Monday, July 28, 2014

What Do I Want?

Now that I have established a “type” I am learning more and more about what I want (and don’t). We learn this at different stages in our lives and I think I’ve always felt that you really need only examine yourself once. As any divorcee knows, this is not the truth and yet I am still going on the reflections I had as a 20-something. I am now officially 40 and since then have been through a lot of breakups, a lot of moves, a lot of maturing in both my career and my personal life, forgiveness and letting go, and the life-altering depth of growth one experiences when losing their beloved mother too early in life. 

All of these changes (and more) have occurred since I really took a hard look at what I want in life romantically, and yet I have constantly re-evaluated where I want to call home or what role my career plays in my life. Although I know that there will be changes in my outlook as long as I continue to breathe, I think the stage I’m currently in is maybe the most important and defining stage to set the rest of my life by. 

What I want in my home is to have a safe and peaceful environment, one where my dog has room to run and meet other friendly dogs, a reasonable commute, character and charm, and a community of friendly neighbors. Tall order, huh? And yet that is exactly what I have and more. What I want in my career is a place where I am respected, have a chance to build my skills in varying areas, earn a comfortable living, have room for advancement, have some level of autonomy, not have to take my work home with me, and have a chance to be creative. Another tall order? Yet I have all of this and more. 

So what do I want in my personal life? I am a person who would rather have a small set of fantastic friends rather than a mass entourage of superficial ones. The ego of having x amount of facebook friends holds no weight with me and I limit my time on social media to intermittent at best. I have also learned the quiet from not having someone to relay EVERY event of my life with someone. My sister may disagree seeing our daily talks as evidence to the contrary but only my mom and I know this to be very true, as she VERY patiently listened to every detail of my life set out before her. Hindsight is 20/20 and I only wish that I would have spent a lifetime listening more and talking less. So although I don’t want a Samuel Pepys account of my life, it would be nice to have a small group of people to share that life with; to balance somewhere between motoring through life together and brinking on over-analysis. I want neither of those extremes but rather a healthy sharing of our lives. I want this healthy balance with my family, friends, and a partner. 

With my family I have weaned from some of the more co-dependent relationships that run so common in my relatives, despite their attempts to hold fast. My relationships with some of the historically (shall we say strained?) relationship have improved simply by letting go and working on forgiveness. And my sister, whom I’m closest to, has been a daily commitment at building our relationship. We both work at it. I used to have a huge entourage of friends of varying degrees in closeness. Instead of lumping them all into an ego-mass of facebook likes, I distinguish and embrace them for what we are to each other. I have close friends who are like family to me, though they are few. I have friends who are more likely to be there just to meet up for a drink and watch a game. I have other friends who share one aspect in commonality and we will build our strength and knowledge in that area by a sharing of ideas. All of these friends have great value, but I no longer hold each to be the end-all in every aspect of a friend. For instance, someone I meet up with to just watch soccer matches I’m not going to necessarily be able to relay the pain of loss or wanting to understand a deeper level of hesychasm. We may relay on those levels or we may not, but our lack of delving past a somewhat superficial connection is fine as it is and accepted as such. 

From a romantic partner it gets a bit more complicated. I’ve dated to date and am really past that. I don’t need to try out different types of men just for the sake of knowing myself. Been there too. No I’m at a point where I would like a partner in life and perfectly happy to remain single rather than marry the wrong person. This reflection came about from a series of little things that just kept niggling at me. One friend saw the blog post and asked me have I ever dated my type. No, I hadn’t. I have dated many men –successful, interesting, educated, attractive- but none that really reflected my type. Mmphm. Also the awareness of how little I could commit to my various duty locations with my job. This constant sense of always being ready for the next move created an environment where I never would allow myself to see the men in my life as anything more than temporary. That has changed with my home purchase. Mmphm. Finally, a line from a tv show that has become my mantra outlines my desire exactly: I am looking for the perfect connection with an imperfect man. Anyone that has this knows what I mean and it’s not looking for Mr. Perfect but rather that connection that makes both your imperfections and his a part of a strong relationship. 

So after some reflection I’ve decided that these are the qualities best for me: someone who likes to learn and open for a bit of adventure. Someone who challenges me to grow as a person; I’m not saying challenge for the sake of challenge or someone who wants to change me or nitpick, but I also don’t want someone who allows my occasional bad behavior and responds only by “yes dear.” I would like someone masculine and sure in himself. This is not the same as an egotistical guy whose statements and actions are based in insecurity but rather someone who is comfortable in his own skin. I want someone who believes in God. How wonderful it would be to find someone in my own faith, but yet I see more the pursuit of a relationship with God and an understanding of that importance in my life (without trying to convert me to Protestantism) far outweigh the actual dogmatic differences. However believing that the bar on Sunday is your church and a sport your religion will not suffice for me. And finally, someone who is committed to working at the relationship. Relationships are work, even under the best of connections and it only works if you’re both committed to making it work. 

So I guess I’m stating the ruminations in my mind mostly to get them out there but also to see how right they feel. What I find odd is that I haven’t done this in 10-15 years. I guess that must show how it wasn’t really a priority in my life until now. But I’m happy to say that just writing this takes off any perceived pressure (mostly self-induced) and actually makes me happy in the place I am now and happy for whatever the future may bring.

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