Thursday, January 6, 2011


One of the interesting things about starting over is that you have the opportunity to use a lot of verbs in your internal monologue (or your blog) that start with "re".  Reimagine, redefine, reassert, rediscover -- things like that.  All good words, but the truth is that you can't wipe your personality or base of experiences clean and start over for real -- all of those "re" words happen in the context of you as a formed person.  A person possibly willing to grow and live beyond old boundaries, sure -- but not someone truly new.  I've said this before, but I like reminding myself of the obvious.

Anyway, so as I think about the kind of social life I want to build for myself as I "start over", I can't help but reflect on the lessons of my adult life -- to consider what's worked for me in the past, and what hasn't.  I wrote about cooking as a vehicle for creating social engagement a couple of posts back, for example, and of a desire/intent to use it again that way.  And though I've used cycling as an escape of sorts in the past, it's important enough to me not to stop, just because of that particular misuse -- I do need to remember to live around my hobbies, though, rather than escape into them.

But the most important lesson of my adult life relates to the experience of partnership.  That's a word my sister finds too businesslike, and I understand why, but for me, it fits.  I've had relationships where I've felt like a parent, times where I felt like prey, and still others like a punching bag.  But I've also had relationships where I've relished each engagement -- where each exchange gave me the opportunity to truly give and truly receive.  One, in particular, fundamentally reset my aspirations for relationships.  In that relationship, the collaboration -- the ability to share and challenge -- extended pretty much across the full spectrum of who I am as a person, and though I can't speak for her, I hope she'd say the same.  Whether talking professionally, cooking together, reading shared books or listening to shared music, exploring places together, cycling together, or sharing my most private thoughts or physical being, I got as much as I gave, was pulled as much as I pushed, and learned as much as I taught.  As an experience, it was nothing less than breathtaking.  Life-changing.

Things are different, there, now.  But that kind of connection is like a drug, and it's something I hope I'll recapture (another "re" verb, there) or recreate someday.  It can't be forced -- I think it can only come from the chemistry that exists between two people who happen upon one anothers' paths at the right place and the right time.  So as I venture out into the world as a single guy, again, it's not something I'm necessarily expecting to find, or even seeking out.  Really, I'm more interested in exploring and experiencing right now.  But I'd be open to finding it, or recreating it.

I don't know how many times in one's life that kind of lightning can strike.  But even if it doesn't come again, the experience has changed my understanding of how things can be, and I'm forever grateful for that.

All for now,


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