I think most successful relationships need to have what our therapist calls “the bank account” topped up frequently with actively thinking about elements of appreciation and respect for the other. None of us are perfect, and the more we know each other and the more entwined we become as friends or partners, the more likely we are to take people for granted. I’m writing this homage of Love and appreciation, between working on our new business and wedding planning. I hope it gives you pause to think about some of the people closest to you with fondness on this rather grey Monday. Maybe even give yourself a little homework and tap out a few words of appreciation for someone close to you today. Could be a family member, a dear friend, your partner or maybe even your pet. There’s a healing and uplifting quality to actively expressing and acknowledging gratitude.
So let me tell you about my aloof goof.
Damon is a creature of great depth and empathy. Also, incredibly cool, bordering on a bit of a snob concerning things like food, wine, coffee, and music. He knows how to manscape (he’s actually an incredibly beautiful human specimen), and he is brave – not afraid to speak up and be counted in professional and personal circles. He’s a good person to have in your corner if you find yourself in a pinch or needing a champion if you’ve fallen on hard times or feel put upon. He knows highs and lows in his own narrative, which makes him much more adept at feeling true empathy when others struggle. He’s actually also a great person to have around if you’re on a winning streak of any description. I’ve seen it time and again, he’s quite likely to kneel himself down to help lift someone up and ensure you get the shine they earned. It’s a pretty great and honest superpower to be as gracious and genuine when the people he admires and respects do well. It’s a Kiwi thing to be humble, something I’ve not really been able to embrace even after nearly three decades here. He’s 5th-7th generation New Zealand (Pakeha) and both sides of his family are fascinating and have had incredible influence on the cultural, economic, and general landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand. Not always in a good way. Some of them are very colourful characters indeed.
He’s also a glorious goof. He’s got the quintessential kiwi dry humour punctuated, almost embarrassingly often with puns and dad jokes. It’s the right brand for him, as he is often viewed as incredibly earnest and can make people mildly uncomfortable with his pensive and serious expression as he floats off into what his friends and colleagues call his “spaceship” where he ponders information deeply and thoroughly. It can be mildly intimidating to see him in this state, so the goofy side slices through that effectively.
So why all this gratitude on a seemingly unremarkable Monday? Well, he’s started writing again. We both have. We are born storytellers and wordsmiths, and I daydream of us growing old together as a much more vanilla version of a spectacularly creative couple of story tellers: Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen. They were the real deal and both the artist and muse to each other at various stages of their tumultuous union. Our union is not tumultuous. I have had enough tumult, I will take calm and communicative coupledom at this stage.
Leonard and Marianne spent a lot of time in the Greek isles, where Damon and I will one day settle in for an extended writers retreat and leave the world and technology behind for some matter of weeks. He already lived there for a few years, it is where he met his rather remarkable, intelligent, fierce and statuesquely beautiful first wife. She’s a thriving entrepreneur and impressive industry mogul in mindfulness and wellbeing now. They have a respect and ease in each other’s company that seems to be appreciated by their two now adult children.
Damon and I daydream and discuss often about returning to Greece, or somewhere equally packed with character and history, the way artists did in a bygone era. We’d live simply and offline in total anonymity. We’d recharge our souls and let our creative genius flow while we feast on Mediterranean oils and drink local wines. We will nap, snack, and walk, meditate, and be blissfully wrapped up in each other for as many weeks as we can manage before needing to return to our children and the farm we are nurturing together. It will be a beautiful thing to behold.
So writing. Writing has become a big part of our culture. He and I have, as in just about everything, a very different style when we write, as we do when we cook, he cleans (I do not consider myself a cleaner). With the writing, we both type 80+WPM and the tapping of the keyboards when we are on a roll creates a rhythmic hum in our space. He ponders, and pauses, considers and changes up his work as he goes. Words explode from me and land hodge-podge on the page and then I get him to help me clean it all up and give it some order. So far a system that seems, more or less to be working.
That’s probably enough words and gratitude for and about the aloof goof for one day.
Now I will hand this over to him to edit and post it before we both have phone calls with magnificent women we know and respect at 3pm… both named Megan. Funny little coincidence among countless coincidences that seem to pop up in our stories daily.
Have a great week, and get out there and be grateful for your own glorious goofs, whoever they are.