Hi There. Been A While.

I have not been writing lately. For a while there, writing in this blog had become an essential part of expressing myself, one I never imagined would be so important to me. I mean, I always knew I enjoyed writing, but I was not aware of the impact a failure to write was having on my daily life. Then I started to write on a regular basis and things started really falling into place.

I believe that what started happening was that I began to feel that I was connecting with people through my writing. And a review of people’s comments would bear that conclusion out. I was expressing my authentic self, unapologetically putting it out in the world, and seeing that it was received by some people who enjoyed and appreciated it.

Looking at this blog now, I see I have gone nearly a full month without writing a blog entry. In addition, my posts to Facebook have dropped off dramatically. So with all that lack of self expression, that failure to put my authentic self forward in written form, one should be safe in assuming I have noticed a difference in my feelings of comfort, my feelings of having expressed my authentic self, right?

Well that would make sense, except for one thing. Those of you who have been paying attention, and even many who have not, are probably aware that there has been a significant change in my life lately. Significant in that I now have a significant other, a honey, a squeeze, a girlfriend, a companion, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And this woman, with whom I have been spending a fair amount of time despite a distance ot 1733 miles (give or take), has been filling that most basic of all human needs, the need to feel heard.

So what sort of things have I learned through this process? What are my takeaways from this process of falling in love? Allow me to lay a few out here:

  • If At All Possible, Date A Writer We have been writing quite a bit back and forth, and each of us is now working independently on compiling some of that writing into a cohesive story for possible publication. That is fun. But the real payoff of dating a writer is the ability to express one’s innermost thoughts with someone who is equally adept at doing so, and who understands the importance of doing that. Someone who sees the process of writing as one of mental housekeeping and hygiene, as important to overall health as breathing and bathing.
  • If I Want Things To Be Different, I Have To Change I have been married twice. I am in the process of making official my second divorce, which has been unofficially occurring for about 7 years now. And I swore as part of that process that I would never be in a romantic relationship again. Not because they are a bad thing, or because all women are crazy, or any of the other reasons commonly cited. For me, the problem has been that I have always sucked at relationships. I didn’t handle myself well in them, giving away too much of what I held as important in order to keep the other person around. So I decided to just stop putting myself into situations where I would risk the possibility of that behavior. Now that may seem like a losing strategy, and it is. That is why I did so poorly at my previous attempts at romantic relationship. But the last 7 years have taught me what parts of me are too important to give up, no matter how desirable the prize. If I want to stop sucking at relationships, I have to start remembering that who I am is non-negotiable. And I can see that I have put that 7 years to good use.
  • What We Have In Common Is Good For Us, But Not Essential Shared interests are good. Similar life views are good. But more important is the ability to discover and respect the differences. Jen and I very clearly have a lot in common, but there are also many fundamental differences. She enjoys hiking, she likes musical theater, she enjoys certain musical genres. I don’t. Some of those things are areas on which we can find happy mediums, while others are things that we will just have to find ways to respect the difference. And that is the critical part. She doesn’t have to give up other things that make her happy, she just needs to find ways to do those things as well as be with the man who makes her happy. And the same holds true for me.
  • Communication Skills Are Secondary To The Willingness To Honestly Say What Is On Our Minds I find it is great to be able to talk productively with my partner. But unless and until we apply those skills to the difficult subjects, to acknowledge the frightening aspects of talking with someone about those difficult subjects and go ahead and talk about them anyway, we will just be effectively communicating small talk. Relationships based on small talk are going to, by their very nature, be small. If I want to grow with her, I need to be willing to risk what we have in order to explore “The Next Level”. And I also believe that this willingness to fearlessly explore our thoughts together is what has made me feel less driven to write in the blog. Those thoughts I had expressed in the blog are finding outlets not previously available.

So that is what I have been up to lately. Jen and I have done some awesome stuff together. We have done a bit of traveling, a lot of writing, and we have written about doing more traveling. Some of it has even gone from writing and talking to buying tickets to other parts of the world. It has been a hell of a ride. And I wouldn’t trade it for all the security in the world.

That is all big enough that I thought I should at least tell you a bit about it, since you were there with me for all the other stuff. Thanks for listening, then and now. And I promise to keep in touch.

7 thoughts on “Hi There. Been A While.”

  1. I’m so very happy for both of you! It was a delight to see you two together. You could actually see blue birds flying above your heads…:-) I’m having a small problem with your blog above though….I’m not sure I can continue to support a guy that doesn’t enjoy musical theater. Time will tell if I can resolve this difficulty. Love to you both!!!!

    1. Thanks, Jean. It gives me pause to think that what you are essentially saying above is that, should it come down to it, you choose Jen because she likes musical theater. But while I can argue with the reasoning, I sure can’t argue with the choice.

      Thanks for everything. As always!

  2. John- I am SO happy for you! I sensed that something (or someone!) rather significant had happened to you in Idaho. It was a joy to see the light in your eyes in the recent photos you shared. Not much in life is better than road-tripping with a new love in a jaunty convertible on the bucolic backroads. And now for my two cents. You might wish to think of hiking as a slower, foot-propelled version of joy-riding in a cool convertible. There’s something to be said about the pace & authenticity of sauntering. You know. Fresh air, sunshine, the scent of jasmine or pine trees wafting by, maybe the call of cardinals or blue jays punctuating your conversation. Holding hands with Jen as you meander through a meadow is not only romantic, but healthy. And think of the plethora of picnics at the end of all those trails! I could probably live happily without musical theater, but walking is laced to writing like- well- a comfortable old pair of hiking boots. Think of John Muir. Julia Cameron. Wordsworth & the Lake District. And Jen! Jen is waiting for you- just around the next bend, beyond the grove of birches, where the sparkles of the sea meet the sky.

    1. Thanks, Pat. Something special did indeed occur in Idaho and beyond. And as an English teacher, you will be pleased to know it was writing which brought us together.

      Neither writing nor musical theater have been ruled out, but it is good to know that our lives needn’t mirror one another’s in order to bring us both happiness. The whole world is ours to explore!

  3. PS. OK- I guess I’ve been in California too long. I love & miss birches but they would more likely grow near a Wisconsin lake than the sea.

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