After years of deliberation, my boyfriend has decided to retire early from career number one and pick up a second career. I am scared shitless. I’ve known it was coming for a while, and I really wasn’t surprised by his decision, but it means a lot of changes and much like anyone, I am afraid of change. I’ve run a gauntlet of emotions over the last few years because of it, and I think a good journaling session will help me clear my head and streamline my thoughts about it.
The career he is retiring from is called automotive technician. Mechanic, grease monkey, wrench slinger, he has gone by many names. And he used to love it, but it has become boring a monotonous. His boss is a nice enough guy, but there are things that just don’t add up to make this a lucrative career. His employer does not offer benefits or retirement or any kind of legitimate bonuses. In our state, it is a “right to work” state which in a nutshell means low wages, no unions, and crappy business ethics are normal for non-corporate businesses. Ten years at this same place with the owner/boss and 3 other co workers. My boyfriend still only gets 1 week paid vacation a year and no sick days. He takes a day off to go to the doctor and his boss deducts from his “salary”. Poor boyfriend is fed up and is also bitten with an extreme case of wanderlust.
So he’s signing up for school to get his CDL. He wants to be a truck driver. He can totally achieve his dreams with this career change. Funding to fix the credit score, buy property, and insurance if he gets sick. Plus paid vacations, retirement fund, and the bonus of travel. Every day. Forever. Bah- you can see where my objectivity to the situation melts away into bitterness. The goal of this session is to let go of the reasons I am bitter about it.
Background- boyfriend and I were junior high sweethearts. We’ve been together every day of the last 18 years, except his fishing and hunting trips. I have a mental illness which fools me into thinking I have attachment issues. (Okay, I do have attachment issues but it’s not about me and my comfort level, it’s about Darling and his happiness and life satisfaction.) When he goes out to turkey or bear camp, he’s gone a week at a time. I enjoy the first two evenings. Day one, spa day. Hair, nails, bath, book, chocolate, wine, silence. Day two, I enjoy how the house stayed clean over day one. Day three rolls around and I am a bawling mess. I start ticking, and work myself into a frenzy. I am an extroverted introvert, so I don’t reach out and tell people I need help, and I am a damn good faker of making it look like everything is alright. It’s an acquired skill.
So I am worried about my comfort level, my ability to cope, and my ability to function with Darling gone on the road all the time. I want him to be happy, and the last few years he just hasn’t been happy. He comes home from work grumpy and tired, drinks a few beers, and goes to bed after watching a movie. So, really, we sit in silence while he sulks all the time, and I am talking myself into realizing his happiness is paramount to our relationship. I want to feel wanted, not ignored. I let Darling know I want him. But I think, honestly, some time apart would do us some good. Give him a chance to miss me, and then when he is home, I will feel wanted.
I am losing my stoner buddy. As everyone knows, truck drivers have frequent random drug testing. Darling is quitting smoking, but I am not. I will have to take my puffs to the garage as so the smell will not tempt him. I will still be a daily user, and we have come to the compromise that I will understand and respect his decision, and he will refrain from being shitty to me when I am smoking. I will not pass judgement when he picks up that fifth or sixth beer, and he won’t make passive aggressive comments about my herbal indulgences. I’m a smoker, he’s a drinker, but we are committed to each other. I have had serious issues with his alcoholism in the past. It’s hard for me, but it is also a double standard for me to pass judgment on him for preferring to sin differently than I do. I know he’s going to make me feel bad, or the bipolar in my head is at least going to assume that breath out through his nose was a judgement against me. I just need to be aware of this about myself.
Darling also wants us to move out of state. I am all for that! Idaho is a beautiful place full of assholes and backwards laws that restrict everything. Dumb politicians, lobbyists for the oil companies, government conspiracies, and bible thumpers. We’re looking at our neighboring states, as I am a country girl at heart. I can’t stand people or crowds or driving through population with no open spaces. I’m leaning towards a legal weed state, such as Oregon. Recreational just got passed in legislation and takes effect as a law tomorrow. I could have my own greenhouse and not feel like a criminal anymore! Southern Oregon is beautiful and the cost of living isn’t outrageous like other places I would consider. And it has the beach! Darling prefers California, and after our recent vacation there I can absolutely say no way in hell am I ever living in Southern California. No way in hell. No. I’d consider Colorado or Washington, too. I need the forest, the mountains, and my allergies to the sun makes me prefer somewhere with clouds and cooler temperatures. Fate will land us where we are meant to grow, like a strong tree whose seed had traveled on the wind before sprouting roots in its home.
Also, after a while of being on the road, I will be able to go with Darling and see the country. But he says when be buy property, I can have my acres and be away from town. And I will have the opportunity to cruise with him and see new places, I may find something I like more than South Oregon better. But my best girlfriend lives near Seattle. But the cost of living is so high in Washington. Why on earth am I even bothering to worry about this now? There’s plenty of time to worry about it when the time comes. Silly me.
So it begins, the ending of one life and the beginning of a hundred others. Baby steps at first, and I can allow myself to worry about the variables later, when the time comes. Right now I have to get him financial aid and look into student loans and the different schooling options. We decided long ago I am administration of our lives, he’s the manual labor.
All I know is I support him in his quest to be happy 100%. Even if that means at the sacrifice of my comfort and security. I have blind faith he will succeed, because he always succeeds at everything he tries. It’s a foolproof plan. And he’ll have insurance and retirement benefits. I feel better after journaling about it. Breathe in, breathe out, let it go. Be the loving spouse Darling needs in his life, give him the home life he deserves, and the acceptance and understanding he deserves. Emily, this is not about you. It’s about both of us. And we have the will to choose how we react to it. I choose to embrace the change with gusto and an open heart. A toast, to our future!