Reading has become more than just a pastime. I’m inhaling everything I can get my hands on – from school articles to The Life of Pi to books on Carl Jung, for both pleasure and the quest for enlightenment, and everything in between. I have spent a small fortune on Amazon this week, and I await one in particular that I read about in an article entitled, “A Bachelor’s Effort to Understand Love” in the Times. Author John Bowe, who is well-versed in the world of heartbreak, published a collection of first-person accounts of why love succeeds or fails – people just like you and me, all race, religion and creed, who have been through the gauntlet of having their hearts broken… from a 17 year-old who can’t get over an ex-boyfriend to a 76 year-old widower who couldn’t ever find the second “One.”
In opening up about his personal experiences, he said he was certain that he was in love at one point, but felt confused by how to deal with a relationship that “came with so many complications, and a lot of fear, and a lot of pressure.” In the past, his decisions led him to pursue his career over love, he now realizes the risks of those choices. When asked about his chances of finding love at this point in his life, he said “I think it’s a very arrogant gamble I made in a way. I’ll have time to set up a career that fulfills my spiritual goals and then have time for a relationship afterwards. If I’m right, then I’m the coolest guy in the world. If I’m wrong, I’m a loser.”
Everyone has a different tool to measure success, whether it’s marriage, children, a lucrative career, owning a dog, a car, buying a home, or the ability to rent a summer house. I have yet to achieve any of these. This realization has led to a horrible recent habit of which I’m trying to break myself – looking at people’s left hands to see if they bear a wedding ring. It’s not about sizing up eligible bachelors, for I do this with both men and women of all shapes and sizes. My crazy does not discriminate.
A few weeks ago this habit had more to do with hating everyone who’s ring finger flashed. Not because I’m anxious to wear a white dress or catapult a bouquet at screaming singles. Instead, I assumed these ring-wearers had it all figured out – that their lives were somehow more complete than mine, that they had a secret – and since my membership card to the Country Club of the Happily Attached had recently been revoked, I was not allowed to know it.
I recognize the absurd nature of this, and am all too aware that we have no idea what goes on beyond closed doors and in people’s relationships. I am not jealous of them. I am jealous of the imaginary lives I created for them. The worst are the ones walking with their Golden Retrievers…those are the ones I want to kick in the shins.
I find myself manifesting joyous marriages, doting spouses and devoted children, family dinners with the Golden curled at their feet. Thankfully, after several weeks of this, I am now practiced in hastening my rebound back to reality, where relationships are hard work, children cry, and dogs bark. When I find myself reverting back to Daydream City, I think of something I’m grateful for in my own land of singlehood. Today it was the J.Crew fedora I bought – simply because I liked it, and amused that there is no one’s fashion opinion of which I feel compelled to ask.
So while I have not achieved the aforementioned signs of a complete existence taught to us by the soul-sucking entertainment industry in which I work, what I do have is a whole hell of a lot of honesty. I think that goes without saying from previous posts. You’re always invited to my den of truth – in addition to my functional studio layout, you will see my dusty corners. But you’ll also catch a glimpse of my new fedora, perched atop my wardrobe.