In this season of social obligations, there is one event I look forward to with moderate enthusiasm — that one night when I meet three old friends from college.
Us four guys have had quite a run over the years. Our bonds were built back in simpler times, and hence getting together is a comforting reminder that some things do stay simple. We do nothing else but talk — the alcohol drastically decreases every year — and often it follows a familiar pattern of starting with what’s latest with each of us, segueing into how it really hasn’t changed since last time, tumbling down into how it never really changed since college (this segment taking up most of the time), and ending somewhere in the region of how different it will be when we meet next. Answer? Not much.
And yet this year may be the most different in quite a while for I will be the only single guy on the table that night. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve always been single — but it used to be that the only guy to be singled out was the one who wasn’t. I will definitely be getting heat for this. But what do I expect when my story became the subject of too many nights, and my friends often were not just spectators but participants in it all? Their opening refrain will be “What’s wrong with you?” And their coda will be “Still not over her?” I can see it now.
They would be wise to recall that early this year I had a chance to close this circle. Earlier this year I had a chance to come in this Christmas night and need not be singled out. However, I didn’t want to be that guy for this probably counts among the most asinine reasons to get into a relationship. But were there reasons for me to get into one?
I’ll be honest — getting into one isn’t at the top of my priorities. I know this sounds like something a loser may say, but it couldn’t more true for me. Who doesn’t want intimacy and affection, right? I do too, but like all desires, these can be done without. Factoring other considerations such as finances and the demands of work, I can categorically say that my priorities right now are best served when I am unattached. This may sound as if I am excusing my being single but I have no doubt in my capability to sustain a relationship — thus I can say that I can’t be in one at the moment.
Do I know when I can be? Definitely. I have set a medium-term goal for myself that I have work that earns me well, serves my interests, and utilizes my skills. Teaching currently satisfies the last two but not much the first. I know that I am called to do something else that can be even more, dare I say, rewarding. I predict that 2009 may be more turbulent career-wise, and thus the worst thing I can do is anchor and define myself on somebody else as I find my way.
My philosophy is farthest from Jerry McGuire. I disagree with the whole “You complete me” approach. Rather, one must be complete first and say, “This is me.” We bring in someone else into our lives not so that person can define us, but because we choose to; and in choosing so we are confident, knowledgable, willing, and sure.
If it is not apparent now, in a relationship I look not for a lover but for a partner. I have no patience in dating or being hooked up. I prefer to meet that person through working together, or building rapport over time. It would be interesting to meet someone as sure, confident, and blazes her own path through life. Intimacy and affection both follow from this; that once we choose to be together we can say that we rather not having things any other way.
In retrospect, all my previous relationships — and attempts at relationships — failed because I was either unsure of who I was and thus sought the other to define me, or because I was sure of myself and she didn’t want to be defined by me. I could say that if the right person came two to one and a half years ago, I wouldn’t be single now; back then I was rather sure of myself. However, I could also say that if that person happened to come by within the past year, I would still be single now; these days, change is in the air.
And if the latter happened to happen, tough luck. But there will be others. And maybe even second chances. I am not a big believer in “The One” for destiny is always who we make it. Relationships, like dreams, are not found. They are built.
So this is my elaborate defense. It’s soulless and brutal, but it’s me being honest.
The down time this season allowed me to think this through while looking forward to that night with my buddies. But there is a reason I commit this to the blog now for chances are, after a beer or two, this won’t even stand a chance.
“What’s wrong with you?” I don’t know! “Still not over her?” I guess so…
Bullshit. But it’s Christmas. Some things never change, and I always did bring the laughs.
When asked whether I see myself single or married in the future, I always say the latter. I have two reasons. One, I am interested to meet the person who finally breaks through. And two, I think — no, I know — I can become a damn good father. I say that with confidence, and it is a hypothesis I would very much want to confirm.