Come A Little Closer

Now a full 24 hours removed from the events of Reunion Friday, as I rerun everything in my mind, my gut reaction is – “I can’t believe I really did that.” I think that reaction operates on 2 levels. One level is embarrassment at my stupidity because clearly things didn’t work out. Another level though is a little bit of self-admiration for the dumb courage it took for me to do what I did.

“Laying it out on the line” and “having balls” can be overrated characteristics in an overly macho society. If your main priority is to try to achieve something in an unemotional, calculated way, often a cautious, patient and flexible approach is best. But I do think that willing to go the full distance has a ton of value in the emotional world – emotions are what motivate us beyond what we rationally think is possible.

I didn’t know that I was capable of that and I learned something about myself. Unfortunately that experience has also further cemented in my mind the picture of the East Coast as a cold and socially challenging place that I was never destined to succeed in. It has to be true that when you get 500 intelligent people in a room and all of them work Old Economy jobs and none of them are creating anything new/increasing the pie, that intelligence is focused socially.

It’s always a good experience to see that in person – you can’t run from the real world and how humans behave and I will try not to. It’s important for growth. But experience does show that I am not built for those settings – I feel like a rich country bumpkin coming up to the big city. I’d so much rather be in a positive community where people are genuine and focus on building each other up rather than where they are in the ladder.

One quick followup to my last post on what to do –

I think I may have had another breakthrough on what my next steps should be. Fortunately, I was not alone after returning from reunions and ended up with my roommate’s group of Christian friends. It was a warm environment and helped me contextualize and abstract from the pain.

If I’m being honest, the girl that I went after was one of a kind. Experientially, I haven’t met many people who I feel are similar to me in life – in terms of intelligence aptitude, athleticism, personality, etc. And all statistical indications are that it should be difficult to find someone similar in those areas. This girl was my match and more and had had similar life experience (particularly having been to my school). And I didn’t find her exhausting to be around.

Above all, that similarity and commonality was what I thought was special about her. In retrospect, however I probably projected a lot of similarities onto her, which was my mistake. I also spent time at the reunion with girls in business school who were in a similar career situation as me, similar family background, had similar intelligence, etc. And they projected onto me and probably thought I was very similar to them. Maybe I am in superficial ways, but they missed the core of who I am and being around them was exhausting as they talked at me rather than to me.

Like an NBA general manager missing out on recruiting a key star, I have a few options: 1) mope and do nothing, 2) chase that star and waste energy embarrassing myself further, 3) find someone who looks like that star but isn’t quite as good or 4) go in a completely different direction.

And the right answer to that I believe is 4). If you can’t get the best big men, go be the best small ball/3-point shooting team. If you don’t have the super star, spend your cap space on building a great team. Trying to do the same thing and expecting a different result is definitional insanity, and more importantly to me, wasted energy.

Now at first I thought my only rebound option was to go for the business school-type girls. But I honestly don’t want to do that – I feel that they don’t know or care about me. That coming together with them would be nothing like the family I grew up in, but rather some cold commercial arrangement.

That’s where the fact that I came back to my roommate’s Christian friends was so interesting. There’s another option here – which is, rather than finding someone similar, finding someone complementary. And I’ve learned over the past few years that there’s a lot of things that I am not good at. I’d love someone in my life who is an organizer, kind, communicative and intelligent enough. That person would be an amazing support to me through ups and downs (often caused by my job) and hopefully I could find the right way to honor that person.

So that’s the breakthrough – I’m going to look for something totally different and even this time I’ll run the process differently – I’ll ask people for advice, take it slow and try to listen to her. I’ll give space but still flirt here and there. That’s that.

Am I rushing into something new to assuage the pain? Maybe, but I don’t think so. I wouldn’t have gone after the business school girls absent any other choice. And the reason I want to be in a relationship has to do with the core realization I had recently about love, how I behave and prioritizing other people. I see how I behave and I’d like to change it.

(One question is on Christianity – how serious can I ever take it? I’m a truth seeker and a truth teller. Don’t see world as way I would like it to be or God would like but rather, as it is.)

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