Tag Archives: relationships

One vs. Many

Do you believe in true love?

In the idea that there is one person in all the world that is your perfect fit, your soul mate. This was the topic of the last This American Life’s radio show “Somewhere Out There”. I’ve been thinking about love for several weeks now because I have found something unexpected in myself – fear.

I am afraid of being alone for the rest of my life.

And…

I am afraid of committing myself to a single person for the rest of my life.

Quite a quandary.

On the one hand I keep seeing all these happy couples, all these people forming bonds and building lives together and I am jealous. On the other hand I see all of the compromises people make to have a relationship that continues over time and I don’t want to compromise.

Then there is the fact that good men are scarce and every requirement you add to the mix makes them scarcer. I thought that I would repeat the math David Kestelbaum did during the show last weekend, adding in some of my own requirements, and see what my odds are.

So I took the population of the Portland Metro Area, where I live, and the population of the United States. Then I limited the percent based on the following criteria – Single men between the ages of 35 – 55 who have professional careers and some college, are non smokers and who exercise.

Stats Percent  Portland Metro  USA
Est. Total Population   2,000,000 304,059,724
% Male 49% 982,000 149,293,324
% males between 35-55 15% 147,300 22,393,999
% single 46% 67,758 10,301,239
% some college 28% 18,972 2,884,347
% professional career 12% 2,277 346,122
% non smoking 77% 1,753 266,514
% who exercise 72% 1,262 191,890

 

Which leave a possible 1,262 men who meet my criteria in the Portland Metro Area.

My US stats are much better – 191,890 men but then I don’t travel as much anymore so my odds of meeting anyone out of my area is slim these days.

Here is the kicker though – we haven’t even gotten in to political bend, religion, hobbies, or interests. In fact if I limit it to politically aware, religiously tolerant men who are interested in some of the same things I am, I might be getting close to 0.  

So is there only one Mr. Right out there for me?

After all we are looking at less than 1% of the population of any given area, 0.063% of the population to be exact. And although I might be interested in them, will they be interested in me?

Now that we’ve mathematically proven that love is hard to find we need to think about timing. Timing is everything. It can mean the difference between a glance and a date, a date and a relationship, a relationship and a marriage. If the timing is wrong – everything else is thrown out of balance.

So what do I do?

Do I play the number’s game and keep searching? I’m not really much of a gambler and I think my odds are even slimmer because I’ve found him once so what are the odds I’ll find someone again? I’ve also had two close calls – men who were so close that if the stars had aligned differently I wonder if they would have been perfect.

I don’t know… but I’m not liking my odds and I can’t tell if this exercise was informative or depressing.

Thoughts?

~ Tess Anderson

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I am in the strangest mood.

I have lost so much and gained so much – but in the end I am me and must make all my mistakes myself.

The grace of learning from other peoples experience belongs only to others. I must throw myself into the breach knowing full well that I will not escape. The scars – the open wounds – they are but the price I pay willingly for being nothing less, nothing more than me.

I still hurt.

It isn’t a single hurt. Not brought on by a specific moment in time. It is the culmination of a lifetime. I’ve worked very hard to get this far and the pain is a part of me. I am the product of my experiences and thus the product of my mistakes.  

We are filled with contradictions: the desire to be independent, to be ourselves, and yet the impulse to find completion in the arms of another. As if we cannot feel whole by ourselves. As if there is something lacking in just being alone.  

Have I learned anything?

That is the question. There are so many lessons. No end to the mistakes you can make as you travel through life. I have lived, loved, lost, and succumbed to the best and the worst in us. And somewhere, in my heart and mind, I have discovered who I am. I have discovered what I want.    

There is nothing I want more…

Than to know that someday this will all be worthwhile. The somehow the mistakes, the suffering, will hone me and make me worthy.

Of something.

It is such a sad thing to acknowledge that I would feel more complete with a partner. But that is what I’ve always wanted. A partner in crime. Someone to buffer me, and I him, someone who will be there for me as I will be there for him. Someone to share my bed and my life, my dreams and my desire.    

It is strange to know that a life alone doesn’t scare me. But I can’t help hoping that someone will want me. Want me more…more than anything. Enough to stay. To put up with my bad days and rejoice in my good.

To want me for nothing less, nothing more, than who I am.

Who I’ve become.  

~ Tess Anderson

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Confused…

Have you ever had one of those moments where you were just confused?

Not able to move forward because the world keeps shifting under your feet? Every day has too much new information – too much is changing?

That is my life these days.

A friend told me she thought the craziness of my birthday was just a warning shot across the bow. I hate it when she is right. The week has been… eventful to say the least. It isn’t that the change is bad or good – it is just that it is change. Change brings stress. And in my world stress usually bring migraines… or cravings for Goldfish crackers.

I could take the easy way out and insist that the Universe is trying to tell me something – but I can’t. Because I believe that we create the pattern – draw the connections – link the actions and then call it fate, karma, synchronicity or divine intervention.

I believe in a random universe.

As much as we try to find patterns in the world around us – I think we are simply interpreting arbitrary unconnected events. Trying to find meaning and comfort for ourselves.

Not feeling a lot of comfort these days.  

I also believe that all forms of divination are a method for people to feel that they have some insight and control over this random universe of ours – but that is a whole different post.

Confusion…

So I’m here – following thoughts to their conclusion, researching strands to develop an understanding of events, and unable to pull meaning from any of it. Don’t we all want our life to have meaning? To have contributed to something – a child, an idea, a business, a cause?

I feel very disconnected, but strangely not unsure.

Today decisions were made. An ending and a beginning. One does not replace the other – they are not the same thing nor were they ever connected except by time. You cannot read purpose into coincidence.

There is a shift – I liked where I was. And although I don’t dislike this new place it is not yet comfortable… because the change also brought more uncertainty.

I can know where I am, or where I am going, but I can’t know both.

~ Tess Anderson

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Write, Damn it Write!

That about sums it up for the day.

Although I want to write and have a long list of projects that I need to work on – my life keeps interfering. But that is what life does after all. It isn’t like it is going to go away and let you work. It teases you – like the wind whipping the trees – making sure you are aware of its invisible power to bend you, shape you, and possibly break you.

Enough!

There’s been a lot on my mind the last few days. Thoughts buzzing in my brain like hornets. They all want to be heard – all want my attention – all require my cool analysis. Perspective is a lovely thing but I’m not sure I have it. I’m trying. Is trying enough? I don’t think I’ve been graded on effort since grade school.

There are books on top of books written about writing. There are also books written about procrastination and leaning effective habits. In the end – we all have to figure these things out for ourselves. My only wish is that I could figure it out and be done with it. Every day changes – some patterns stay for awhile some never get started. I envy people who have that obsessive thing going for them. If they find a pattern that works for them they can maintain it.

Of course if the pattern is a bad pattern….

I have a novella due on January 31st and I need to get moving on it. I’ve written the opening scene – and nothing else. I like beginnings – I think I write them well. I’ve learned how to build endings so now it is just the middles that are driving me mad.

I think one of my problems is that I want life to be a story.

I want certain things to have a well defined beginning, middle, and end. But things don’t end. When I was a project manager my projects wouldn’t end… my project clients would turn into my customer service clients (we weren’t very big). Day to day pushing of requests is a very different thing from working on projects that span months or years. There was an endless quality to the work – all sorts of thing began but nothing ended.

Relationships are the same way – they often begin in fits and starts and end sputtering.

The only place that begins and ends are my stories. They have a life cycle – or at least they do until I write something that takes on a life of its own. You do that – and it too never dies.

If nothing ever dies, if relationships fade but never end because at any moment a person can come back into your life just as suddenly as they left – then how do they sum? I’m not sure I believe in an infinite universe. How do we hold all of this in our head? Our heart?

We are the sum of our experiences – we are the product of our relationships.

Do our relationships define us? No, I think we are defined by them. They shape us and mold us even when we aren’t paying attention to them. Like water over rocks – our relationships wear us into unexpected shapes.  

This was the missing piece. I have things to think about and decisions to make and I needed a different way of viewing my life. Not from inside it – there is too much history and emotion there – but from the outside.

In the end how do I want to be defined? Who do I want to be?

In a story it is all about where you end it. All journeys end in the same place but you can end a story anywhere. You can leave everyone happy or leave everyone in the last scene from Hamlet.

Life is muddier.

We often don’t know where we are going or recognize the important moments until they are past. Is this one of those moments? Or just part of the regular churn of events?

We’ll see.

~ Tess Anderson

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Endings…

I always know… this time I thought I was over reacting… but I always know when a relationship is ending.

It’s the patterns.

When we date someone we develop very specific patterns around our interactions with them. They only change when circumstances change. I’m sure if I wanted to I could develop a whole mathematical formula for it – looking at word usage, type and frequency of communication, and body language – but it would just formalize what my brain does a great job in processing for me.

Unfortunately I’ve never gotten very good at using this skill in larger group settings. It would be very helpful to watch the flow of power during a debate and see how people are responding. But then I’m not sure I’ve ever really tried. For some reason my brain reserves this skill set for relationships.

This time I was surprised.

I was surprised this time because I didn’t want this. Since last week when I felt the first tremors I was hoping that it was holiday stress. For days I tried to convince myself that was all there was to it. But I knew. Usually I’ve known for so long that it is only the formalization of what has become fact. This wasn’t that… this hurt.

But I was trying to talk about patterns.

We are creatures of habit and we love our patterns. Coffee in the morning, a glass of wine with dinner, how we address our significant other, and what we say when our children walk in the door. All these patterns of behavior make up the web of our lives.  

I have a specific pattern for this blog – postings on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Last week I broke the pattern because of a migraine (three days long) – this week I promised myself that I would be back on track.

Today I wanted to talk about fruit flies and why I love genetics so much. But I can’t seem to ignore the pain I feel and how foolish I feel. Foolish because I let someone in, again. Foolish because I, of all people know, that everything ends. Foolish because I wanted so badly to believe that this wouldn’t.  

There is no blame – it was an honorable ending.

So, I have work to do…. Stories and articles to write, worlds to create. But just for this moment I wish I could howl with the pain, and let it all out – throw things and beat my breast – and then begin to heal.

That isn’t me. It will lurk in the corners of my heart showing itself in fits and starts until like all things it too ends.  

Thanks for listening,

~ Tess Anderson

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