Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Do Over!

When you're a kid playing a game, the idea of a do-over is a no-brainer. Say you're playing ball in the street and a car interrupts your game - well that would be a perfect moment for a do-over. Or, say you have a great game of badmitton going (anybody, anybody?) and the little birdie gets stuck in a tree.... what does that make? Yep, that too is a perfect do-over opportunity. You get a clean slate to start anew. How nice is that?

I've been thinking a lot about the idea of do-overs recently, though not in a sports context. Lately, I've been thinking about whether you can have a do-over in relationships. Having experienced a failed marriage, I find myself wondering how I can avoid comfortable pitfalls in my new relationship. Is it possible to have a do-over when it comes to love, or does focusing on preventing previously made mistakes keep you stuck in the past? Or worse, force you into acting totally opposite from how you did before, risking a situation where you no longer recognize yourself. How do you stay in the present with your new love while acknowledging lessons learned from the old one?

It's true that different people create different relationships, which, obviously would mean different problems. But there are some issues - communication mishaps, housekeeping issues, etc - that are familiar to everyone. I'll call them universal conflicts. This is why there are so many successful sitcoms about families. We can all recognize ourselves in one of the characters. But recently I realized that my determination to handle familiar issues more gracefully than I did with my ex has had the added consequence of bringing me back to who I was in my marriage. An argument about say, the laundry, leads to ensuing marital flashbacks. Yikes.

I'm not worried about not being over my ex or anything like that. It's more about not being over myself, or to put it more specifically, not being over who I was back then. In truth, there are no do-overs, are there? Maybe 'try again' is better phrasing. It's hard to be present and sit in who you are when you're constantly comparing yourself with who you were.

With that in mind, I'm determined to recognize the things that I learned from my marriage and then let them go. I have to trust that the lessons - the most important ones - will stick by me as I forge ahead with someone new. I remind myself that my relationship now wouldn't have been possible without the evolution of learning from the broken one.

Do over? Uh uh. Try again.

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