1.28.2016

Perspectives on the Long Haul

That's possibly the most unsexy title that I ever wrote, but I've been saying that phrase a lot lately.

"If we're in this for the long haul..."

"If we plan on staying..."

For once, I'm on a visible timeline. As Lenny Kravitz once sang, "I'm old enough to see behind me." I can now see just how long it takes for certain things to become as they are (or as I'd like them to be).

My good friends started out as roommates or friends of friends who I timidly exchanged numbers with. Man, some people I talk to every day spent years as just acquaintances.

The jobs that I loved and in which I felt comfortable and capable at first were nervous first days.

And every church that I ever called home was once a casual Sunday here and there where I mostly avoided small talk with people I didn't know.

Things change after a while. They grow. They bloom. But everything, for the most part, starts very small.

That's why I'm constantly telling my husband and myself about the long haul. Because when you see things on a long enough timeline, you understand that the good, comfortable stage of any relationship, job, or home address doesn't happen suddenly. It doesn't even happen in two or three months. You need to see years roll by some times before you really settle into something. So, yeah, if you're in it for the long haul...

It just takes the pressure off, you know? For example, right now, I can be okay with getting to know people slowly. The Melissa's, the Karen's, the Hannah's, the Crista's, the Jen's, and every one else in the tribe... yeah, those don't happen instantly in most cases. So, I can relax that I just have three or so local numbers in my phone and a few social outings on the calendar.

This perspective also helps me  manage my expectations. I don't have to know my way around town plus six alternate routes right now. I rarely realize it's trash day until the truck drives by. It's certainly not possible for me to have a favorite restaurant yet. Just because some things used to be second nature before doesn't mean they have to be now (and doesn't mean they won't be again one day).

Another thing this perspective does is slow me down. I tend to rush. I think everything could be done faster. Fix it and fix it now could be my motto. But one doesn't get that luxury being new in town. I must have patience. I have to wait. Not necessarily be idle, but stop forcing what I want, when I want it. Granted, I've never been remarkable at this, but here's an opportunity to give it another whirl.

One day, it will be hard to imagine that I didn't always live here. For my daughter, who's not even two yet, this is the only home she'll ever really know. This will all become old hat one day. So, I'm not in a rush to build a makeshift life like the one I had. I can make friends and grow roots in my community one day at a time. Because, after all, if we're in this for the long haul...

~jennifer.

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