Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More or Less

About eight years ago I met the first man I fell in love with. (I was 32)
I had had so many years of dissappointment, of Mr. Maybes, of 'I-like-him-but-I'm-not-excited-about-him' experiences that I had no idea what love might really feel like. So when I met Joki and we shared the excitement of wanting to see each other All. the. Time, not worrying about who called last, or if calling again might seem desperate... and just basking in one another's company, well it was completely new to me.

We were in the same career field (read: neither of us makes much money) which accounted for our similar personality traits and spot on senses of humor.

It didn't last. Due to our religious differences, (he's Jewish, I'm Catholic - and while I knew we could make it work if we decided to - he was set on marrying a Jewish woman. He's engaged now, BTW and she's lovely, Hubble.) we decided not to start something we couldn't finish.

It was the first hardest decision I ever made.
But I took it as a message from God that if He had made one man like Joki - there had to be more!

Soon after, one of my girlfriends came to me trying to justify breaking up with a guy who was 'great' but didn't own his own home, or have a high paying job. These were her chief complaints about the relationship.
To be honest, I thought she was being materialistic... and I told her that if I could have made it work with Joki, I was fully prepared to live with him in my little one-bedroom, 740 square foot condo for the next 40 years if that's all we could ever afford.

She told me that my passionate dissertation on Mr. Right gave her goosebumps, and also made her realize that she wasn't in love with Mr. Not-Rich-Enough.

Then I met Mr. Burns
I thought right away... in the first week that this was the guy I would marry. It was destined.

We talked about how we would live if we ended up together.
I told him once that if I could spend on deep tissue massage, what he spends on golf-- I'd be the happiest, most relaxed woman alive. He said that was definitely do-able.

When I put food away in his french door, stainless-steel fridge - the puny, poor layout of my own fridge seemed woefully inadequate. When we have a house, we must take that fridge with us.
When he brought flowers home to brighten his own condo (never for mine, btw) I dreamed of having a house with a garden so that I could grow my own flowers to decorate our home.

And a job for me? No. I would dabble in photography and try to make babies.

The life I imagined with him had to have more MORE M O R E.

I started to think that maybe I was wrong about Joki. That I must have been caught up in the giddiness of love - and it made me believe I could do without.

Now in the short time I've spent getting to know Jerry/Hugh, I've learned that together, we would have a modest life. And I love the idea.

Yes, I know I'm getting carried away thinking about an uncertain future... I daydream, I'm a girl... so sue me!

He runs his own business, which is a daily struggle to break even. He's told me that he already sees and appreciates that I'm not a materialistic girl, that I don't judge him for not owning a home or condo yet, even though I do own my own.

When I imagine a future with Jerry/Hugh, I imagine renting an apartment with a couple bedrooms and an office in mid-town. No backyard, but a park nearby - no garden but oh well. Monthly massages... I can probably forget about that. I would have to work if I could keep a job (perpetual unemployed girl here...) and maybe work my way into running a portrait business - to which he could contribute his skill-set on the business side of things.

So here I am again
Thinking that I could live on little but love.
Like the life I imagined with Joki.
But not with Mr. Burns. With Mr. Burns, I needed so much filler in my imaginary life.

I could only picture a life with him if I was getting more stuff from him. Probably because I knew I would never experience the love I needed.

Yes, I'm getting carried away thinking about possibilities ~ but the lesson from my day-dreaming is this... I really think I'd rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable. I think if you can see being happy with someone with little, you're probably on the right track.
If you think you can only be happy with someone if you have plenty - there's a message there.


Heidi said...

There's a song from "Songs For a New World" by Jason Robert Brown called "Stars and the Moon". It tells the story of a woman who had a very definite idea of how her life should be, so much so that she rejects the men who would give her adventure and love and the stars and moon if she asked for them. When she finally meets "Mr. Right", who can give her cars and townhouses and villas, she takes his offer...but she regrets it later because she realizes that she never dreams anymore. I don't want to end up like that.

I'd rather be happy and poor. I'm good at being poor, and I'm pretty good at being happy.

Anonymous said...

I saw a greeting card once that showed a little boy and girl walking along in rain coats and rubber boots. One of them was holding a lunchpail- the inside of the card says "We'll be okay, as long as we're together and one of us brings snacks." This made me think of that.

I agree with your statement. Few people know how to be happy and rich- they never seem to have enough. Conversely, some of the most truly contented people I know have little in the way of material possessions.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather have someone who loves me and cherishes me more than a comfortable life with a lukewarm relationship too! And right now this is how it's shaping up but I am ever so thankful for the little things with his big heart and affectionate ways.

Genevra said...

Hmm, what a lovely and thoughtful post. I remember a good friend telling me that even though she waited a long time (by Mormon standards) to get married, she was so happy she had and that she ended up marrying a man who was nothing like she had envisioned herself marrying. She told me that she would have waited until she was 70 if she had to, just to be married to a man like him.

I wonder if the reason you would have been happy rich or poor with those men, is because you were both on the same page in that area of your life. I think that is one of the most important areas of beliefs and/or needs to have in common, in order to a relationship that both parties are happy with. I don't think it is the lack of money that drives a wedge between a couple (though it certainly can), I think it is the couple being on different pages in regard to beliefs and expectations about money.

I'm so tired tonight and I hope that made sense. It sure did in my head! :)

Krissie said...

Great post. I totally understand where you are coming from, been in relationships where it was about the "stuff" and at the same time, I have always said that I'd live in a cardboard box with the right guy. When I told this to Travis, he laughed and said that theory just might be tested. He's currently running a homeless shelter, and making jack squat to do it. He joked that one day a year we may have to live in a cardboard box as a fundraiser. Livin' on love.

Steamed Dumpling said...

Your relationship with Joki is very similar to mine with GFTL. I met him when I was 31. I'm Catholic and he's Atheist. It was very difficult to end it when we just started. It's not fair.

I don't think you are silly. I think we daydream because we know what it is we want. It is our heart's desire and isn't that the reason you are dating, so that it would lead to that point?

I'm still working on the whole struggling in the financial aspect of a relationship. I always imagined that I would follow a man around the world doing missionary work. I can be poor if it benefitted others. But I couldn't be poor to support the dream of someone I was in a relationship with. He was dead set on pursuing his music. I couldn't see doing that and having a family. I loved him but couldn't support him in that endeavor. I think I'll settle on being comfortable. I've never cared for being rich.

Rachel said...

I think you are right on in what you are looking for and your dreams. I used to have dreams, like you did with Joki. And then I let it go for stupid reasons on my own end. Mainly because I was listening to those around me who didn't have my best interests at heart.
I settled for the Mr. Burns in my life because he had a good job and take care of me. Only I didn't want to be taken care of, I wanted to contribute, to have dreams, to live an adventure.
It takes great courage to give up the Mr. Burns in our lives but I so admire you for daring to dream. All the filler- just doesn't fill.

Anonymous said...

TRS once again, your words just catch me and I fully understand, I go back to the same things of how you are with your Mr.Burns and I end up going into a trap with the person I talked to you about.
A little box sometimes is happier then a big box and I wonder sometimes if that is even highly possible to find. I just sat here tonight with my bff at her house for the holiday weekend and said, sometimes I go to the mall and I see everyone with someone even the heaviest of people the ugliest of people and I sit and say what is wrong with me. She feels IM not in my area where I need to be but, I keep falling under the trap, but, I would rather have the smallest of box and be happy then all the money in the world. So, your not crazy, thank you for words and glad your posting, I keep checking.