Thursday, February 11, 2010

Layers of Complexity

As I begin to close in on turning 30, I look back and wonder how I could have ever possibly thought I would have met a proverbial "the one" by now. I clearly recall believing any other outcome was impossible. 25 at the latest, I assumed. But at 20, turning 30 seemed decades away.
I would see TV shows where the characters were around 30 and they were struggling to meet their significant other and I thought to myself, "how sad that must be, I'm glad that will never happen to me" which goes to show you that my goal of "become a psychic by 30" didn't exactly pan out either. Of course it may even be that I did meet this person, but didn't know enough at the time to handle it the way it should have been handled.

I am just now getting to a point where I feel like I might be ready to meet said individual, despite all the past years where I was impatient for it. There's so much to right about yourself first, how is anyone ever ready at a young age? I won't be bold enough to claim they aren't but I can say I certainly wasn't ready and I have been witness to many friends who haven't been ready. Some realized it then, some are realizing it only just now. I feel everyone should be given a do-over for the last decade when you hit 30. It only seems fair.

It's taken a lot of effort to get where I am today, and I see so many improvements yet to make that is can be overwhelming. I've had to take so much time to learn who I am. A continually evolving process, often painful when you discover things about yourself that you don't like. A lot of the time I still wonder about me.

I've had to learn how to let go of a few people from the past. I managed that only very recently after I finally understood how damaging it was to me and the vast array of other problems it was causing. How I missed it all this time is a mystery because when the revelation came, it was an iron-fisted backhand to the face. Not to mention everyone else noticed. But really, who takes advice?

Then there was a long stretch of time - partly due to the previous issue - where I was completely unable to feel any excitement for another person that you need to feel to be anything more than friends. I had forgotten what it was like to feel that tug deep inside about someone that kept you up at night wondering just how you could be part of this person's life? How do I become important to such an amazing individual? Making that happen of course is a whole different set of complications. I'm still working on that one.

After resolving a few personal issues, I was forced to examine the growing level of complexity that is involved in meeting people. There's a lot more to it than simply introducing yourself to someone new, no matter what people claim.
As a younger guy, there wasn't really much I had to concern myself with; did the girl like me and was she dating anyone? Oh, if only it was so simple now.
As I grew a little older I had to start worrying if they were married. I recall the very second this happened. Walking down the boring, white hall of the community college, 3 feet behind a girl, trying to work up the nerve to speak with her. She was short, with curly shoulder length hair that often fell in her face. She walked too fast. As I opened my mouth to awkwardly say hello, she brushed her hair back behind her ears with her left hand. She had an engagement ring on. Suddenly my view of meeting women went from a simple two part problem ("yes I like you", "no I don't") to a complex, rubik's cube puzzle that would punch you right in the soul every time you turned a layer the wrong way. Something inside me died that day.
As I grew older still, I had to consider that they might have kids. And, yes, I realize that this and the previous complication could easily be in an alternate order. Finally, the last few years I'm noticing that a lot of people my age are realizing they made a mistake early on and are getting divorced by the boat-load. And I tell you that dating someone who has been divorced (in my experience) is a different animal.

There's so many things to balance. So many things to get right. How can anyone expect anyone else to get everything right? But requirements get more and more strict. I know mine do.
Even when I think I'm on top of things, I often miss something minor yet vital. I can be oblivious when I've fooled myself into thinking I was being perceptive. But I've been trying to think of it as a chance to improve rather than as a weight stacking against my odds.

It's a lot to juggle but I'm sure the right person is worth it. I am waiting to find out.


april said...

Around this time last year, I was dating with a frenzy. It's actually rather easy to just ask people if they're available or interested. With practice. And if you're only curious about them, or at least not attached to some outcome. But! You have to almost be looking at everyone as a possible romantic interest, and that's surprisingly draining.

I suspect to some degree relationships themselves are training and readiness preparation. I mean, you're never perfectly ready for the person you've waited for. But yes, you can be perfectly unready. I suspect I was that in my 20s. I hope I'm a greater degree of ready now.

Dach said...

It is quite exhausting. I've found myself many times having to take an extended break from even thinking about dating anyone. Partly from simply being tired, partly trying to trick fate so that the whole "if you're not looking, you'll find the right person" bit will happen, but of course since I'm doing that, it means I'm still looking, even if I say I'm not. Can't trick fate!

april said...

Tricking fate, huh? You'll have to tell me how that works out for you.

Not that I entirely believe in fate. I believe dating is exhausting, though!

Dach said...

It's not worked so far, but never let it be said that I am not persistent.