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As I sit here on the back porch with my computer nestled between a neat glass of Templeton Rye and the soft glow of a citronella candle, I really wish I was writing about hunting, fishing, motorcycle riding or Mexican lager. Instead, I’m pondering the gristly nature of my love life.
I have spent the last several months in a whirlwind of activity and change. For the better part of last year, I felt stagnant in both my life and my job, and at the beginning of July, I pulled the ripcord and moved across the country to pursue a new career path and start the next chapter of my life in the Rocky Mountains.
Over the course of two months I drove 1,700+ solo miles in a packed-to-the-gills F-150, piloted a U-Haul with my mother from my hometown of Los Angeles to my new home in the western Rockies, and flew back and forth several times between my new home and LA (I’m currently working remotely for an LA based company, and needed to spend some time at the home office for training and orientation).
During my time in Los Angeles, I began started spending some time with a very special girl who we’ll call Hope. We met in January when I came home for the holidays, had a night of wild passion on a moonlit beach the night before I braved the post-holiday clusterfuck at LAX to fly back to Ohio, and we sporadically kept in touch until I came to LA in July.
During my recent hometown visits I hiked, sipped coffee and walked through museums with Hope: a beautiful, authentic, viciously talented leggy blonde with a razor-sharp wit and a mental catalog of obscure movie quotes even deeper than mine. We spent days and nights together as we talked about life, listened to classic rock in complete darkness, and sipped warm bourbon out of coffee mugs under the smog-hidden stars of Southern California. I sat on her bed as she played me original music on her guitar and when she finished, I would applaud her talent, creativity and depth as she tried to hide her bashful smiles behind an acoustic Gibson.
To my surprise, one of the original songs she played during a recent late night rendezvous was about me. She essentially used her composition to initiate the “what are we” conversation. Once she finished playing, we started having the proverbial talk that eventually comes up in every budding relationship. Along that conversational pathway, things veered off course and we never really finished said talk. Whether it was because we both have trouble verbally expressing our feelings and emotions or because we somehow started making out, I’m not sure. Either way, I left her house that night with a strange feeling in my gut. I found myself precariously wedged in relationship limbo, and I knew I had some soul searching to do.
For the first time in a very long time, I feel like I’m really growing as a person and creating positive momentum in my life. In this new chapter of my life I’m focusing heavily on self-improvement, intensely cultivating my passions, and cutting things out of my life that I think negatively affect my personal growth like video games, television and daily bong rips. I feel like I am finally becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be, the man that I always I knew I had the potential to become. It is for these reasons that throwing myself into the fire of a new relationship scares the living shit out of me.
I know the person I become when I’m in a serious relationship. My personal identity fragments and I become engulfed in the experience of being a couple. While this is not always a bad thing, I feel like pursuing a serious adult relationship at this juncture of my life’s journey could be a mistake. Is this the right time in my life to start pouring a large part of myself into another person? Is there ever a right time to do that?
I really care about Hope, but I don’t know what path to choose. Part of me feels like a piece of shit for thinking this way, but I don’t know if I’m done being the single, independent person that I’ve been for the past several years. I’m a person who deeply values my freedom and solitude and I don’t know if I’m ready to stop being myself and start being “us,” especially when we live several states away. To loosely quote another PGP writer, just because something is good, does that mean it’s right? If I’m not 100 percent sure about wanting to take what we have to the next level, is that fair to either of us?
I’ve often heard the phrase “poor timing” used as a description of why a relationship didn’t pan out, but this is the first time I’ve truly understood it. I’ve always felt that your twenties are the time in your life when you’re supposed to be selfish about your wants and needs, and do what you think is best for yourself. I believe that I’m in a phase of my life where I should be focusing all my energy on reaching my own apex and chasing positive personal growth. Maybe it’s because I’m the type of person who hates asking for help, but part of me believes that I need to cultivate this growth on my own.
But maybe I’m going about this all wrong. Maybe I need to stop overthinking and just let things happen with this unique, brilliant woman who by all standards is a total catch. Maybe I need to let go of my inhibitions and surrender myself to the beautiful, exciting, messy, complicated chemical reactions of the brain. So, where do we go from here? Do I let her down easy and stay young, wild and free? Or do I throw myself into this relationship and see what happens? Only time and whiskey will tell..