We were in the car on the way to the airport to drop Maggie off for a week-long work adventure in California with some of our favorite friends and clients. Just as we exited the freeway, Maggie asked me, “What’s working for you and what do you want more of?” This lovely question has been the cornerstone of our relationship since 3 months in. We ask this of each other at least monthly.
Together, we wanted to introduce a positive, life-giving and honest way of sharing and honoring what we love about our relationship and each other and what we want more of. Rather than saying, “I don’t like that we don’t work out enough.” We could say, “I would like to incorporate working out more — hiking, yoga, or gym at least 3 times per week.”
Instead of saying, “I don’t like that you interrupt me when I’m working. I need my work space and time.”
(we both work from home, so this is an important one)
We might say, “When I’m in the flow of my work or creativity, I’m going to put my toy dinosaur out and when he’s perched up on the shelf, please wait until I’m finished to talk so that I can finish what I’m working on and focus completely and presently on you.” (Yes, I have a plastic pet dinosaur named Littlefoot).
So during our airport car ride, when she asked, I said, “I would like to drink less so that I can feel more present with you in the evenings and truly enjoy learning more about and connecting with you. We spend or days supporting others, I’d like to connect with you as much as I can.“
In this monthly check in, we choose to affirm what works and focus on that, while also addressing what we would like more of positively and with a solution.
Maggie agreed, so we instilled an “Alcohol-free April” in our lives after I said, “I’ve had more to drink in the last year than I have in all of my life combined.” (I’m not a big drinker, so don’t worry, it’s not that scary and dramatic, but it was jarring enough for me). We started March 25th and haven’t had alcohol since that commitment.
I was curious to learn what would be different, what I would create, what I would learn that I hadn’t yet about Maggie, what ideas I may have, what I would do with that otherwise “lost” time, what a glass or two of wine was actually doing in the evenings, and how I would show up socially with friends. I’ve done an alcohol-free month before so I knew that the moment we said yes to it, we would be asked to every possible event involving alcohol.
I was right. And I’ve learned a lot.
I learned that when you don’t have an “I’ll be fine after I get a drink in me” to rely upon, you just better flippin’ show up and be you — and I learned that people still like Lacy, alcohol in hand or not.
I’ve learned that parties with large amounts of drunkenness aren’t fun. at. all. And I’ve already learned a lot about myself, too. I learned that it’s easy to get frustrated, feel unaccomplished, and “solve” it by having a glass of wine. It made me care a little less — but really? Did I really want to “care a little less” about my dreams, goals, and aspirations? So yes, I’ve probably been more upset so far this month. Working through and with and our actions, inactions, successes and failures is an emotional journey… and one very much worth taking.
I also learned that as a partner in life, I have a huge responsibility to positively impact Maggie. While I rarely, if ever, drank alone, I was all about having a glass of wine with her. While I’m great at getting up early on my own, sleeping in is more enticing with my love snuggling next to me. And for some reason we’re stellar at making excuses for not going to yoga, working out at the gym or going for a hike when we’re together. These three examples alone are a perfect reflection of just how much we are impacted by and rely on each other. I want to know that the impact I make on our relationship is positive, life-giving and overall good. Ya know?
As for alcohol-free April, I’ve learned that I’m good at feeling entitled to ANYTHING except alcohol… In the last week I’ve managed to consume more soda than ever, ate more candy, and thought I didn’t do it, wanted to get ice cream after dinner last night. I never want ice cream… except when I feel deprived of something else. So, now, as of today, I’m off soda, too… And I’m happy/not happy about it. I resent feeling like I can’t have things. It’s not that I want it, it’s that I don’t want to be told I can’t have it. Damn, humans are weird complex creatures, aren’t we?!
Take time to connect with your person and your people, ask important questions and be aware of your habits — it’s amazing how they effect everything you are and do.