Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Use or Sell by: (insert date)

I'm currently taking a class that is supposed to help you focus on the patterns that make you successful, and learn how to apply those ideas to all areas of your life. It has been surprising to see the that there are obvious patterns and connections between my personality and successes. I feel successful when things are simple and organized. Hmmm...why doesn't this follow into all areas of my life?

I think it is natural that when you are examining your successes that you also examine your failures. Shockingly, I zeroed in on my past relationships. Rarely, have they been simple and organized. The patterns that have showed up ever since college are generally chaotic, sporadic, and short. My first relationship (when I was in college...yes, I was a late bloomer) is still the most simple (It was, at least, while we were dating.) and longest lasting. I don't know what made it this way, but until we broke up, it always seemed easy. Maybe at that point we were still young enough to not have the baggage or experience that makes this stupid dating thing so complicated and frustrating. Ignorance is bliss...

Over the weekend, I was talking to a friend about dating. She mentioned that she feels comfortable talking to me about our dating lives (or lack thereof) because we seem to have similar experiences. The best example she gave was that we both seem to be the girl that is interesting/attractive enough to get asked out on the second date or get a second glance. After that second date, or as I'm now finding second month, the guy changes his mind and is gone.

This is not meant to be a "poor me" sort of post, but I do find some definite patterns in my "relationships" from the last few years. There is always something chaotic in one of our lives. It is the first relationship for a former drug dealer turned venture capitalist since serving at a federal work camp. I am really interested in someone else and so not completely invested in getting to know the person. He is just getting out of a complicated and/or long-term relationship. Maybe sometimes it is simple, we realize we just don't work together.

They also seem to last no longer than two to three months, usually the earlier. It's almost as though the universe issues a two month expiration date when I begin dating someone. I am apparently best used by or sold by (insert date two months after dating begins). What is it about two months that seems to be a turning point in a romantic relationship? Is it just enough time to get to know another person and foresee it going somewhere, or not? Is it just long enough for a person's quirks to surface? Or is it just coincidence?

Whatever it is, I feel as though I should come with a date stamped across my forehead as a warning to those give a second glance. Wouldn't that be great? Hmmm, something to consider. Positive or negative patterns, successes and failures. Life would be boring without those combinations. Sometimes, though, I wouldn't mind the combinations to separate and just let the positive reign for a bit.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Running, working, dating, running, working

I am tired. That tired you get from a productive day or a great run. A tired that makes you feel like you have accomplished something. You could go to bed, but there is a strange energy surging through you at the same time. This kind of tired seems to hit me in waves when I have a lot going on.

This last fall I was juggling a new school year with quite a few changes, many hours volunteering with one of my favorite organizations, coaching cross country, and trying to run a little on the side. Needless to say, I was a little stressed out. The tired I was experiencing far surpassed the tired described above. There were times I would be sitting on the couch grading, eating and trying to play with the dog after a long day of trying to impart wisdom on 12 year olds, plotting a route for Saturday's run, massaging my left calf and heating my right knee. During a few of these evenings I would start to think about how nice it would be to meet someone. Then I would snap back into reality and realize I didn't even have time to file my nails, let alone start a relationship.

Life eventually calmed down and I resumed a normal school-year schedule and started running again. I also opened up my dating life again. Each time I start to date someone during the school year, I remember how hard it can be to balance everything and make myself feel like I am doing enough in all areas of my life. Running has helped me learn how to balance all these different elements. It is the one area I can control. If school is crazy, I can calm down with a long run. If a boy decides he doesn't want to date me anymore, a run up to the top of Mt. Tabor can burn off some frustration/confusion/anger/sadness. It has become a regular part of my life and while I don't expect potential partners to understand it, I do expect them to accept it.

This time, I've been seeing a runner who is levels above me with speed and experience. It is such a different experience to not have to really explain to someone why you have to get up at 4:45 AM on a weekday to get your run in. Or why on a Friday night you need to be in bed by 9 PM and really shouldn't have more than one beer. The amount of energy I save by not having to explain these things is incredible.

My short (but growing) list of characteristics of a boyfriend continues to change as I grow into myself. This is, of course, in addition to loving me for the somewhat neurotic person I am, all of my quirks, blah, blah, blah. As of now, I believe there are only 5:

1. Prefer a runner...or at least someone who understands the need for barf-inducing workouts, Glide, and a short port-a-potty line.

2. Loves (or will at least do) yard work. I'll keep the inside clean.

3. Loves my dog for the sweet cuddler she is, and tolerates her sometimes erratic behavior.

4. Won't get mad at me for jumping on the couch and screaming obscenities at college football refs because that was not pass interference!

5. Will cheer me in at the finish line.

I'm still willing to experience the good tired to find all these things and keep myself sane and employed.