Day 100 - What I Have Learned in 100 Days...
So it was 100 days ago that I started the Mansbatical. And like with life, it hasn’t gone the way I had planned at all. I started the whole Mansbatical with the thought that I would take a year off from men and dating. I took down my online dating profile and put out to the universe that if I was supposed to date, the universe was going to have to send someone more directly into my life. I wanted to meet someone in the wild.
So a 100 days in and here is what I have learned so far:
1. Life never goes the way you think it is going to go. I have honored my commitment to not online date. I feel pretty confident that I won’t return to that forum unless for research...it just feels too vacuous to me.
2. That it wasn’t really about the men. It was about me. I have called this time “a man ban” or “Mansbatical” but really it has been more a time for me to examine my relationships with men: past, present and future.
3. The best way to find out who you really are in a relationship is to have relationships. While not dating for an entire year would be revealing in many ways, seeing who walks into your life is also revealing - seeing how you respond to this is very enlightening. What I appear to be learning is that despite the universe offering me some pretty amazing men, I am not ready to settle down. I am honoring my year alone albeit differently than I thought I was going to.
4. I enjoy my own company and often select it over the offer of company with others. I can remember at time when I would have spent time with someone I didn’t even like to not be alone.
5. The Mansbatical might have been more about giving me something to write about, more about the commitment, than actually banning men from my life for a year. This endeavor caused me to have a subject matter to write about and a daily commitment to do so. I am not sure that I would have tackled writing and posting everyday otherwise.
6. Men are not the issue. I am the issue. I remain unconvinced of my partnerability. This is ok. This is good for me.
7. I have no idea what I want. I seem to want two conflicting things: a deep abiding love and autonomy. At this time, those ideas are incongruent and, while I am unsure I will ever rectify them in my heart and mind, I am willing to keep walking in the direction that allows for both to exist in equal measure. It is not comfortable, but it is possible.
8. I have only a vague idea of who I am. My identity so convoluted and lost for so long. My previous examinations so shallow and brief. So affected by how much I wanted to and needed to be seen by others.
9. Letting down the facade is hard. Being vulnerable is hard. Intimacy is scary.
10. Love of self is absolutely required before love can be shared with another. If you try to do this in reverse, it is much more dysfunctional and hard. Because there is this fundamental belief that the other person is supposed to make you happy.
11. Writing is a means for me to sort and shift through myself. Owning parts of me that are hard to reconcile in my daily life. Writing provides a place for me to be real while still feeling protected and safe. The buffer of the screen still needed...I am ready to only partly be seen. But that is progress from someone who always hid.
12. Intimacy is hard. Being vulnerable is hard. But the rewards these efforts provide are wonderful. They are totally worth the effort.
13. Writing every day provides me access to myself in a new manner that allows me to access stuff and bat it around which results In a deeper understanding of myself which lays a good foundation for understanding all of you. If I feel it, then so might you.
14. Writing allows me to feel connected in a world where I often feel out of place. Not fully present. Writing allows me access to myself and in turn you. I can’t really describe how this happens, but it does.
15. I used to think I needed saving. I do not believe that anymore. I rescued myself.
16. I must maintain this relationship I have with myself first and foremost. I cannot share anything real with anyone else any other way.
17. I have a wonderful life that is rich and fulfilling. If my life never gets better than it is right now, I am ok with that.
18. Through being willing to take a break of compulsive relationshiping, I gave myself time and space to get to know myself. This time gave me space to work on my relationship with myself which should have really come first.
19. I am ok alone. Really.
20. Life is more about what you allow rather than what you ban. Banning is easy. I am not going to ______. This idea is popular in our culture. We are forever giving up things. Deciding this is not good for us and that is good for us and then changing our behavior in a manner to comport with these ideas. But allowing life to just occur without demanding it fit into our preconceived notions about it, is actually quite hard. This is what the Mansbatical is at day 100 - a process of me allowing more so than banning. Allowing people to walk in and out of my life, my only task is to write about how that feels. Be honest about what is coming and what is going...realizing that my only real task is to accept whatever is occurring as being what is supposed to happen.
Thanks for walking with me for the first 100 days, only 265 more to go!