Dan and I are anchored in North Cove, off Thetis Island. We’re sharing a bottle of malbec and watching the clouds swirl scarlet and gold as the sun sets. We’ve been talking about next steps in Dan’s journey, and now he’s turning my questions back on me.
What’s next? It’s a question I’m feeling more ready to answer these days. I’ve spent the summer in a waiting period, letting go of my need to control the next stage of my life, and just enjoying the gifts of the moment. And in the process, I’ve started to find my way back to me. I’m beginning to recognize again what I value, and what I want and need in my life. And as I get more clear about my needs and values, I’m finding again a clear direction in my life.
One of the hard truths I’ve had to face up to since Griff and I broke up is how easily I lose myself in a relationship. I don’t do it purposefully, and I’m certainly not forced into it, but slowly I let go of what I want, and lose sight of what’s important to me.
It’s only when I’m single that I really stay focused on doing what’s most important for me. And so what’s next for me is to spend some time getting clear about my values, my goals and my dreams. I need a clear direction. And then I need to make a commitment to myself not to compromise that direction before I enter into another long-term relationship.
I’ve often marveled at the ways in which the Universe delivers. When I wrote my first ever online dating profile, I advertised for a man with “courage, brains and heart, someone with whom to take the first tentative steps on this new journey.” I got exactly what I asked for, a lovely, healing summer fling that restored my faith in men and my belief in myself.
Here’s the opening of my most recent profile, which I posted in May:
Easily Led Astray
“You know when you get to one of life’s intersections and you’re not quite sure where to head next? And you don’t have a GPS? And the last copy of “The Lonely Planet’s Guide to the Road Less Traveled” has been signed out at the library? I hate it when that happens. But here I am.”
I’m shocked as I read this at how lost I sound. I haven’t a clue what I want or need, and I haven’t any sense of direction in my life.
And it’s interesting that one of the things that he’s been teaching me when we head out on his sailboat is how to chart a course and then steer in the right direction.
It’s not easy, I’ve learned, to stay on course. There are winds and currents and all sorts of obstacles which pull a boat off course. In fact, I’ve become quite adept at steering the boat in perfect circles from time to time.
But what Dan has shown me is that I need to keep my eyes on a fixed mark somewhere in the distance, and to just keep making regular, small adjustments to ensure that I stay on course. And I’m getting better at it. Today I took the helm and kept us on course across a large, open channel. I didn’t steer in circles once!
And so what’s next for me? It’s time to chart my own course, work out exactly what direction I’m headed in life, and then find a fixed mark from which to navigate. Only once I’m clear about my own direction can I entertain the possibility of entering another long term relationship, and even then, I’ll need to stay focused on my own direction, making those small, regular adjustments to ensure that I stay on course.
It’s time for me to take responsibility for my own direction, to own my inner compass, and to let go, once and for all, the concept of easily led astray.