People aren’t machines. It’s a liberating fact to accept on the one hand, because it means nobody can really control us, but it’s also a hard fact, because it means that we can’t be fixed.
Fixing involves changing, adding, subtracting parts, substituting pieces that work for pieces that don’t. The fixed item becomes like new, at least in that respect. People don’t work that way. We all know this, but we act like we don’t. We act like pieces can be replaced and we will work better, whether on a physical or emotional level. Sometimes pieces can be changed (heart valves, joints, etc), but these replacements don’t mean healing in every case. Sometimes they just mean maintenance. And sometimes replacing things doesn’t work, because there really are once in a lifetime things that can’t be replicated, despite all the best technology.
It’s a hard fact when we are faced with health problems that we want to change. We can’t be fixed the same way things can be. It’s easy to fall into an absurdist mentality as a result. But I think that meaning can still be found, and perhaps even more readily. Meaning comes from struggle and uncertainty, and that’s the way life really is.
I had a conversation with a friend a little while ago in which I realized that modern dating (especially on mobile apps) has become like an unpaid Human Resources internship, during which I read reports, schedule appointments, interview prospects, evaluate experiences, drink too much coffee, and wish I had more free time to do the things I enjoy and that bring me life, or at least that pay me a salary. It’s like work, but my boss is a tiny imaginary tyrant who berates me for being single, judges me for being divorced, and is mad at me for being less available And less engaged in the process than I should be. And that was when it really hit me: Why would I want to do any of those things, when there are so many things I actually would like to do? Why work an imaginary internship that takes time away from what I really value, that drains me emotionally and keeps me from being a better person?
Lots of people take a year off from dating in early sobriety. It’s not required, but it’s often recommended. I didn’t. My sponsor didn’t care whether I did, and I think wisely saw that making it a rule for me would have resulted in me pushing back against it anyway. Instead, like many things in my life, I had to come to a point where the pain of staying the same became greater than the pain of changing. Once I realized that all of my time spent single had been entirely unintentional, and how much of that time had been spent (unhappily, I should add) trying to not be single, I knew something had to change, and I was ready and willing for that change to take place.
So, it’s official. I’m off the market for 2019, and not just because I’m not meeting anyone. I’ve had some decent dates, but my life is ready to level up. I’m looking forward to the rest of 2019 being a time of real intentional growth as an intentionally single man, not as some kind of punishment or “woe is me” experiment, but because life is so damn full and rich and short, and there’s a lot I want to do and see.