The first virtue in a soldier is endurance of fatigue.
Courage is only the second virtue.
And that my friends is exactly what I think love is all about, endurance. It’s not a fantasy or a feeling, it a marathon and I’m sure anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship will tell you the same thing. There is no grand sweeping once and for all gesture that leads to happily ever after. It’s a series of small things that you do even when you’re tired or hungover or sick.
It’s easy to love someone when there isn’t a dog to walk or a kid to chase after or dishes to wash or a job you need to wake up early and sit in traffic for. It’s easy to forgive your significant other when there aren’t bills to pay or errands to run. It’s easy to be patient and kind when you’re not exhausted and starving. But we can’t always have it that easy can we?
This weekend my boyfriend and I went to Palm Springs to celebrate our 6 year anniversary and I got to remember why I love him so much. It was like the vacation montage in This is 40 without the getting high part. Without everyday life getting in the way, he was as charming and easy-going as he was when I met him. I’m sure I was too, because the whole time we were there, there were no eye rolls or sarcastic comments. If you’re in a relationship, you know what I’m talking about.
Lucky for me, I learned a long time ago that even if you’re with the one, which I’m sure I am, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows all the time. I feel comfortable admitting that sometimes he annoys the hell out of me. I even comfortable enough telling him that, and we have an understanding that it’s better to express yourself honestly (but respectfully) than to feel ashamed and keep these things a secret. (If you don’t have the same policy, I highly recommend it.)
Besides, I know I’m annoying too and I can be a nag. That’s something I’m coming to terms with and something I’ve started thinking more about since I saw Before Midnight a few weeks ago. (Go see it, it totally earned the 98% it got on Rotten Tomatoes). For me that movie really captured real love, messy and complicated, and in the process made me appreciate my relationship for what it is.
You know how sometimes you feel like you’re doing all the work in the relationship? Or like the whole situation is really unfair for you and you’re giving up way more than the other person? Before Midnight did a lot to help me adjust my expectations. And I don’t mean it brainwashed me into tolerating more bullshit from my partner. I mean it made me see how much bullshit I’ve dished out and how I take things out on my partner when I’m stressed or disappointed or bored. It also helped me forgive him for doing the same, because at the end of the day, we’re both just doing the best we can.
Anyway, now that the honesty part is out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff. If you’re ever in Palm Springs, you must take a ride on the Aerial Tramway. It transports you 2.5 miles from about 2,500 feet to over 8,000 feet in ten minutes to a Willy Wonka wonderland where the trees smell like butterscotch. I shit you not. We went up during the hottest part of the day because it was 35 degrees cooler than the 105 that we would have had to experience on the desert floor.
I wish we could have hiked up to Mt. San Jacinto, but it’s a 12 mile round trip and right now we’re only used to doing about 6 or 7 miles at a time and that’s a whole different kind of endurance. Maybe next time…