Friday I did a post on Lindsay Siegel and her journey on learning that life is short…and when you come face to face with losing it all, you realize there is nothing to lose by going for your dreams. I was introduced to Lindsay by MeiMei Fox…who ironically did a post on Friday on her Huff Post blog about going for her dreams, “The Crazy Thing About Love”. It is about her journey on coming to terms with her search for a relationship. In a nutshell these two quotes represent her shift.
“More that I’d hoped for, less than I’d dreamed.” — Theodore Roethke on his beloved wife
“More than I’d dreamed; everything I deserve.” — MeiMei Fox on the love of her life
MeiMei talks about how the first quote to her appealed to her pragmatic side and led her to stay in a relationship that perhaps was less than she deserved. Trying to make that “on-again off-again” relationship work was fraught with stress and anxiety. Conversely going for her dreams now is an easy road. She doesn’t expect perfection but she knows the difference between working on a relationship and working things through together:
“I knew from a young age that you have to work at relationships. You don’t get everything you want from one person. You must compromise. You make sacrifices. And you rely on your friends and family to fulfill needs that your partner isn’t capable of meeting. That’s how the world works. It isn’t a Disney movie. Real life begins after happily ever after.
I still believe all of the above is true; I know it is from experience. But now…For the first time ever, I believe in True Love. With Kiran, it really does flow. The relationship feels right and has since the beginning. We have our issues, we face certain challenges, but those aren’t a huge production. Overcoming hurdles has brought us closer together.”
So many 40-something women who are in satisfying relationships talk about that difference. That while there are issues and highs and lows…it’s easy to be with the person. Being with them is not a struggle. They want the same things. You aren’t trying to figure out whether the path and destination is right, you are just trying to figure out how to get there and navigate the bumps.
So I think it’s more than what she had dreamed because she found out that the path to the dream doesn’t have to be so hard. It is everything she deserves because she is more grounded in knowing what she needs out of a relationship rather than having an unrealistic definition of the dream relationship and settling for something less than that.
I can say this because I interviewed MeiMei not long ago. Before I knew of her new love. I asked her what is best thing about being 40-something. She replied, knowing yourself and being grounded. Something she to got to through yoga, reading, writing, changing her career focus, volunteering and finally coming to the realization that she had to stop relying on men and therapists for her self-esteem. On what she learned after a 10 year struggle overcoming her own young marriage and divorce, her parent’s divorce and father’s criminal investigation, her 5 year tumultuous relationships and many steps forward and back.
“You have to love yourself and respect yourself. You have to put yourself first. We were working and working on it (the relationship). It was so hard. It shouldn’t be that hard. I decided after all that that I had to do what I love and have faith that it will work.”
The loving and respecting yourself plays out in how you see your dreams. It’s the difference between dreams based on perfection and dreams with some grounding in reality. Real life is not perfect. Perfect is no fun on a day to day basis. I think that is what Roethke actually meant when he said less than my dreams. To be married to a fantasy would never provide much support or enjoyment. It leads to constant disappointment. You never really know that partner. The people who are in constant search for the fantasy are in love with being in love but not capable of loving. They will constantly have to move on when there is a slight bump in the road. I’d much rather be with someone who can ride the bumps with me, knowing that there will likely be more and that someday we will laugh at them. When you jump in knowing yourself, you know there will be warts but they are warts that you know you can handle, it can be much more fulfilling.