Friday, September 23, 2016
This is me, twenty-five years ago, standing in front of Windermere - England's largest natural lake. (Can you believe it was actually summertime when this photo was taken? Good ole English weather, eh?) I was almost a week in to a two-week road trip through the UK with two friends that immediately followed a fourteen-day Contiki tour through Europe with one of them. (Sorry, just to digress for a moment ... I wonder, when looking at this photo, why I'm wearing black socks with grey cotton pants and white shoes, and why didn't I push down one of the legs of my pants before the pic was taken? *sigh*)
Just before I left for my holiday, I had been seeing a guy. Although it was very early days, I quickly realised the relationship wasn't going anywhere; he was still hung up on his ex-girlfriend, and I was interested in someone else at the time (someone I had planned to see on the holiday). We quite openly discussed our feelings for other people. During one of those discussions, I pondered the point of us continuing the 'relationship' (for want of a better word - it hadn't gotten anywhere near serious - like I said, it was very early days), and he said, 'Go on your holiday, see how things go, then when you come back, we'll see where we're both at. At the very least we're friends, and friendship is the basis of any relationship.'
Wise words indeed, however it wasn't enough for me. I knew - in my gut - nothing was going to eventuate between us, and in truth, I felt uncomfortable going halfway around the world to visit someone while someone else was waiting for me back home. So one day when I found myself alone in a rental apartment that I was photographing for work (I worked for a real estate company), and noticed a telephone in the corner of the room and found the line was still connected, I called him. 'It's not working,' I explained. 'I just think it best we end it now, rather than drag things out.' After a short, respectful and kind discussion between the two of us, we were done, but vowed to remain friends.
I left that rental property finally understanding the whole 'weight lifted from your shoulders' concept. I'd allowed my first serious relationship to drag on and on, well beyond its expiry date, and I was so proud of myself for not doing that again. I knew that he was probably using my upcoming holiday as an excuse to prolong the inevitable, and perhaps once upon a time, I'd have done the same, but in the past, that hadn't worked for me.
Later in the evening in Windermere, after the picture was taken, I sat on the bed in our cosy B&B room and wrote a postcard to send to my ex. You see, his ex-girlfriend was from the same town. I knew he'd find the humour in it (and he did).
Although things didn't work out with the other guy either (something I kinda knew going in to it, but wanted to know for sure), I don't regret the decision to call things off with my ex. As the saying goes, Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
Maybe it's a Virgo thing, but I like things to be finished up neatly and I'm no fan of living with question marks hanging over my head. Tying up loose ends - of all types - makes me feel a gazillion times lighter, like I can start afresh and look to the future. Wipe the slate clean. I knew, getting on that plane to the UK, I was free of any future decisions, and I could just live in the moment, and importantly, my ex was able to do the same.