Jess' comment on my last post really got me thinking, and I wanted to write a longer response, not just to her, but in general. I found the novel Olive Kitteridge very relatable because it opens when Olive is in her mid-forties, long married to Henry, with a teen aged son, Christopher. This setup is not too far from where I hope to be in about 10 years or so. Olive is more volatile, more demanding, moodier, and more bitchy overall than I am (in fact, in the first few stories, I related more to her husband, Henry, than I did to her). However, one of the lessons that Olive needs to learn is how she takes people for granted, how she demands that people obey her whims, how she bosses people around based on her moods. And one of the lessons that I am struggling with is how I am unintentionally thoughtless. How my poor planning or lack of planning leaves other people without choices. This is not intentional behavior, but the results are the same. And so, seeing how Olive reaches old age with her relationships destroyed because of illness and her own stubbornness, really affected me. I do not want to end up where she ended up. And so change should start now. I realized last year that taking people for granted and assuming that they would always be in my life was a bad habit, and I worked to break it in regard to my friends. I strengthened the friendships I had, and renewed some old friendships. Last year, my resolution was to be a better friend, and I accomplished that. I have several close friends now, whereas last year at this time, I felt like I really didn't have any. I want to continue that, because I know how important that is. But now, it's time to realize that I have to do the same with my family.
And I said this in my comment, but I really think that if I had read this book 8 years ago, when Rock and I had been together for 2 years or so, that I would have just shrugged, thought it was a good book, very well written, but nothing more. Because I wasn't working on personal development, because my husband and I weren't quarrelling over the fact that I'm inconsiderate, because we hadn't been together for ten years and worn the rough edges off our marriage and were down to working on the fine points. (And please don't take that as a dig, anyone who hasn't been married very long. I just remember that in the beginning, there were The Big Issues, which were external to the two of us. And now, there are the Fine Points, which are just as big, but they are internal. But we still work together to solve them.)