Having strength and independence can be a driving factor for success in life. Knowing what you want and how to get it, standing through the trials of life is not always easy; Having personal tools to get through the tough times is important. Despite being strong and independent having a partner not only helps on the journey but makes it so much more pleasant. Throughout life we have opportunities to work with others and partner in different areas of life, whether life (spouse, family, friends), work (partners, coworkers), sports (team mates, fellow participants) and a few more areas. Some people are there for the long haul, others in a moment. Going along together not only brings more joy but also connection which as humans we long for.
I am thankful for my husband. We work really well together. Not always…that would be weird. But as we have grown together so has our ability to work better together. There is a comfort in knowing one person will take care of something when it needs doing. There is a comfort knowing someone will do something for you when you are less knowledgeable or comfortable with the task. And there is an ease with which each person fulfills the duties needed to get to an endpoint.
I was thinking of this topic yesterday morning. One of the things I love about winter is Sunday puttering. Since we have both taken to reading our Sunday mornings start with coffee and reading whatever each of us is reading. When there is something interesting we take a moment and share and discuss a bit about it, then resume. Ideally we would read the same book and discuss as we go but we aren’t there yet, having our own book lists we are trying to get through. Once spring comes we will be pressed for things to get done as well as trying to get out on our bikes training for some longer distances.
One of the things about cycling long distance is the challenge of the journey. Most of the time it is an individual challenge. We each ride our own bike. We aren’t chatting along the way. Really we are moving along spending time in our own heads. That in itself can be a positive (or not) experience. Of course there is the odd comment about something we are riding past and we stop for breaks along the way. I need to stop more often as I am not as strong. I know my limits and make sure we stop when I need to even when he doesn’t need to. Although Lorne doesn’t often initiate the break, the breaks are helpful to his wellbeing as well. Breaks are necessary when you are going day after day unless of course you have trained for one of the long completion tours which we haven’t and we are not as young as those people either. So we take breaks, we check in on each other. I usually lead to set the pace but if there is a strong headwind he will go ahead and draft for me. We compromise…I will push harder than I might otherwise because I don’t want to slow him down and he will concede to end our journey at 100 km instead of the 120 he was wanting to reach, because I am thoroughly exhausted and don’t feel I can go any further. Cycling is just one snippet of our lives. We do so much more but it is the one thing we love together.
We also love to travel and have had the opportunities in the last 5-6 years to do a bit more traveling. We have traveled as a couple and we have traveled as a couple with other couples. Traveling with someone else changes the dynamics of the trip of course. Knowing yourselves and the other people is helpful in knowing where you might clash. We have been fortunate to travel with people who we mesh well enough with and whom we have created cherished memories through wonderful experiences.
Working well together and partnering with each other takes a lot of work and it isn’t always pretty. We are human and have our ‘things’. Willingness to do the work required to make it successful it probably the biggest contributor to partnering. My husband and I have that commitment and generally we are pretty nice people so that helps. It also helps when working with other people.
We had the opportunity to joint venture with partners last year on a project. The success of the joint venture partnership through trials faced can be attributed to each person’s willingness to work hard, to be strong but flexible, to work independently but together, to do what each is good at, to have the willingness to learn new skills to contribute to the project, to concede to someone’s vision and have them concede to yours, to negotiate, to forgive, to be forgiven, to sometimes feel inadequate and others to feel like you made the jackpot happen. There are so many growth opportunities in working and contributing together. Working with other also makes us better in working with each other.
Over the years we have grown. There is a comfort in knowing my husband and I are each taking care of the things we take care of. Not a comfort of complacency; that may happen if we weren’t challenging ourselves in so many other areas, but a a comfort in knowing while we challenge ourselves, the basics are cared for. Sure we could each go it alone, but as long as we don’t have to, we won’t. We are better together.