And for all the in between years

Ol’ Blue Eyes says in one of his most beloved songs, “When somebody needs you/it’s no good unless she needs you all the way/through the good or lean years/and for all the in between years come what may.”

I’ve loved Sinatra since I was about 12 years old, and now more than ever, his songs have so much meaning in my life. In the last two months, I’ve ended a four-year relationship with someone whom I loved more than anyone, “broken up” with a friend that I’ve known for 13 years, and started to truly understand after nearly 26 years what it means to love or be loved “all the way.”

These are the in between years for me. Technically, I hope it’s only months, or maybe a year or two max. But it’s neither a good or lean year – it’s just that  – in between. New opportunities at work, new people in my life, old people moving out of my life, and my parents perhaps moving across the country and the state I called “home” will no longer be such. In the next year or two, I may  move again myself, I may change jobs,  and I may or may not fall in love again. There will be drama, there will be hugs, and kisses, and crying, and hopefully lots of laughter. There will be moments when I just want to hide by myself and tell everyone to go away and leave me alone, and there will be days where all I want is someone to wrap their arms around me and never let go. There will be people who call me too often, too little, or not at all. I will call people too often, too little, or not at all.

These are my in between years. Who knows where the road will lead us? Only a fool will say. But whatever it is, and wherever it is, I will do it all the way.

Weddings, Weeding, & Wonderings

This is the year. The year when all my friends are getting engaged, married, having kids, moving to new cities, starting new jobs, starting new lives. This is the year when a lot of things change.

Two weekends ago, I was in the wedding of one of my best friends. I hadn’t yet met her fiance until the day before the wedding, but I had nothing to fear – he was perfect for her.  A perfect balance of silliness, practicality, faith, and chivalry for my gal – it was clear that they were a perfect match, and I know that her parents and friends who lived closer and had seen them grow together had watched over her in this choice – this so perfect of a choice.

As I danced with my friend and her new husband on the dance floor, and watched them gaze at each other and giggle together, I thought about how just a few years ago, she was single and thinking she’d be an old maid, and I was about to start a long distance relationship as college ended and I moved to DC and my boyfriend went off to law school. I thought about how so much had changed in that time, but how my friend never had. She was the same, true to heart, heart of gold girl who would do anything for those she loved, and put a lot of thought into her life choices. With her, you know that she’ll always give you the truth, and she’ll never let you stray from who you are at heart.

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What do you want to do?

As a kid, we were endlessly asked by parents, teachers, friends and grandma what we wanted to be when we grew up. Back then, it was easy: a firefighter! a ballerina! In my case, a writer. As we grew older, the question still lingered, but the answer wasn’t always so simple. The one or two-word career we dreamed about wasn’t going to just poof! appear on a business card all ready for us to hand out. For some people, it’s because their dream career is unrealistic, too expensive, or too hard. But for some of us, that dream is still alive, but now, the question is more about how do we fit that into the rest of our lives? Too bad we can’t have it as easy as dogs: wake up, eat, poop, sleep, do it all over again. What a life!

What's all the fuss about?

We get boyfriends, girlfriends, rent payments. Our chosen field is suddenly not the best to enter into in bad economic times and changing technologies (newspaper reporter, anyone?). Suddenly, it’s not just about picking something and being it – and that age-old question of “what do you want to do?” is constantly staring us in the face, making us impatient, causing us to hem and haw over our every decision.

Four years ago, I didn’t know what exactly I would be doing, or where I would be. I just knew that I wanted to be writing, and living in a fun place (Chicago, DC, NYC, etc.). When I decided to graduate early and get a head start on life, I had only starting dating my boyfriend a week before. A boyfriend who was headed to law school, so that already meant long times ahead. Four years ago, I didn’t really have a plan, for once in my life, except to go do something I loved, and I figured the rest would come along.

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Did you tell them?

Grey’s Anatomy fans will think I’m ripping this post from the finale, in which Meredith is urging everyone to tell the people you love that you love them before it’s too late. Although I loved the finale, and it’s a great point, I though of it randomly during my bubble bath, when one of my favorite James Taylor songs came on – “Shower the people.”

For all I know (and I don’t feel like checking), I’ve writte about this before, so bear with me if so. It’s an important topic!

I’ve always been a firm believer in not going to bed angry, not hanging up the phone angry, and not saying goodbye angry. And more importantly, doing all of those things without saying “I love you” or at least showing some sort of affection (if you have those sort of feelings for that person) upon departure.

It began for me as a kid. Every morning it was a hug, a kiss and an I love you to both of my parents. At bedtime it was the same thing. At the end of each phone call – I love you. Even if we were mad at each other, or I was in trouble or grounded, or whatever it might be – if I even tried to just go to bed or hang out with no I love yous or hugs or whatever, it was an issue. So yeah, sometimes I was annoyed as a kid, but in the end, I was so glad we did that. To this day, even if my mom and I get into an argument over the phone, we’ll be sure to call each other back to apologize within minutes if it had ended abruptly or angrily.

You just never know.

I follow this true to heart now with my boyfriend. Sometimes, we’re in MAJOR fights on the phone, and all we each want to do is throw our phones across the room, and scream shut the hell up and that be that. But, I’ve instituted a “say good bye and I love you” rule for us, and I really do think it helps. It may not always be with the most enthusiasm or maybe it’s so quiet and quick you can barely hear, but at least we say it – and we know we still mean it.

This isn’t because I’m all gloom and doom and constantly worried something bad is going to happen. It’s more because I just think it’s just generally important to share how you feel about someone now, TODAY, before you lose your chance. If you’re in love with someone and you just keep waiting, waiting, what happens if you miss your window? Then what? Your loss. If someone is going away on a trip for a long time and you left on bad terms, the whole time they’re gone, it will suck. Trust me. TELL THEM HOW YOU FEEL.

So in the words of James Taylor:

Shower the people you love with love
Show them the way that you feel
Things are gonna be much better if you only will