It's a dull world, but weirdly one most of us spend a lot of time aspiring to be. There's two parts of it: one is sticking out but only in the good ways, and the other I can only describe as a feeling of home, of comfort, of our standard.
Right now I'm having a whole lot of trouble figuring out what exactly that is to me, but I'm getting the feeling that my current life is it. An ever changing bedroom, belongings that fit in my car, an overly-outgoing attitude partly based on survival, and a relationship on the phone- all cut up in spurts of physically being someone and trying to figure out what it means to be married. My normal seems to be a roller coaster, never taking the same loop twice and never stopping with enough time to get off and put my head on straight. Most days, I think that's a good thing.
A few months ago I had a pretty interesting conversation with some ladies I work with. Here's some background on them:
C's husband lives and teaches at a prestigious college in New Mexico. She works with me for a great company in Seattle. For three months each summer he moves to Seattle. She seems him on all the school breaks and, like me, work allows her to go and work from New Mexico on occasion to spend time with him. They've been doing this for three years.
L's husband is a firefighter. He has one of those one for days, off for days schedules. When he's on, he'll be gone for 1-3 days at a time. I don't recall how long they've been married, but I get the feeling this has been awhile. She likes the days when he's gone. It's Me time. She doesn't have to keep the house super clean, can watch trashy TV and do whatever she feels like. When he's home, it's together time.
When I told these stories to my friends, they all had the same reaction- especially to the husband in New Mexico. First: Wow, that must be hard. Second: I could never do that. Third:: Well that's not really a marriage, how could they feel that way, and most especially pertaining to New Mexico relationship- how could you not figure that out to be together? How could you let your jobs rule your relationships?
I didn't share any of those reactions, most especially the last one. In fact, I understood these women and connected with them in a way that I don't with most people, even other army wives and especially with the last sentiment. After all, Hubs is back from overseas and living in North Carolina, and here I am 'selfishly' working away on the west coast. When I mentioned that to my friends, every single of one of them felt that I was different. Military is different. It forces choices on you.
I don't really believe that- I very much made my choice to be and to stay here for the same reasons C hasn't moved to New Mexico and L enjoys her time watching trashy TV and truly enjoys her alone time. I love working. I love that my career is a culture, not a job and I don't want to give that up. I love exploring. And if I'm honest with myself, I love a little bit of chaos.
Despite all of that, I've found myself yearning for Normal. I see my co-workers leaving for dinner with their spouses, to pick up their kids from day care, calling them to say they'll be home late from work. I wonder what the heck that is like. Today I was telling my mother-in-law how this is the first time in four years we will spend a cheesy Valentines Day together. That we've only actually spent one anniversary together if you could both marriage and "dating" years, out of a total of 5. We've had more birthdays and Christmases than other special days, but half of those have been spent driving across the country to the next destination, and if I'm lucky, with me, him and our cat. We don't fight over normal couple things, but stupid stuff like "You didn't call me before bed" or "you send me too many pictures of the cat and not any sexy ones."
When I've mentioned as much to C & L, that some days I wonder about Normal, they tell me "You are normal. This, this is your normal." The scariest, and I suppose most comforting part is, they are absolutely right. And when I think about it, what scares me more IS normal. There are days we talk about him getting into a certain unit, and that would place us in one city for five years. Five years. And then after, we'd spend his last 5 in Washington and retire there. Those last two sentences sound like a death sentence. The idea of staying in one place, of giving up a revolving bedroom door, that is truly scary.
So, this is my normal. This is my comfort zone. I'm always telling Hubs that I'm afraid of pretty much anything, and the difference between being a regular person and a compelling person is doing all of the things you are afraid of, so that's why I do things- so maybe, maybe "normal" is something I need to give a try some day.
In the end, I guess I'm still finding my normal, but days like today, I'm not sure right here and now is the normal I want to be, because ultimately, I don't want normal to be a country between me and the one I love most.