Today it came to me in a flash – something I have always known in a perfectly intellectual way – but now I know it in my gut. There is a very big difference between head and heart knowledge – between theory and practice – between understanding and “getting it.”
Last night Simon and I talked about a couple who moved to the Kootenays (quite close to us) at about the same time we did. They are both in their forties and have gambled everything on a large piece of land where they lived over the winter in a camper thingy. This summer they will be building their off-grid home and garden – and they are both so excited about it! That is, I am assuming the husband is as excited as his wife. Haven’t met him yet. I was fascinated to hear her tell us their plans and the research they have done. I am happily cheering them on and fully expect them to be wildly successful.
And this got me thinking (and talking to Simon). When we bought this place, Simon exhibited – and still does – all the excitement I saw in our new neighbour. My attitude, openly stated from the start, was that I would do my best to make it work. My best, to begin with, was pretty pathetic. I was sad and uprooted and longed for Vancouver Island. In my defence, I did pull myself out of it and I have been getting better. I still have my off days – like yesterday when I couldn’t seem to find anything in my surroundings that called to me or told me I was home.
But I have built a hiking community and continue to build it – and I do enjoy the high places here. Okay – so back to the top. I told Simon last night that I think he ought to have someone by his side like our neighbour – someone who would be out there with him, swinging an axe and as excited as he is about everything around here. Instead, he has me and, the truth is, I feel wildly inadequate. I know Simon loves me and certainly I love him too – but there are days when I think he chose the wrong person.
So what hit me this morning, between waking and sleeping, was the knowledge of the mistake I (we?) made. It’s so damn simple. When two people make a decision that is going to affect their lives, both people have to be enthusiastic about it – genuinely excited. It won’t work (at least not well) if only one of them is excited and the other promises to “make it work.” It’s unfair to both people. How do you stop that from happening?
Looking back, I suppose I should have dug in my heels at the time we purchased and said, “No.” My excuse is that I saw Simon’s excitement and couldn’t bring myself to throw cold water all over him. I was also pretty convinced he would resent me if I said no.
At any rate, here we are and it works better every day. But at some point we are going to have to make another decision – and this is where it becomes important. When and if we decide to sell this place and move somewhere else, we can’t make the same mistake again. We can’t compromise if compromise means one person is happy about a move and the other does it for the sake of the person they love.
We love each other. We share values – all the important ones. Somehow and some way, we are going to build a life that we are both enthusiastic and excited about. That may be right here or perhaps near here or somewhere else altogether. But one thing I know for sure – and I do mean KNOW – we are going to live our lives without one of us having to compromise what brings them joy, peace, happiness and bliss. I have no idea how this will all transpire – but it will come to pass. Oh yes it will.