My previous writings described many aspects of existing in this epoch, and at this age. While I believe I succeeded in describing the multifaceted nature of our lives, it felt like, apart from one somewhat whimsical description of falling in love, I have been avoiding the main issues and failed to address something many of us experience in the “middle” years. I avoided it for many conscious reasons, and I am sure a few subconscious ones. Some of the reasons – I am aware of the stereotypes associated with men and the phenomenon known as a midlife crisis and, I believe the whole topic is almost worthy of its own set of writings. But this week it felt like something in me was posturing like a state prosecutor, accusing me of circling the drain, or rather avoiding what is arguably the most contentious and controversial topic of our times: Dating, coupling, searching for a partner – but most importantly, how technology changed the nature of what is the most intimate of human experiences. Layered over that reality is everything that comes with being 51.
In my mind, I thought of the emotions and experiences I had since choosing freedom. I thought of what I have learned about myself and what I previously allowed myself to write – and only shared with my inner circle, and I knew that in spite of my promise to myself that all my writings in this series will be completely transparent – this topic is so intimate that I know I won’t be able to tell it all. I am aware that our existence, thoughts, and experiences are like layers of an onion; it doesn’t matter how much we can reveal; there are always a few layers left. There is a part of us that we see in perspective, and we know we will never disclose to others. This is our inner world, the dark undercurrent that forms our core, our holiest of holy – that makes us aware of feelings, instincts, and yes, micro-discrimination, or subtle preferences that causes us to realize that we can never commit to a person that the world would consider perfect from afar – simply because we cannot get over a particular mannerism or physical attribute. Other times we feel a strange allegiance to someone the world rejects as not good enough. In my case at least, that often makes me feel like a fraud in the former and failure in the latter situations.
So here is my bravest attempt at being completely transparent – just a normal, imperfect human being.
I remember experiencing an emotion when I first started dating. It was complicated, but basically, it was a feeling of being extremely vulnerable. A sobering thought crossed my mind – I haven’t dated since I was 19… Holy fcuk that is scary! Apart from that, I found myself in a different country and culture than I grew up in – and since I last dated the internet happened. In the past, we would be looking for a potential partner in our everyday circumstances. Someone at work, the person next door; the gym, bar, church or even a particularly friendly person at the cash register of the local grocery store. The cartesian product of our circumstances and our desire (desperation) would make people pick a partner – often because that was the best they could find and because tick-fucking-tock – all our biological clocks are ticking…
That was then – this is now. Today the world is at our fingertips, we not only meet people from all over the world, but we also find ourselves on social networks that form an intricate dopamine-intoxicated matrix, a human centerpetish, electronic rabbit-hole that no clicking of our heels can fix. We are wired into the greater consciousness and it feels incredible, and yet most of us hate it. It is the mental equivalent of being with someone that gives us incredible orgasms, and yet we know that we are not supposed to be with them.
Part 2 to follow: