Monday, April 5, 2010

Love in the Dirty Thirties

The business of love was much easier in my younger days. The goal was simple - find someone you like and spend time with them. When things stop being fun, you end it. There was no stressing about long-term compatibility, matching family values, or similar parenting philosophies. I didn't have anxiety about religious or cultural differences. I didn’t freak out at conversational lulls, the lack of/or presence of chivalry, or the way we split the check on a date. Dating was simply more lighthearted back then.

I always envisioned my 30s as a time when I would know exactly who I was and exactly what qualities I wanted in a life partner. In many respects, that is true. However, what I haven’t learned yet are which qualities (and how many) are okay to compromise on. I am not so idealistic to think that one day I will meet a Mr. Perfect. I’ve never believed that exists. But I would like to believe there is a mind-blowing Mr. Almost Perfect out there. And I hope that I am still lighthearted enough to be swept off my feet by him. These days I’m not so sure.

So let me break it down.

The Good: I’m smart, pretty cute, and got a rock-solid future ahead of me. I think of myself as a darn good catch (pats self on back).
The Bad: I work at a hospital, 60 to 80 hours per week, where every man I encounter is either old, taken, or gay. Slim pickins’ I say. I’m in my early, early 30s (yes, that’s TWO earlies!) and while my biological clock isn’t quite ticking yet, my eggs are not as fresh as they were 10 years ago.
The Ugly?: I’ve met some lovely men in the last 6 months of my newfound singlehood. There’s one quite special one, in fact, that shall be known as New York. He is HOT and smart and thoughtful and funny and ambitious. Did I mention he’s HOT? In my lighthearted days of youth, this is someone that would’ve “had me at hello”. These days, however, I’ve got major security detail working round the clock to protect my heart. My brain is on overdrive calculating the likelihood of relationship success given our very different backgrounds. I’m exhausted from overthinking it. In the end, I think it all boils down to one thing – after a bruising heartbreak, I’m just not ready for another go at this.

When did falling in love become so much gosh-darn work? Where are those intoxicating endorphins when you need them? Have I grown out of that exhilarating kind of falling in love? Is it all rational and thought-out and controlled from here? And if that’s how it’s going to be, should I revert back to my college dreams of being eternally single with a rotating schedule of lovers throughout the world?

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