I got a card in the mail today. It’s the one year anniversary of my new relationship with my dry cleaner, the one by my newish home I moved to around the same time we met.

You might not think this is significant, but for me, all relationships are significant.

In my married years, I’d never known about dry cleaning. I put my clothes in a basket, they came back and were in my closet. This wasn’t unfair; I took care of other things in exchange.

Building new relationships like this one took some effort.

I tried a few places at first.
I was scared to walk in.
I watched how other people managed, where they stood, how they separated their things. Some had fancy drawstring bags. I was so embarrassed by my overflowing broken down basket that represented all that seemed so broken.

I stayed with my first dry cleaner for three years or more.
When I moved, it was hard to break up with her because her husband sang Opera to himself in the back while he worked and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Creating the next relationship was easier.

I didn’t wait out front and learn the ropes this time, by then I’d done so many new things like learning to cook ( just enough to survive, literally ), and that the grocery store is best navigated late at night, and that plans on a Friday night are essential to avoid a haunting loneliness that rattles bones.

I have 34 shirts to pick up today.
That’s because I don’t go often and when I do, it’s likely I arrived to work in a sweatshirt from my morning workout and could smell myself, creating an urgency that’s unlike most others.

The new place only takes debit cards, and I only use cash.
We had to work that out early in, me negotiating an exception they created for me and me only. Or so they say.

I feel proud of it regardless.

I feel proud of other things too, like learning how to wrap Christmas presents and how not to be blinded by everyone’s wedding rings every time I enter a social function alone. That one took some time.

I sometimes wonder if my new relationships know how much they are supporting me. The dry cleaner seems to understand, she asks me why she hasn’t seen me in so long, and it’s obvious to both of us that I am negligent in basic household fundamentals, but she doesn’t shame me for it. She encourages me to create a new system, and although I haven’t, I really appreciate the advise because I’ve had a thousand things I had to learn and sometimes the simplest advise and help is the most beneficial.

That’s true in all things.

I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. ~Brene Brown

Hey, let’s stay in relationship, shall we?  Check out my new website to see what I’m working on and up to next.  www.tylerlewke.com

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