I think of myself as the queen of our home. Hestia, goddess of the hearth. I can handle messes and dishes and laundry with my eyes closed. And I work full time. I’ve pretty much convinced myself that I am a buttkicking winner at home life and at public life. Sometimes, I’ve convinced myself that I am buttkicking life all on my own.
Until my partner goes out of town. Duh duh duhhhh….
The dog is barely fed and he’s off his bathroom schedule. Couldn’t sleep right because the bed felt like a foreign country. There aren’t any more bananas or milk, the barrel is overflowing in the kitchen, and the lock on the door isn’t really working right. Oh, and the dry cleaning hasn’t been picked up and the car has no gas in it. It is even difficult getting to work on time because no one made the coffee and the dog needs a walk.
Because when you’re busy kicking butt at life, a partner is in the background silently keeping you upright. Cheering and supporting and helping. So that you can develop your identity as Hestia, goddess of the hearth who is simultaneously a lawyer ninja. When I put this in words, I realize how ridiculous it is.
Not only ridiculous, but also ridiculously common. Taking someone for granted. So many spouses who feel “unappreciated.” How do you fight that from seeping slowly into the grout of your relationship?
Business travel. That is the answer. Within 24 hours of my partner boarding a plane, not only do I miss him, but I am also startlingly reminded that I have come to need him. And that not only does he tell me with words that he loves me, but he tells me with all the little things he does every day for which I don’t always remember to thank him. When he’s gone, and our routine goes to pieces, I realize that he’s saying he loves me all day long with every action he takes.
What could make a person happier than that? And, I would suggest, if you don’t feel this way about your partner, then they are no partner at all. Business travel, as it turns out, makes me more appreciative and more vocal with my appreciation. And it’s humbling. No one achieves much in this world without the help of other people, most frequently the help of our loved ones. So if there’s any unappreciation slithering into your life, towards any of your many partners (mentors, friends, spouses, invisible companions), just send them on a trip and try to keep an even keel. There is nothing like business travel to right the ship.