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Oct 6, 2011

Being Single Was Easy... Until I Began Dating...

From Young Bachelorhood to the Wandering Man

Being a bachelor can be a blast. But I was never one to party, drink, dance in public (at least, not with women) or do any of that type of stuff. I've been to a bars very few times and each experience strongly reinforced why I don't go to such places. Clearly, they're just not for me.

Still, being single didn't bother me. Between school, my hobbies, my passions, my life mission, working, going to the gym, dieting, community building, making time to learn and everything else I pursued (you heard me, that's not even the end of the list!) in focusing on taking care of myself, I found that I was happy, energetic and really loving life.

While some of those things have been dialed back and replaced with other responsibilities -a la graduate school, fieldwork, research -I've noticed that dating has also taken a much higher priority too.

And now that I'm searching and struggling with handling everything on my plate, I'm finding myself very often tired, exhausted, busy and not focusing as much on taking care of myself as I used to. Perhaps that's not all a result of dating, though the constant cycle of investing, planning dates, going out, beginning and ending the dating process with one woman after another leaves me feeling drained.

Feeling drained that way -especially when my dating career with a particular woman ends abruptly -often has me thinking about reshuffling my priorities a bit. Perhaps placing priorities, such as pursuing my own hobbies and working out, higher up and allowing my dating life to mellow out.

As I'm growing and moving forward through life I'm finding I have more to juggle, but my time and ability to handle so many things -to make time for each one in the right amounts to truly care for myself -is not particularly increasing. It's a tough spot to be in, and part of me wonders how much I can handle, while the other part is telling me I have to buckle down, develop more discipline and simply increase the skills for self-management.

I anticipate life will get far more complicated, particularly when things like a relationship, marriage and children enter the picture so that more of my focus is naturally drawn to those connections and other people outside my own self.

Back to the dating thing, though. With the ups and downs, the cycling of one woman after another in and out of my life, I have to say the experience has given me an interesting perspective on balance. It's like trying to walk straight with one leg wildly-kicking and one stone-solid. The cycle also has a very interesting impact on my heart. It's tough, trying to get to know the other person, build some connections and screen them when I've begun to almost anticipate the potential hurt of being dumped.

The effect is one that lacks a sense of permanence with my romantic life/relationships, reminding me of the story about a man who kept trying to build a home on top of a river; the foundations just keep washing away. Perhaps I'm concerned about the erosion of these experiences on the sense of home, family and relationships that I'm looking to build.

The toughest part about it is moving to a new location, moving on to a different person, only to find another river washing away the potential beginnings of a foundation (which, clearly, are not meant to be built there) gives me the impression of a wandering man, without a place to settle.

But that's exactly what it is. I am the Wandering Man.

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