Thursday, January 3, 2008

wrapping up the old

I have 1.5 days left in the old job. My colleagues are actually being quite nice. It looks like I'll be able to purchase my computer, which is a good thing as my ancient Mac (purchased from my last job 4 years ago!) died a few months ago. So this way I'll get a personal laptop, and can have a bit to decide about computers for the new position.

I'm a little nervous about Monday. I think I've mentioned this is a start up, so there is literally nothing. No office, no structure, no phone number, no accounting system, no nothing. So, um, what do I do on the first day? I think I call the Board chair and start figuring out expectations, and also set up calls/meetings with other board members. I might actually think about a trip the second week, to meet with the primary funder - all in all, it's a big, daunting project.

Today I had a counseling session, and then we did a joint one. I think I'm still flummoxed by the switch flipping. My husband truly acts almost as if the fall didn't happen, that we're just getting a fresh start. Which I guess is how you have to act, but I have trouble believing it.

We spent most of the session talking about normal things - well, as normal as you can expect given his family issues. It was at the end that we talked about New Year's Eve. A friend of mine volunteered to babysit for us, and we took advantage and went to dinner with another couple friend. It was hard sitting across the table from them - he kept his arm around his wife nearly the entire time, they were affectionate and so clearly had a solid base of love and support for each other. The woman is a friend of my husband's, and so we knew they actually had a hard holiday season - she wasn't happy with their holiday plans, and she said several times she spent the holiday baking and eating cookies alone. The husband had - without first checking with his wife - agreed to help some friends with a complicated construction project. So he spent most of the time off away, doing his own thing, leaving his wife alone. My husband said he had also noticed how tight their bond seemed to be at dinner, but also thought, what do we know, for all we know they went home and had a huge fight. Which is possibly true. You never really do know what is going on between two people. But still, that night I wanted what they seemed to have.

The counselor reminded us that it was a miracle we had been together to go out at all on NYE, and that's true. It did lead to me saying I had spent most of my 20s insisting I wanted to lead a life of no regrets. I never wanted to look back and say I regretted my choices or any aspect of my life. Maybe that's unreasonable? Does everyone have regrets? Big regrets?

Even with my daughter as part of the mix, right now, I really regret marrying my husband. I wish we had broken up when we were dating. At this point in my life, I really do regret our entire relationship. In my alternate universe, I would have married someone else with whom I shared more core values. We'd have lived a more adventurous life, and we'd have 3 kids. Not quite sure how the adventurous life would match with earlier procreation, but hey, it's my fantasy alternate life.

Our counselor told us about a story in this week's New York Times, The New Year's Cocktail: Regret With a Dash of Bitters. The subhead is: Ruminating on paths not taken is an emotionally corrosive exercise and the common wisdom about regret appears to be true. I need to read this a couple of times.

Our joint counselor is a cognitive behaviorist. So she's big on us moving forward, putting regrets aside, changing behaviors, getting better. Usually I'd be that way too. My own counselor, though, said it best - it's too soon for me. It's OK that I'm not not quite ready to forgive and forget, just move on, after I was dealt such a blow. My husband kicked me when I was down. Hard. And it's going to take some time to heal from that.

I've only read the article once, and I think I'll need several re-readings. Read it (registration might be required) and let me know what you think.

What regrets do you have?

6 comments:

Am I doing okay? said...

Happy New Year!

I regret: ever moving from SF. Not buying the blue house on Main Street. Not being more vocal with the men folk. And I regret not leaving jobs and relationships where I knew it wasn't working.

Am I doing okay? said...

Did you read this article too: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/01/health/01well.html?em&ex=1199509200&en=f2d0bd6a1103b434&ei=5087%0A

Which Box said...

Interesting article on clutter. 9 rubbermaids is a lot, but in general, I'm still in the packrat category, not really seriously dealing with clutter. Houses built in 1914 have a definite lack of closet and storage space (my daughter's room has no closet at all). We do have too much, and I do need to be better about getting rid of things. And that is an interesting link between clutter and weight.

Despite my sadness, I am overall happier to be married than not. We'll see how long it lasts, and maybe it won't. It's all still too raw and fresh to really be objective - or rational - about it all.

theotherbear said...

I'd be too afraid to think about what I regret let alone write it down. It's a bit hard to take back a thought once you've finished thinking it. Perhaps I am a camel, head i the sand.

Lisse said...

My regrets have mostly to do with not having my act together early on regarding college and career. I wish I had picked a direction rather than drifting as I did. Now with a Master's degree, it hardly matters, but still I wonder what it would have been like to know what I was doing and where I was headed back then. I also regret not doing a semester abroad.

I don't have too many regrets about other people, a guy I wasted too much time with ultimately led me to my husband. I can't feel too much regret about that.

Moving on might require that you trust him again, and it seems to me to be too early for that. Husband seems to be eager to sweep it all under the rug, and I'm not sure that's the right thing either.

I'm still astounded by MIL's behavior and implications for your husband. I always wondered how you (or he) can heal from someone else's offensive behavior when the offender is sill in your life and still offending.

niobe said...

I'm searching my mind, but I don't really have all that many regrets about my choices. Yes, I made decisions that worked out badly, sometimes very badly, but I completely understand why they were the right decisions for me at the time.

I do kind of regret the things other people did to me. For example, my former best friend, who secretly started dating my boyfriend, who I really, *really* loved, and, ultimately, married him.

But, looking back, I can't see anything that *I* could have done differently to prevent that outcome. And, as much as it hurt me to lose him, he's really far better suited to my ex-best friend than he ever was to me.