#008 - I YAM WHAT I YAM
For me, though I still try, I think it was the late twenties when I last had much success with this.
I sometimes think about the partner I have, and how wonderful she is. I think about how much fun we have together - about the life we have built. If something happened to her, I have no idea what I'd do.
We have a small farm. We have horses. We take part in jousts and medieval re-enactment events. We've travelled the world (just a little) enjoying these pursuits. I spend most of my spare time renovating an old barn. (We couldn't afford what we wanted, so we bought what we could - and I'm trying to make it into what we want.) We ride to hounds. We will scrimp our money to pay off debts, and then sponsor a jumping class at a local fair, just for the fun of it. The only new vehicle my partner has ever purchased was a tractor. Our most expensive outfits are armour. Yet, even with these hobbies, we both have good and respected jobs in the "real" world.
We have such an odd pattern to our lives, such bizarre priorities, I would despair of ever finding anyone else I could share this with. Even if I wanted to share it with anyone else.
And then I go and piss her off over something completely stupid, something entirely trivial.
I am a mean and curmudgeonly old man. I know this. I have been treating the women in my life erratically for as long as I can remember.
And I do mean erratic, not bad. I will do something selfless and romantic, and I will inspire adoration in my partner. And, minutes later, she'll make a comment that I disagree with or leave a cupboard door open (one of many pet peeves) and I'll snap at her for it.
I make her feel cherished one moment; I make her feel unwanted and alone the next.
I have tried to change. I have worked very hard at it, but I find that, as they say, old habits die hard. So, what do I do? Admit that I'm too old to change? Admit that I will drive away any partner with my unpredictable outbursts? Do I pretend it's a medical problem and that it's not my fault? (This last one is pretty appealing, I must admit.)
Perhaps I should find an Alcoholics Anonymous group. It's not that I'm an alcoholic. (Really, I'm not. This is not just denial.) It's that I have a habitual, ingrained pattern of behaviour that is destructive to my most cherished relationship. It is an addition to old ways of doing things. If an alcoholic can recover, can change their daily habits, why can't I? Why can't I just decide on a new behaviour and follow it?
Perhaps because I can't see it. Perhaps because the brain works far too fast.
I could watch myself pour a drink, and perhaps stop myself, if that was my problem. But how do you stop yourself from thinking? How do you stop yourself from instantly reacting to a situation in the way you've always reacted to it in the past?
If you're waiting for the denouement to this little speech, if you're waiting for the answer, the flash of insight that allowed me to work it all out, I'm sorry to disappoint you. I haven't figured it out.
I am still, in fact, quite lost here.
30 September 2009