Friday, February 24, 2006


I haven't been posting much lately. That's partly because my absurd work schedule just leaves me exhausted pretty much all the time, but also because I'm fatigued with the state of American politics and don't want to turn this blog into yet another political rag rant. Instead, the things that I find fascinating are the human condition - life's pursuits and human relationships. Because that's pretty much all that separates us from monkeys. Well, that and a whole lot of hair.

Anyway, as the human condition that I know and understand the best is myself, I've been reflecting on a variety of things over the past few months that I'll share here.

Relationships aren't easy. Whether it's a friend, co-worker, parent, or sibling, every relationship has it's highs and lows. This dynamic is more present, and I would argue, more relevant in a significant other because critical to sustaining and growing that type of relationship is managing the difficult periods and finding a way to turn weakness into strength. But, and here's the real kick in the groin, it always, as they say, "takes two to tango." Both players got to be on the same page working in the same way to smooth out the troubles and continue building the relationship. Generally, people more often than not seem to do one of the following: run, hide, ignore, and/or fight. Instead of working to get at the root cause of the problem, it is more common that couples take the easy road and deal with the surface problems while leaving gaping holes in their foundation.

I think people do that because: it's easier, it feels safer, they don't communicate well, and/or they don't know any better. It's awfully hard to step outside of oneself, analyze the problem, and then target the source. And I don't judge people for that. The real culprit behind it all is emotion - it makes us human but it often blinds us and disables positive growth. Just as ego stops co-workers from taking lower level positions that could eventually lead to something great because it's "beneath them," ego often stops individuals from saying "I'm sorry, I screwed up," and enabling positive growth. Equally troublesome in the human dynamic is that ego can inhibit real communication - "If I tell him X, he won't love me as much," or some such nonsense. Managing emotions is a tricky business.

The reason I bring this all up is that I was reminiscing last night about the time Ms. Colombia and I spent together in London and how our relationship developed in such a short time. What's really amazing to me is that we both realized just how serious and significant our meeting was almost immediately. I believe it was our second date when she asked, "This is serious, isn't it?" "Very," I replied and things blossomed from there. I think in that moment we both knew we had found what we were looking for. It didn't mean we knew we were going to be married or that we were meant for each other, but we knew that for the first time in a very long time, we had found someone with the potential for real, true, and honest partnership.

An example. After less than a week of dating, Ms. Colombia was ill and wanted to go to the hospital to get some antibiotics. I took her. That's right. I took her in a minicab, waited in the hospital, took her home on the bus, made her soup, and took care of her. When I think about that I'm really shocked. I took 7 hours out of my day to care for someone I had just met. How many times have I ever taken care of anyone in my entire life, not to mention someone I barely know? I realize now that even after less than a week I knew how special Ms. Colombia was.

We've had our ups and downs. We've had conflicts (mostly my fault, sadly). We've grown. But the most amazing thing is that the dynamic we described above isn't really us. Ms. Colombia is a true partner in the truest sense of the word. There have been several times where she has checked her anger and hurt and expressed herself in a very productive manner. It's something to build on. And, most obviously and importantly, it only takes one person to be the "grownup" during the rough periods. The road to our eventual union is paved with both of us checking our ego, our hurt, our anger, or what have you, and working to build a stronger relationship that avoids similar pitfalls.

I know it's not always like that. Life has a way of beating you down. From jobs to family to finances, life's stresses erode the edges of the smoothest relationships. That's why relationships, like War's on Terror, are "hard work." But..."necessary work".

I actually don't like to use the word "work" to describe relationships. Work, for me, has such a negative connotation. Maybe that's because I'm finishing career dissatisfied number 3 and looking for career number 4 in what hopes to be the last career transition, but also perhaps because the rewards for a successful and fulfilling relationship are so much greater than the rewards for a job well done. Keep the boat, I'll take Ms. Colombia.

But relationships do take continual effort to grow. Like all in life, grow or die. It's the one overarching theme that dominates life from the basic cellular level to the peaks of human intelligence. Grow or die. And this is the remarkable thing about my novia. A mutual friend told us that the time apart would really help our relationship and we would get stronger. Another friend said, "it either makes or breaks you." And they're right. Almost 4 months apart is a make or break situation. But what's really remarkable is that the first person was right. We are so much stronger now than we were in December. We've grown, but more than that, we have a real appreciation for each other simply because we are in the unique situation where we can't be together. It's the absence that makes us realize how special our union is to us and it's the absence that will drive us to grow for the long term because we both know what it's like to be alone in the world and we both know what it's like to have the one you love 5000 miles away.

And that's the great thing about marriage. Marriage is just the beginning. I've got a lifetime of growth and development and learning with Ms. Colombia. And that's pretty damn exciting.

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines.


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