One of the things I love most about Ed is that he cares and likes to make things special. He isn’t afraid to be spontaneous, but he likes to put some time and effort into researching things a little so we don’t, say, drive around a strange town aimlessly and have to eat at a Chili’s on Valentine’s Day and risk explosive diarrhea from the questionable nachos because someone is just too fucking cool to look into places or HEAVEN FORBID make a reservation like some square because you fancy yourself an artist who likes to layer irony over every interpersonal interaction or some shit. Not that that’s ever happened to me with a previous boyfriend. (It totally happened with a previous boyfriend.)
Anyway. Ed: he cares. I care! It works well, actually. Except when it means we are paralyzed with some idea of perfection that keeps us from actually doing things.
We’ve been in our new place for almost six months and have been purging and rearranging and organizing and decorating and generally trying to make it a comfortable home that we can open up to friends. We have a good social circle here, and have continued to make new friends, too. I mentioned something to Ed about wanting to have a few people over for dinner soon.
“But we don’t have any artwork for over the couch.”
“So? Is that necessary for dinner or drinks?”
“No, but I just want everything to look nice. And be perfect.”
And here’s the problem: we do this a lot. While it may seem like I’m calling Ed out, I fully acknowledge that I’m guilty of this. Waiting until everything is perfect before doing something is innocuous enough – we’re talking about a dinner party here – but when I look around me I’ve been seeing the result of that thinking, that lifestyle, and it scares me. We currently have three out of our six parents dealing with health issues, all to varying degrees of severity, but all serious enough that day-to-day quality of life is compromised. And out of that three, two have operated from a “someday, at some point, after I accomplish XYZ” mentality and someday is here and now they can’t travel, garden, swim in the pool. So why in the hell are we putting off a damn dinner party until we have artwork on the wall?
My dad is among the three who isn’t doing so hot right now; he’s at home and healing slowly. He is on bed rest primarily, which is maddening and frustrating and scary at times but we’re staying positive. Obviously, he isn’t able to participate in much, and while he’s hardly ready to tag out I see that he doesn’t seem to have many regrets. After his accident, he continued to ski, learned about sailing, and started SCUBA diving. Not to mention that whole had another kid thing. He hasn’t let age and circumstance stop him from doing what he enjoys and living life. We don’t always agree and our relationship can be complicated (isn’t that always the way with two stubborn people?) but damn it if I don’t admire that about him.
It’s quite a leap here, I know that. Not to mention weirdly morbid to tell your spouse, “We should have people over because one day we’re gonna be old and our friends will be dead and we’ll regret the cookouts we DIDN’T have!” but seriously: life is short, we don’t tend to get healthier and more energetic with age generally, and there’s always going to be something that would make everything perfect, if not just a little bit better.
So who wants to come over for dinner?