Friday, May 12, 2017

Changes

Since I started dating Mark Johnson I have embraced a different approach to solving problems. I used to tackle every problem head on, acting swiftly and decisively. As a co-dependent person, this often included problems that were not mine to solve. As a result, I lived in a constant state of action and attention. It was exhausting.

These days, we like to take more of a "wait and see" approach to life. I think this transformation began in me before I ever met Mark Johnson. And being with him has just brought it more into focus. I decided a few years ago that I wanted to live my life at a slower pace. Stepping back from my corporate life and becoming a yoga teacher were two major steps in that direction.

When I met Mark Johnson, we decided to take a very slow and deliberate approach to our relationship. Living in two different states definitely contributed to that. We both really liked each other, but I had a major fear of commitment and I didn't want to get scared and run away from something that I knew I really wanted. So we took our time and built our relationship on a strong foundation.

I never considered myself to be a patient person, but over the last few years it is a trait that I have really nurtured in myself. It is also one of the qualities I most admire about Mark Johnson. He is both patient and persistent. I love watching him navigate through situations until he finds the right answer.

This week we are getting cable TV in the apartment. It seems like a simple thing, but it is a big deal to us. We made this decision after going through many iterations. We started with internet only and used Netflix as our source of TV and movies. But we love our HGTV and Food Network shows, so we quickly burned through the small selection available on Netflix. Then we tried using something called Sling TV which allowed us to access recent episodes and watch live TV as well. It expanded our selection of channels, but the internet connection caused it to freeze up too often.

We also tried downloading the HGTV and Food Network apps, but they also seem to have a limited supply of the shows we watch. Then we discovered that my cable package from Michigan could be accessible from anywhere. So we started logging into my Michigan account through Mark Johnson's computer to watch shows from my DVR and On Demand service on our TV at the apartment. But we had the same issues. Variations in the internet would cause the shows to freeze up.

When his internet provider raised the price on our service, Mark Johnson made his move. He called them up and got a new package that includes cable TV plus faster internet for only a small amount more each month. When he texted me today that the cable company is coming this weekend to install it, I just smiled. Finally, his patience and persistence paid off and we found a solution that we are both comfortable with.

It seems that we go through long phases of stability or inaction, followed by a burst of change. Then we return to a period of stability. I am not sure if this is true for most people, but it is definitely true for us. Spring seems to be our most energetic time for making changes. This time last year, we were buying furniture at IKEA and moving me into the apartment. This year, I have been making a bunch of changes at my Michigan house. And I switched banks and insurance companies to get better rates. And my car needed tires and brakes, which was an expensive but necessary change.

As we settle in for the summer, I am hoping for another long period of stability. We do have one more big change on the horizon, and that will be getting a house together. We are using the same slow and deliberate decision making process for our house search.

When I moved into the apartment last spring, we thought we would stay here for one more year, but we just signed another lease that will take us through May 2018. Now we are starting to browse around the house market. I used to look once every few months, but this time we actually have set up alerts that will email us when new houses come on the market.

Jumping into this fast paced environment is definitely outside of our comfort zone. Houses come up on the market and within a few days the good ones are already under contract. I remember going through this process with two of my ex-boyfriends and it was absolutely miserable. Especially with the Boy. He was so cheap that he would make these low ball offers on houses and then he was always upset when he lost the house. I cannot even count the number of houses I got attached to during that process, and I wasn't even moving in with him.

With Mark Johnson, things are different. We are peaceful and relaxed about the process. We both know that renting or buying a house is something that we don't want to rush into, so we are not going to be pressured into making a rush decision. We watch House Hunters every night on HGTV and see how the couples fight with each other. We are just the opposite. Mark Johnson calls us House Gatherers. Maybe we could have our own show about people who are polite to each other and take their time in finding a house.

There are probably a lot of people out there who will read this and think we are naive. They will tell us that if we want to find the perfect house, we are going to have to get pre-approved for our Rocket Mortgage, sign up with an agent and start battling it out with everyone else. But Mark Johnson and I have our own way of handling it. We are just going to wait for all of those crazy, competitive people to jump on the first house that comes along. And when they are all done and the dust settles, there will be a cute little house that is just right for us.

Change is a natural part of life. But rushing through and making changes before you are ready can place a lot of pressure on people and relationships. I am so lucky and grateful that I found a wonderful partner who wants to take things slow with me. Every time we do make a change in our life, we always feel prepared and confident that we are doing the right thing. And that feeling brings us even closer together.

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