Believe in Growth, All Day, Every Day

You always hear people say that you grow closer to your partner when you have children, or when you get married, or go through a life crisis. For my money, over the course of this year, I’ve learned that you grow closer to your partner when you travel. Well, you either grow closer or you end up hating them, it’s really a crap shoot.

My life hostage and I have traveled a bit this year – whether it’s flying, half country road trips, or even just short day travels – we’ve been cooped up in a small space together for extended time frames. And, shockingly of all, we’re willing to do it again and again.

In the almost two years we’ve been together, the biggest downfall we’ve come upon in our relationship is that my life hostage tends to not communicate enough. I, on the other hand, communicate for a living, so I tend to over communicate. You would think this makes us the perfect travel companions, but instead we encounter a lot of, “What you do want to talk about?” “I don’t know, what you do want to talk about?” “I asked you first.” “I’m driving.” Big sigh. Apparently travel brings out our inner children.

On a spontaneous day trip, after our inner five year olds came out and they went a few rounds, I brought up some reality TV couples that had recently been in the gossip rags. (Reality TV is my guilty pleasure and I am 100% judgey while watching because, what’s the point if you’re not?) In my mind, I was thinking it would get under my life hostage’s skin and he would come up with another topic, hopefully one with more depth. That plan backfired on me, in the best possible way.

As I was droning on and on about how these couples fight all the time, some seem to be putting on facades, others are just miserable and clearly don’t connect; I noticed my life hostage actually listening intently. I finished my rant with the comment, “We are exceptionally normal next to them.” For a minute, there was silence, and then he looked at me and said, “Not everyone finds their soulmate Rach, some people just co-exist and they’re happy to do that, others co-exist and they don’t know any better or know how to get out.”

I live with Yoda.

This wasn’t the first time my life hostage has hit me with little pearls of wisdom, but for some reason, this was the time I paid attention to the most and his cute sentiment spurred a wonderful conversation for the rest of the car ride. And it made me realize, some of the best conversations I have at any given time with him, with my friends, my family – they’re random and often produce the most thought provoking results.

Before she became Elsa, with her Frozen ice castle and long blonde braid, Idina Menzel sang in this little musical called Wicked. Maybe you’ve heard of it. I had the pleasure of seeing it a handful of years back – I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats (RHONY reference for all you Bravo fans out there).

In Wicked, there is a song titled, For Good. In it, Glinda (the good witch) and Elphaba (the wicked witch) sing about their friendship: I’ve heard it said, that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn, and we are led to those who help us most to grow, if we let them, and we help them in return.

I’m a big believer in growth, all day every day, and I’ve often been known to seek it out. Who knew it was always right there in front of me? Don’t count those random, spur of the moment conversations out. You may not think much of them at the time, but I’ve become convinced that’s when the best memories are made and when growth truly happens. People do come into our lives for a reason – significant others, friends, co-workers, even the families we’re born into.

My Yoda and I? He truly is one of my greatest teachers, helping me grow every day, even when he doesn’t intentionally mean to. And me? I’m just happy he’s not green, that would be awkward to explain to TSA.

Rachel Olszewski

A hot mess held together on a daily basis by dry shampoo and probiotics, Rachel is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up but for now is a communications professional by trade. A true Chicagoan through and through, she is an East Coast transplant trying to set down roots. Although the height of her high heels may be getting shorter, Rachel’s expectations are not getting lower and she is on a mission to change the world one person at a time.

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