Monthly Archives: June 2014

Rules and roadblocks

Social media play a big role in many people’s lives today (mine included, admittedly). Sometimes they create situations which probably wouldn’t have arisen in the past. To set the stage: I’m old enough (over 30) and have lived enough different places (7, only counting locations where I’ve stayed for more than a year) that I’ve gotten acquainted with a large number of people (for one measuring stick, I have 1,657 Facebook friends). On the other hand, my current whereabouts are remote enough that the chance of running into anyone I know from a previous time/place is virtually nil. I’m also single at an age where more and more family members, friends and acquaintances are getting married and/or having kids if they haven’t passed those milestones already.

The unwritten rule that I generally obey is to not seek regular contact (much less “reconnect” by phone, email, etc.) with any female friend whom I know to be married or otherwise spoken for. Some might find that policy extreme, but I’d prefer to avoid any potential misunderstandings; I’m certainly amenable if and when anyone wants to contact me or wonders how I’m doing, and I’ll leave it at that. What becomes a real gray area is the less direct form of connection that can be found in certain social media.

Example 1: I got an auto-email the other day telling me “someone you may know is now on Twitter” and suggesting I follow her. I do indeed know the person because I dated her, albeit in a period which sometimes seems like another lifetime. We haven’t been in contact the past few years, but my normal action would be to follow her because I’m genuinely curious as to where she lives, what she’s doing and all that. However, practically the one thing I do know about her is that she’s married. Thus, does following her equate to breaking that unwritten rule?

Example 2: I have another acquaintance–not an ex, just someone I thought well of in high school when I could barely talk to a girl–who’s now a teacher and the author of an interesting blog. I commented on it once, back when I joined wordpress a couple of years ago and found her journal (or perhaps I’d already read it from a Facebook link, not sure). Just tonight I clicked back onto it as a link from another blog which i sometimes peruse. I was momentarily moved to write another comment or two since I honestly identify with some of her material and find it useful to consider in relation to my own life. Once again, seeing as how she’s married and has at least one kid, the unwritten no-contact rule reared its head. 

Oh well…call them #firstworldoldsingledudeproblems I suppose!

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It’s amazing

…and I’m sayin’ a prayer for all the desperate hearts tonight.

No really, I think it’s amazing how different my life is from how it was 3, 6, 10 (take your pick) years ago, from how I might have guessed it would be, and from the lives of many of my peers. I don’t consider that divergence as inherently good or bad, it’s just a thought that I find compelling.

I forgot if I’ve used the intoxication analogy in this journal before, though I probably have at some point. Anyway, I occasionally compare certain life situations, experiences and emotions to the state of drunkenness. As a gross simplification, booze makes me (and, it seems, many/most people) “feel more”. It heightens mood changes, exaggerates both the highs and the lows. I can think of many times, mostly between 2005-11, when I felt such strength of emotion that it seemed equivalent to deep inebriation.

Conversely, a lot of things about my current situation in life remind me of sobriety. In a literal sense, yes, I’m unimpaired as I write this and probably spend more time stone-cold sober than I did in certain past “lifetimes”. My deeper message, though, is that there’s less emotionality, fewer dramatic highs and lows. One could argue that the past 2.5 years have been one near-continuous low, but one could also make the case for the same era as, if not a high per se, at least a “higher than it could have been”. Perhaps a plateau is the most accurate description.

I’ve certainly been knocked way down off the high horse I rode during several stretches of my twenties, but at least on the good days, I can accept and be grateful for the fact that I’ve even made it to this point. I went through some horribly down periods in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and I don’t feel good at all about some of the ways I got myself through the lows. I could have used my reassignment to Clovis as an excuse to go off the handle in any of several ways. However, although my behavior hasn’t been unfailingly above reproach even since then, I mostly took the involuntary “new beginning” as a sign that I needed to respect myself and respect others to a greater degree than I had been. A few years ago, I was reckless and I hurt people. Now, there’s not really anyone I can hurt. There are correspondingly no breathtaking highs, no plummeting lows, no intoxicating illusions. I’m on a nice little plateau…or maybe it’s a flat island. My own little island plateau.

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