I drove 241 miles in my car this weekend. I laughed, I cried a lot, every muscle in my body aches, and I wouldn't trade this weekend for the world.
On Friday I had to work out of town, about an hour away from my house. After that, I drove another 1.5 hours to Wisconsin where someone I used to date lives. We planned to have dinner and that I might stay over until Saturday so we could spend the day together. I wasn't sure how that would go; we tend to drive each other nuts and haven't been speaking much lately.
Friday night was really rough. All of our old arguments resurfaced and we fought and fought. I spent most of the night crying and wondering why I even bothered going to see him when I knew that I hadn't gotten over our relationship. He left for work Friday night and I don't think either of us knew if I'd still be there Saturday morning when he got back.
I decided to stick it out, and Saturday morning while he slept, I went for a run and then for a really long walk. I ran along the river really early in the morning, and I forgot how much I love it down there. It's so peaceful where he lives; there's the river, the bluffs, and so much open sky. I live and work in big cities, and as much as I love being a city girl, I really feel at peace and at home when I'm miles away from everything material in my life. I walked for ages. I explored the paths by the river and at the lock and dam. By the time I got back, I was exhausted, but happy.
Later in the afternoon, after we made make-shift peace over lunch and some record shopping, he wanted to take me kayaking. I've never been kayaking before, and I reallllllly didn't want to. I was scared that I physically wouldn't be able to do it. I was scared that I wouldn't even fit into a kayak; I don't think I've ever seen one before except on tv and in movies where the people shoot themselves over white water rapids and somehow don't die. I was scared that he'd see me fail at all of this and somehow think less of me.
He wasn't having any of my whining, though, and he put me in that boat and pushed me on out off the launch. The first few minutes were terrifying, and told him several times that I couldn't do it, but he showed me how to paddle and we went pretty slow for awhile. I caught on quickly and realized that kayaking? Is AMAZING!
I had SO much fun. We paddled and paddled and paddled. We spent over 3 hours on the lake and he estimated that we went about 4 miles. Every so often we'd stop and just float, then we'd paddle to a new spot and float some more. It was by far one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life. And to think I almost missed out on it! I was so scared to even try, and now I secretly wish he'd invite me down again so that we can kayak some more. lol
After we got back home, we had some dinner and then we both hit the wall. After 3 hours of being in the sun and all that paddling, we could hardly move a muscle. Both of us ended up passing out from pure exhaustion. I woke up fairly early today and made the 2 hour drive home this morning. Now I'm on the couch practically immobile. My abs hurt, my arms hurt, and my hands hurt most of all. I can hardly move them. I have a nickel-sized blister on my right thumb and both of my palms are bruised.
But I'd take all the aches and pains all over again if it meant I could remember this weekend forever. I really needed to get away and I didn't realize how much I needed it until I got back today. I also really needed to see my ex again, but for reasons I never expected. It had been nearly a year since we'd seen each other, and I knew that I still loved him. I probably always will. But I think the part that has me so hung up on what we had together was that I felt like he never cared about me in all the ways I thought he should. I thought our relationship SHOULD look a certain way, that we SHOULD have had certain things, that he SHOULD feel everything that I felt. Now I realize that I was so busy worrying about things we didn't have that I missed out on all the things we did have.
It's not a total loss, though. I know he cares about me in his own ways. I know that he respects me and that he thinks of me often enough. I just hope that if our friendship continues in the future, that I can stop giving him such a hard time and holding our past against him. No one deserves that.
These realizations are so relevant to my journey these past few years, too. Sometimes life doesn't look like what we thought it would look like, or what we thought it should look like. Regardless, we've got to play the cards we have. For me, this means I have to live in the moment and I have to live out loud. I can't be afraid - look at what I'm missing out on when I allow myself to be afraid. I can't deny my feelings. I have to allow myself to feel them and then to move forward. Be it with old love, be it with my ever-present grief, be it with my fears. These are the cards in my hand and I can only win big if I risk big - staying the same isn't an option anymore.