Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Love-Hate Relationship

I don’t really like you very much.  You usually intimidate me, but then after just a few minutes together, I realize you are quite boring.  And yet here I am, spending time with you again today.  Seems I’ve been spending time with you almost every day of late.  But after an hour together, I’m always ready to leave.
My close friends are busy most days, and I can’t just sit at home.  It is too hot to go pursue my birding and hiking passions.  So I drive over to see you.  You are always there for me. Well, almost always.  You don’t make me feel good about myself when we are together, but I always feel better about myself after I leave you.  It always feels good walking away from you.  Well, almost always; sometimes you hurt me a bit.
I don’t exactly keep our relationship a secret; I just don’t tell people about your being a part of my life.  You know how people are—if they know about us they’ll start asking me about our relationship. They’ll start having expectations; then I’ll probably distance from you and that will do me no good.
It seems that we are never alone together.  Sometimes it would be nice to just have you all to myself.  But there are almost always other people around you.  You seem to surround yourself with beautiful people, often young and beautiful twenty-somethings.  They also intimidate me and usually make me feel old and worn.  I keep hearing Paul Simon’s lyrics in my head when we are together:  “Why am I so soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard.”  But then I stop and think about the fact that those young and beautiful people regularly seek time with you. So in a way, it makes me feel good that you seem to be just as happy with me as with them.
I’ll probably ignore you this fall, when I can go and do the things you can’t do with me:  long walks and bike rides; hikes in state parks; birding my favored locales and faraway haunts.  I’m starved for outdoor time.  But it is too hot this August.  And so I go spend time with you.  And you always welcome me back, even after I’ve ignored our relationship for awhile.  Although, I think you would have to admit, you are especially hard on me when I first come back to you.
Maybe I don’t appreciate you enough.  I do feel better about myself after we’ve been together.  Maybe I even stand a little taller.  Maybe you encourage me to take a little better care of myself—skipping the cookies and grabbing the fruits and vegetables.  I’m never hungry after an hour with you.  You leave me relaxed and de-stressed and give me a “good tired” that helps me sleep at night.  And so maybe I don’t tell you enough, but I am thankful for you.  I hope to always come back to you, even when I’ve ignored you for awhile.  Thank you for being a part of my life.
It is time for me to stop writing and get in the car and drive over to see you.  Because if I don’t, I’ll start heading down that slippery slope of opening the fridge and trying to find some comforting snack foods.  Some people call you the gym; others call you the weight room.  But I think of you as the elliptical machine, the rowing machine and the treadmill, and I hope I’ll always have my love-hate relationship with you.  But really, an hour of you is about all I can stand.

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