As New Year’s Eve of 2012 was approaching I had some big questions circling around in my heart; do I lean in to this feeling of love I had for Adam or do I lean into my head and logic that told me falling for a younger guy who lived in another country was crazy.
There’s the well known saying out there, “be the change you wish to see in the world” that sounds cliche until you’re actually in a situation where you can either be the change or not, and that felt like the choice I was in the middle of. The change I wanted to see in the world and in me was to experience more love on a daily basis; to see people choosing it in their attitudes towards themselves, towards each other and towards the world. But before I can expect or see that change in the world around me, that change needed to be unfolding inside me and in my own life. And being the change with Adam meant continuing to say yes to this uncommon connection with Adam, regardless of whether I could see an outcome.
So when the time came to drop Adam off at the airport in Salt Lake City to head home to Costa Rica after our Christmas adventure together in Park City & Chicago, I felt a little lost. This was confusing because I used to pride myself on my independence and that I didn’t “need” a man; but there I was driving back from the airport crying because Adam was all I could think about and he was the only person I wanted to be with. But I’d started this sabbatical to both explore who I was outside of my work and write a book, so I wondered whether Adam was a distraction to that intention or was he part of the journey? My brain continued to flip back and forth between giving myself permission to fall in love and telling myself Adam was a diversion from my goal. And I was the only one who knew the answer and it was just going to take making peace with myself.
I noticed that when I returned home from the airport and walked into my little house for the 1000th time, it felt like a different house because it now had hints of Adam in it. The fridge was full of fresh whole foods and veggies, there were tupperware containers of food he’d cooked, there were little beard hairs in my bathroom sink from him shaving and the winter clothes I’d bought for him remained on the two shelves I’d created for him in my massage room, because he didn’t need winter clothes in Costa Rica.
Zona dog was grateful to have my full attention back on her, but I could tell she was affected by Adam’s absence as well. When we walked around the block for the first time without Adam, we walked a little slower, taking in the feeling of who was missing. I busied myself for the rest of the day with cleaning the house, doing laundry, and rearranging some furniture, and noticed how I felt a sacredness to every place where Adam had either touched or been. I’d hold his clothes up to my nose and take in his smell, memorizing it, and I pressed my nose into the pillowcase where his head slept, before I put it in the wash. This profound connection I felt with Adam was not an experience I’d had with any man before, and I wondered what was different about it. I didn’t feel nervous about whether Adam would change his mind about liking me or accepting me and I didn’t worry that he’d meet someone else in the time between when we’d be together again. Instead, I felt peace and trust.
Adam didn’t have a smartphone like the rest of the world, so I knew he couldn’t text me on his layover or when he landed. All he had was his local Costa Rica 2003 Nokia cell phone that didn’t have the internet and you had to punch each key several times to get the letter you wanted to select for a text message. I knew Adam would have to be all the way home to Potrero and online in order to call me via Skype, so I waited patiently by trying to read and not stare at my computer waiting for him to call. It was late in the evening when I heard my skype ring and every muscle in my body relaxed because no one knew my Skype line except for him; it was like our private communication line.
We stayed on Skype together that first night apart for what felt like an eternity, talking about a lot of different things, and when it was time to say say goodnight, Adam said, “I’ll meet you in dream space baby, goodnight” and my heart melted and I felt excited to go to sleep. How was I going to make it an entire month without him? I’d bought his next plane ticket for the end of January, but that was 4 weeks away, a length of time that in that moment felt impossible to endure.
I was nearly 1 month into my sabbatical and there was literally nothing keeping me in Utah during this 5 month time period because I didn’t have to be at work. I thought about how I could bring my computer with me anywhere, so I began to wonder about the possibility of returning to Costa Rica again, sooner rather than later. It was way too impulsive and expensive to hop on a plane in the next few days to be with Adam for the New Year, but what if I went out to Costa Rica after the new year? Was that okay? Was that too much time together too soon? Would he say no if I asked?
I’d scheduled Adam’s next Utah visit to be over both the Sundance Film Festival and the national aerial championships, so we’d have plenty to do together during his visit. But if I returned to Costa Rica sooner, what would we do together? I didn’t want to overstay my welcome, but then I stopped myself and noticed all the commotion and stress I was creating for myself over a very simple fact: I missed Adam and I wanted to see him.
So do I come right out and say all this to him?
Do I hope he invites me back sooner?
Do I invite myself back and just buy a ticket and see what happens?
All valid questions that quickly got their answer the next time we got on Skype together, because I immediately blurted out, “what do you think of me coming out to see you next week, after the new year?”
“Baby, that sounds amazing” he replied.
And that was that; all that stress I gave myself for nothing.
So again, I booked my flight, except now I was coming to Costa Rica to just be with Adam.
We got off the phone and began to search for flights and noticed they’d all gone up since the first time I went to Costa Rica, and I could feel myself getting triggered by thoughts around money. I didn’t want to say that money got in the way of me pursuing a relationship, and I knew I had some room on my credit card, so I said yes and bought my ticket. And immediately after the purchase it felt like I was walking on a cloud and I noticed my senses were more acute. Sounds felt louder, tastes felt sharper, smells felt stronger, and it was as though I could look at people from the across the room and know what they were feeling. It was weird and different; almost like leaning into love had helped me upgrade to a new and even more sensitive version of myself. I also noticed a difference in my relationships; some friendships felt light as air and supportive, like they were along for the ride with me to who knows where, while others felt hard and immobile, as though they were bowling balls weighing me down.
I had a small but loud group of people who didn’t approve of this new direction I was taking with Adam, but they too were naturally finding themselves into the back row of my attention. I needed support right now, not judgement, so I consciously stepped towards the environments and friendships that supported me, and I lovingly turned away from those that didn’t.
My work family at Align was very pro Adam and not just because I owned the company. Many of the team there had known me for almost a decade and saw how different and more me I was with Adam. Plus they’d experienced him first hand both in and out of the treatment room, so I found myself going to the spa more often during this time, to really help myself feel nurtured, both physically and emotionally. The other area of my life where I felt it was safe for me to be my unpredictable self and not feel judged was in the yoga community I’d been slowly building for the last 3 years in Salt Lake City. So I turned to my yoga mat to help me process all this movement and change I was implementing.
My family other than my brother was careful not to express too much of an opinion about what I was doing with Adam, and I was also careful not to ask for their opinion. They saw how happy my recent actions and decisions were making me, so yes my romantic timeline was moving at a different pace than their life, but that also didn’t make it wrong. Only once did I ask my sister what she thought of Adam, and she lead with love in her reply…”I think he’s an amazing guy and I’m really happy you two are so happy together…but I don’t think he makes enough money to support your lifestyle.” And her honest and real comment hit me like a punch in the gut, because in a way, I knew she was right. Adam didn’t have a steady source of income or even a credit card, so I could let that be a deal breaker, or I could just keep trusting and moving forward.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been receiving messages, both direct and indirect, that to be happy and safe, I’d need a man to support me financially. After all, that was the message I received from my parents growing up and saw reflected a lot in society. So to believe that I could be that source of money, safety and support for myself and another was new, and complete self reliance was an intimidating thought. In my family, my dad had supported my mom until their divorce, and my sister’s husband mainly supported her because he was an attorney. That was how you play the game of marriage. But now I was throwing a new idea into the mix. What if I was the sole breadwinner? And what if Adam was the caretaker? Was I getting way to ahead of myself to even think this far? After all, it was just a harmless comment from my sister, but it struck deep. I was willing to learn how to be in a relationship outside of money as the love language and one that had new and different roles, and possibly even no roles.
We were barely 3 weeks in and this was the stuff coming up, so I knew this relationship, or whatever it was that was brewing, had a lot to teach me, and I was grateful that I’d carved out time and space for the lessons. We were approaching the end of 2012, and the world didn’t come to an end like the Mayan calendar had predicted, so what did I want 2013 to hold for me?
I’d started this sabbatical because I was seeking a new kind of life, one where learning how to be in love was my primary focus. I’d been seeking love almost my whole life, but I’d been looking for it in everything outside of me such as men, work, cars, clothes, body size, popularity, and my income. But what if it was already, but I’d covered it up with stories and beliefs. And so what if untangling everything in the way of love was my journey?
All interesting questions to begin to ask myself.
I watched as the New Year’s ball in New York City dropped on my computer screen, while on Skype with Adam from my bedroom in Salt Lake City and him in Costa Rica, and I fell asleep daydreaming of what kind of life I could have if love was my only goal. I think it would likely be filled with magic and healing, so away I went to Costa Rica for adventure #2 with Adam.
More to come.