying as all of this is, it's also calming to know that my gut is ultimately leading me home. For me, home isn't a place, it's a person. My person.
I've admittedly had a very rough, emotional couple of weeks. Probably the worst weeks in years as far as emotional distress is concerned. I'm in the midst of life changes - moving into an apartment, considering professional opportunities. And through this s*#t storm, I'm trying to be a positive and meaningful part of a relationship with someone who is always positive and thoughtful and kind to me when I am literally falling to pieces every time I can't find something I must have packed away. (I still can't find my "good" scissors!!)
I am stressed beyond any stress I have felt in decades and I am just at my breaking point with everything and everyone. I'm skipping out on events, appointments, even potentially fun things because I just can't bring myself to an emotionally stable place. It's frightening, really and to some degree humiliating. I don't like my daughter to see me cry over all of this. I don't want to feel like I won't make it to the end, to reach my amazing future, because I am so frozen with anxiety. But I have felt like this. Luckily, with the support of friends and certain family members, and above anyone else, Benjamin, I'm pulling through all the nonsense and the noise.
I hate dragging others into my life problems. It's one of the reasons I don't ask for help when I know I need it. But I have discovered who my truest friends are through all of this. I have discovered who my truest love is as well; the person who will be my true partner (at least I hope) someday. And I have discovered that admitting you need help isn't so much a sign of weakness, but of strength. It has taken every bit of guts to admit I need help.
Instincts have brought me here, to the border between past and future. I trust what feels right. I trust that I'm ultimately doing the right thing. I trust that this is all going to get better for me. And I trust that my gut has led me to the person who will help me stand even when I don't think I can. He has already helped me climb a mountain. I don't think he even realized I have been trying to climb it for years, quietly, alone. He has shown me what personal strength means and he has also proven that trusting my gut is the only way to live.