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As we’ve entered the new year, I think it’s only right that I start on a note that is important to all of us, love and relationships. For this post I’m going to focus particular on love and relationships relating to the opposite sex (or same depending on your inclination), because this is something I’ve been experiencing for the last couple of months.
I can hardly believe that it’s been almost six months since I started seeing Mr Mature, as I don’t have the best track record of choosing men, I’ve had my fair share of cheaters, liars, dogs, bad boys, commitment phobes, you name the problem man, I’ve probably dated him. And I use the term dating, loosely! My longest mutually monogamous relationship probably lasted all of three months. Going in with Mr Mature, I didn’t really know what I wanted, but I knew it was nice to have this attractive, intelligent, successful, kind man want to be with me. However, I was also wary that he was into me purely for my young, seductive appeal – I tend to lean more towards sexy than beautiful in men’s eyes.
Months later, we’re still together and dare I say ‘in love’? But it’s definitely not without its challenges. I think while there is definite positives for dating at an older age, when you know yourself better, have more confidence, higher self-esteem etc, it does mean that you come with your own share of baggage from failed relationships, traumas, pre-conceived ideas of what a relationship should be and even a level of stubborness as you’re used to your own life, your way and nothing else.
Sometimes it’s easier to throw in the towel and keep on stepping until you find the perfect match. But then you ask yourself if such a think exists, without putting any work into it? Think about everything in life, what has come to you without you having to put any effort and work into it?
I am a big believer in communication – Mr Mature isn’t great at communicating, which is scary at times, but I think he hears me. One thing he always says to me is don’t change for me, don’t do stuff just to please me. As women, I think it’s too easy for us to compromise to please our partners, but when you are constantly compromising then you get miserable and unhappy. Relationships are a two way street, both partners have to make an effort, and while I don’t advocate in constantly banging your peeves to your partner, I do think that if something bothers or hurts you, you have to speak up about it. Sometimes your partner doesn’t even know that that’s how you’re feeling.
What I’ve found particularly difficult is divorcing my past (baggage and issues) from this relationship. It’s not that it ever crosses my mind to think that he’s unfaithful – though in Zambia, that would hardly be surprising, and even he thinks that I think he’s up to no good because of his lack of communication at times, but that’s not it at all. I think as women we tend to know our partners are cheating, we just choose to ignore it, so that isn’t the thing I worry about – plus unlike previous relationships, I never went into it thinking he would cheat!
But it’s other things, and I feel that sometimes I let my past experience determine my present. In 2012, I do want to put the baggage behind me and remember that the present is a gift and (just another cliche for effect), life is too short to be miserable. I know I have a good man, and I’m pretty sure he knows he has a good woman, will we last? Who knows, but it’s more important to love for today. You also can’t live your life being scared of another failed relationship – though it does make me laugh that he thinks my ‘independence’ is what has kept me from a deep, meaningful relationship! – I will continue to communicate and if that freaks him out or becomes too much for him, so be it, it just means we weren’t met to be. It will hurt, but it won’t kill or break me.
Love and relationships should be fun, should make you grow as a person, not make you sad, miserable and break you down. If it does, then you need to ask yourself why are you in that relationship? Remember, another person does not define who you are as a person, they might help make you a better person, but only a better person of who you already are. Love you more than you love anyone else, so that you can give healthy love to another.
Love and peace in 2012 – I wish you all the best and happiness – for all of us!
Demarco’s song I Love My Life is definitely my new theme song. And it’s fitting that I’m listening to it right now, on Zambia’s 47th Independence Day.
The last few months have been full of learnings, both good and bad, but on this day, I feel like I have a lot to appreciate, I’ve learnt a lot and I still have so much to look forward to.
Today, we had some family friends over to visit my dad, and I was so happy when I heard him tell them that he had accepted that he has cancer.
I think the cancer diagnosis was hard on all of us, but even though it’s still early days as he still does more and more tests to figure out the best treatment options for him, I’m happy that he isn’t letting him get down.
At his age (70 something), he has lost a good number of his friends and he says he is grateful to have lived as long as he has. Which is such a great and positive attitude to have, but I hope it doesn’t meant that he won’t fight his disease anyway. As annoying as he sometimes can be, I’m definitely grateful to spend these days with him, especially now as he opens up to his life during Kaunda days and before independence – he actually is enjoying having a captive audience these days. Though sometimes I worry about him giving his opinion willy nilly. Right now the country seems to be split – you’re either PF or you’re not. The point of an opposition hasn’t fully sunk in to everyone – but that’s a side bar.
I digress. My father’s illness has been one challenge. The other challenge has been running our business Media 365. I don’t think there is anything more rewarding than owning your own business, especially if it’s something you are passionate about (though can be equally rewarding to work for a company that is unlike anything else ). But it is no easy feat! It comes with all sorts of challenges and sometimes I feel like I’m out of my depth – my almost complete MBA did not prepare me for this! Just when you think you can’t swim any longer and it might be time to sink, something comes up that makes it all worth it.
I’m so excited about the new opportunities that have come our way and that in the next few months will really test us but will be the beginning of a very exciting path for us. The thing that stands out to me about our business is that we don’t just care about the money (though we do want to make it) but we truly love what we do. We have been blessed with the ability to follow our dreams, and now it’s just about putting in the hard work to make it reality. And boy is it hardwork!
I’m also learning to put myself first now, for real, I know I say it all the time, but I do think I’m getting there. Slowly but I’m definitely getting there. It’s about learning to prioritise your needs and getting people to work around that – no more guilt trips for me! The reality is that I’ve been able to work this hard and get to where I am in just over eight years, then why haven’t you? We all have the same opportunities – in different forms, but opportunities nonetheless – so what have you done with them? We’re all born with some talent or another, how have you used them to your advantage? Only you can determine how you shape your life, don’t think the world owes you anything, because it doesn’t. And frankly, neither do I. I just made the decision that other people’s problems are not my priorities, as adults you make the decisions in your life and you must live with the consequences of those decisions.
I’ve also learnt when it comes to family that perhaps not everyone’s priorities are the same, and I can’t blame people for doing their own thing, but I’m also not going to be the glue to hold it together. You either want to do it, or you don’t. That’s just how I see it. Anyone with a (large) family will know what I’m talking about, whether it’s emotional support, financial support, or just communicating with your family.
I’ve also learnt to let go and just relax, not always analysis everything or need a definitive plan for where my life and areas in my life are going. This is really working well with Mr Mature, 4 months strong and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a huge learning curve, but like he says, we’re both learning, so we take each day as it comes and just see where it leads. I can honestly say, I’ve never been in a relationship like this before and that’s a good thing. For now, I’m just going with the flow.
On this independence day I also vowed to myself that I will get my financial goals in check and really begin to work on them. Paying off my debt and building my house will be my biggest priorities. I’ve already got some plans in mind for my house – it’s not going to be my dream house just yet – maybe if I ever get married that will be my project with my man – but for now, it will be something that I can call my own – and that Mr Mature can spend the night at, because sneaking him into my parents house would not be cool! My worry is that the rainy season is coming soon, so I have to work fast – at least get the foundation done. So fingers crossed I get all my cash in hand in the next few weeks (hope springs eternal!).
Right now, I feel like I’m in a good place. I might not be in the best place financially but emotionally, I think I am. And sooner or later, the finances will come together too! For now, I’m enjoying the moment and living in the present – it is the gift of today!
Have a great week ahead and don’t feel bad to put yourself first. You do matter!
I’m pretty good at controlling my emotions, I think emotions can cloud your judgement. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes emotions can help in decision making – but you need to know how to read your emotions and couple them with rational cognitive processes.
I have been working non-stop since May, since I moved back to Zambia, working two high-level jobs, and it’s really beginning to take it’s toll. Thankfully, it has yet to affect my decision-making, it might have slowed it down a bit, but I’m still managing to make decisions that work and are effective.
But where I’m beginning to slip is on the personal side. We tend to be a bit more lax when it comes to our personal life I suppose, we take too much for granted.
I’m happy with Mr Mature but… It’s nothing to do with him, it’s all me. It’s times like this when I wonder if I can be in a relationship. Maybe it’s because I am from a large family, maybe it’s because I was never the IT girl at school, maybe it’s because… I don’t know, but I’ve never been the one who stands out in the crowd. I never thought this really bothered me. I guess that’s the price you pay for excelling in your professional life (if I do say so myself), you focus so much on that one side and ignore that the personal side is slipping.
It was only when I started to question wanting more out of my life that I realised that actually, balance is really important in life. We can work as hard as we want to but if we can’t be special to at least one person, what are we doing it all for?
Don’t get me wrong, I get a lot of satisfaction from my work, maybe because it’s not all superficial but can hopefully impact someone’s life for the better, it has meaning to it. But let’s be honest, we all have an ego that we serve. Ok maybe ego isn’t the word I’m looking for. I’ve never felt that I needed to have a thanks for what I’ve done, or a pat on the back or whatever, in fact, I always thought that if you needed the thanks then you weren’t doing the ‘thing’ (work/good deed/whatever it was that culminated in a thanks) because you wanted to, because you got satisfaction out of doing it. But, like I’ve said before, when you are constantly giving – mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, etc – you find that you are actually giving of your soul. And if you think of your soul as a cup, you can’t keep emptying the cup without refilling it.
But getting back to being special to someone, isn’t this ultimately how we want to feel? The only problem with this is that you then look for something outside of yourself. When you look for something outside of your self, you are pretty much setting yourself up for failure.
I’m by no means being cynical about this, I just think that we can not find true happiness until we find it within ourselves. I don’t buy into this whole ‘you complete me’ thing, like we are incomplete without someone else. Yet, I do kind of understand it. Something in you sometimes feels like you’re missing something, or someone, maybe. Is this a real feeling?
I have definitely felt it. I fight it because I can’t control it, and it can make you feel lonely, and who wants to be lonely?
So when you meet someone who has lived a good part of his life without you, how do you add something it to make you special in his life? Though I guess the same could be said in the reverse… Sometimes I forget there are two people in a relationship, and both of you have to work at keeping each other happy, keep each other feeling special.
Well, developing this new area of my life, the area of attempting to be special in someone’s life, might be part of my quest to find my personal legend. We shall see – I’m being optimistic here!
(and the vulnerability of tiredness means your guard is lowered and you think about these things in more detail – setting yourself up to hurt and be sensitive!)
The thing about relationships is that we carry baggage. We can’t help it, when you’ve had a series of bad relationships or when you’ve been hurt so much that the thought of opening yourself up again doesn’t seem like a good option.
And when you reach a certain age, all you think about is the impact of decisions on your future. When I met Mr Mature a few months ago I didn’t know what to do about him. I liked the attention but I worried about the baggage he came with – being so much older than me – but two months later, I feel very comfortable with him.
I had the usual, ‘oh he’s just using you’ comments and loads of ‘be careful with him’ – though no one wants to tell me why. In the end I got so frustrated by all of the chatter, that I decided just to not address the issue. When I say not address the issue, I simply mean we choose to stay in than go out a lot. And it’s nice. He makes me feel good. What can be more important than that?
It’s been awhile that I’ve felt I could trust someone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to completely open up to him, but he doesn’t make me feel insecure. I don’t go into a panic or get all anxious if he doesn’t call me. It’s just easy and fun.
At first I was worrying about how we’d handle the age difference – he is 15 years older than me – as he’d obviously had so many more experiences than I had. But after awhile I realised there was no point thinking about it, because, I also have to be honest with myself, I still don’t know what I want in my life. I’m pretty sure I want to get married – though that’s more because I really want to wear a bridal gown… But other than that? I don’t know, my career is really my priority.
But rather than thinking about all these, and agonising over the unknown, I’m just going to enjoy the moment – who knows, he might even break my 6 months dating record! Ok i’m getting ahead of myself.
The age difference also works for us I think. I love hearing about his experiences, especially the career he has successfully built for himself – by the way, there is nothing better than both of you owning your own businesses, means some mornings we choose to lie in than rush for work! And I guess I’m also teaching him new things – don’t forget they weren’t texting when he was first dating! lol (he’s really good with texting too, must be because of his kids!). And maybe it’s his maturity as well. We’re able to have host conversations and be upfront – it’s refreshing. Neither of us are taking it our relationship too seriously, but we’re not treating it lightly and this works for me. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re being taken for granted or for a ride. I’m thankful he doesn’t make me feel this way.
I learnt a long time ago that nothing is promised so we need to live each day like it’s our last, and not worry about what tomorrow might bring and this is what I’m doing with Mr Mature. Taking each day as it comes is something new for me, I like to control everything, but to let go like this and see what happens, is actually way more relaxing!
I also don’t think everything lasts forever, so while I’m enjoying the moment, I’m also very aware that it could all end tomorrow. But at least I’d have no regrets.
It’s funny how when situations change, your feelings about stuff can change too. The last year I have felt that I wanted to be in a relationship, but never quite got into one. I lamented this situation for ages, wondering when it would happen, but also believing that God would bring someone into my life when the time was ready.
One of my closest friends insisted that the only reason I felt I wanted to be in a relationship was because I was lonely.
There could be something to be said about that, because since I’ve been back in Zambia around my family, I’ve never felt so happy. And so not in need of being one half of a relationship.
It could also be that my priorities have changed. As I see all the opportunities here in Lusaka, I’m thinking of my future, 5 – 10 years from now, and all that I can achieve if I focus on that. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll have time to focus on a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, if it happens, it happens, but I’m not looking for it.
Right now, I’m having fun, remembering the good times with dating and flirting, but not taking anything too seriously. Though, I have met an adonis, but good looking men do bring more trouble than their worth, so I’m definitely not taking this too much to heart. Eye candy is always a good thing, so for now, it’s all good.
Maybe when I get to where I want to be with my career goals, or get frustrated with my family , I might then go back to wanting to be in a relationship… Until then, bring on the adonis.